Guardian

Buried by the Guardian: The extremism of Hassan Rouhani


If you were to rely solely on the Guardian to understand what the new president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, said during an NBC interview last week you’d never know that he described Israel as “an occupier and usurper…that has brought instability to the region, with its warmongering policies.“  

rouhani-ayatollah-khomeini

You wouldn’t know this because the report on the interview by the Guardian’s Dan Roberts only mentioned those comments by Rouhani which could be interpreted as conciliatory, while completely omitting his demonizing rhetoric about Israel, quotes which featured prominently in the NBC report which Roberts’ report was based on.

Similarly, upon reading two recent reports by the Guardian’s Saeed Kamali Dehghan, pertaining to Rouhani’s address to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, you’d be forgiven for believing that Rouhani avoided criticizing Israel at all.  Dehghan wrote the following in one of his two Sept. 25 reports:

Rouhani made sure his speech was a step forward, however minimal, and that it did not add fuel to the existing tensions, not further complicate the current standoff.

Nevertheless [the speech] was positive. Western representatives at the UN remained seated and did not join Israel’s inevitable boycott of the speech. Intriguingly, Rouhani did not mention, even once, the word that so infamously was associated with his predecessor: Israel (or, as Iranian leaders prefer, “the Zionist regime”). At the end of his speech, he recited a verse from the Qu’ran that talked about the Jewish holy book, the Torah. Those two choices should have pleased the sole Iranian Jewish MP accompanying Rouhani in his UN visit to New York.

 Dehghan’s second report on Sept. 25 that dealt with Rouhani’s speech at the UN included the following:

During his visit to the UN in New York, Rouhani attempted to revamp the image of Iran so badly hurt under Ahmadinejad. He was accompanied by Iran’s only Jewish MP, Siamak Moreh Sedgh, and made no direct mention of Israel in his speech to the general assembly on Tuesday.

Despite the charm offensive, Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, ordered his delegation to boycott Rouhani’s speech at the general assembly on Tuesday.

However, despite the implicit message conveyed by Dehghan in two reports, that the new Iranian President stayed clear of polarizing, anti-Israel rhetoric, his UN address included the following:

What has been – and continues to be – practiced against the innocent people of Palestine is nothing less than structural violence. Palestine is under occupation; the basic rights of the Palestinians are tragically violated, and they are deprived of the right of return and access to their homes, birthplace and homeland. Apartheid as a concept can hardly describe the crimes and the institutionalized aggression against the innocent Palestinian people.

Rouhani didn’t explicitly use the word “Israel”, but those listening to the speech obviously understood that Israel was the state Iran’s President was referring to.

Moreover, whilst some have justly focused on an extremely misleading report by CNN claiming that Rouhani, in a recent interview, acknowledged the Holocaust, (a narrative parroted by the Guardian), critiques of this specific obfuscation should be contextualized as part of a larger pattern, in which media outlets cherry pick quotes by Rouhani and fail to report information which contradicts the desired story of “Rouhani the moderate”.  

Here are a few examples of Rouhani’s far less than moderate political record:

Rouhani: ‘Death to America’:

Rouhani, boasting of duping the West on the nuclear issue:

  • Rouhani, who was Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator with Europe for two years (2003-2005), “proudly admitted that he successfully bought time to advance nuclear technology while the EU leaders were busy in negotiations with him.” (The Telegraph)

Rouhani, supporter of terror abroad:

Rouhani, supporter of terror and repression at home:

  • Rouhani (as head of the Islamic National Security Council) had a major role in the violent crackdown on a 1999 student uprising against the Islamist regime, and said, at a pro-regime rally in July that year: “At dusk yesterday we received a decisive revolutionary order to crush mercilessly and monumentally any move of these opportunist elements wherever it may occur.” (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Rouhani’s current pick for Justice Minister, Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, has been criticized by human rights groups for his role in the summary executions of thousands of Iranian political prisoners in 1988, the assassination of political figures abroad, and the 1998 killings of intellectuals inside the country while he was a director at the Intelligence Ministry. – Al Monitor and Radio Free Europe

As Charles Krauthammer wrote recently about the president of a nation which is among the world’s leaders in fomenting terrorism abroad, and terrorizing women, gays, religious minorities and political dissidents at home:

“[Rouhani has a] strange résumé for a moderate: 35 years of unswervingly loyal service to the Islamic Republic as a close aide to Ayatollahs Khomeini and Khamenei [and] one of only six presidential candidates, another 678 having been disqualified by the regime as ideologically unsound. That puts him in the 99th [per]centile for fealty.

And, if the past is any guide, we can expect the Guardian – inspired by an ideology which evokes sympathy for the political aspirations of the most reactionary, anti-Western political movements in the world – to rank in the top percentile for fealty to the new president as he engages in a surreal campaign to cast himself as a political “moderate”.   

44 replies »

    • Arrogant middle class British imperialists with a penchant for Jew-baiting and wound up by the fact Israel disempowers their former colonial masters. Also hilarious.

        • As it’s you who asked Pretzel, I shall explain: Zionism is a national liberation movement against the yoke of colonial oppression suffered by the Jews, beginning with the Romans, continuing under various racist and sometimes genocidal European empires – Tsarist Russia, the Third Reich. Under the Caliphate in the Middle East, continuing with the Ottomans and finally ending with the formation of Israel and the collapse of the British Mandate.

          Some people don’t like Jewish sovereignty and see the Jewish emergence from powerlessness as an affront to their higher moral standards and the natural order of things. They become emasculated by Israel as a force that protects Jews against their own bigoted and malicious designs. What is left for them but to come to cifwatch to vent their spleen against the iniquities of the Jewish state? Hilarious? Non?

          • That’s all perfectly clear. But the British were hardly “colonial masters” in I/P. I’m not sure where the “disempowers” comes in either.
            Just wondering.

            Some people don’t like Jewish sovereignty and see the Jewish emergence from powerlessness as an affront to their higher moral standards and the natural order of things

            Exactly who are you talking about here?

            • Pretz: “Exactly who are you talking about here?”

              Not you Pretz. Really. We may disagree on a number of things but a rabid anti-Zionist you certainly are not.

    • “The photoshopping is wonderful. The eyes with their extra evil factor. Hilarious”

      Jasper what ‘photoshopping’ ?

      If you mean the large poster in the background, that is one you will regularly see in Iran. It is the late Ayatollah Khomeini.

      • Is that a real picture ? Or is he genuinely in front of a giant Khomeini with added evil eyes? If so I apologise . Is that the best picture they have of Khomeini ? Good grief maybe there is work out there for an image consultant.

        • “Is that a real picture ? ”
          Completely beside the point. The point is to say that Rouhani represents the same regime, and the same messed up ideology and way of thinking as its founder, the despicable, and yes, evil Khomeini. New face, same old same old.
          You are free to be as gullible as you like, and you do like.

          • ” The point is to say that Rouhani represents the same regime ”
            I understood that I just think its a tiny bit OTT but am still not sure if this is a photo or a montage .

            • “that I just think” – don`t overdo, baby, better mind your words and keep away from those which are intellectually challenging you.

  1. “What has been – and continues to be – practiced against the innocent people of Palestine is nothing less than structural violence. Palestine is under occupation; the basic rights of the Palestinians are tragically violated, and they are deprived of the right of return and access to their homes, birthplace and homeland. Apartheid as a concept can hardly describe the crimes and the institutionalized aggression against the innocent Palestinian people.”

    This “anti-Israel rhetoric” is just what the great majority of the thinking world believes to be true. Leaving aside the ‘Apartheid’ reference – which is true of Israel but takes some debating – just what part of the remaining accusations would you care to dispute?

    • Leaving aside the usual massive exaggerations of the Zionophobes, even you can surely appreciate the irony. The frontman of a brutalyl repressive theocratic regime that hangs gay people in the streets and practises the stoning of women lectures the only functioning democracy in the ME on human rights.

      • “the only functioning democracy in the ME ”

        How ironic that the other was Iran until 53. What a shame for the world that we in the west were such greedy gits who hated foreigners enough to over throw their democracy and steal their wealth.

          • ” are you actualy blaming the west for the Islamic Revolution ”

            Extremist Islam is always a direct reflection of and response to attack by the west and has been since the crusades. I note you jump over the 53 debate . Iran was the original “only democracy” before Israel . Is that ironic or what ?

            • So, you do believe Iran practice an Extremist form of Islam through its regime.
              Yet, you jump up to defend it’s “elected” leader?

              So, you like extremists?

              “Extremist Islam is always a direct reflection of and response to attack by the west and has been since the crusades.”

              Load of horse dungs sunny Jim!
              People were made orphans under the Taliban, children mollested by Taliban Pedophile drug war lords, half time football matches executions, all of this is because Israel launched attacks against those who seeked to destroy her.
              Sure it is!
              I will not attempt to deny that in some cases the turn towards Islamism is in response to attacks upon the population but I’d say that most of the time the rise of Islamism is through poverty and ill education provided by lack of focus, pounishment and debate about regimes which create such grounds in the UN.

              This has been the case since the creation of the UN, where Africa and central Asia are perfect examples.
              How many times did the UN denounce Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey Yemen, Iddy Amin etc?

              “Let them abuse their people” they said, “Non of our business” they said.
              And they still say it now!
              In fact you are saying the same thing.
              I interpreted your speeches that when we involve it creates extremists.

              So, we should not interfere in their “culture” or sub culture for that matter.
              Is that what you have in mind?
              Let people suffer?
              Oh, and I thought you were from a “brave heart” wee village that charged against fascism 74 years ago…

              You do a great disservice to your home town fallen ones by pretending the battle ended in 1945.
              It’s constant and people like you undermind our freedom that the fallen ones died to preserve, by assuming reactionary Islam can be reasoned with.

              • “You do a great disservice to your home town fallen ones by pretending the battle ended in 1945 ”

                I have been reading books about the war here. Im a newcomer .Proportionately worst destroyed town in the South. No one in the world could do them a disservice. Here s to a time when we were all on the right side

            • ” Iran was the original “only democracy” before Israel . Is that ironic or what ”

              No Jasper not ironic and not true.
              Mosaddegh became Prime Minister (a couple of times) not by election but by being appointed by the Shah. If that is your definition of ‘democracy’ then you either need to buy a new dictionary or learn to read the one you already have.

              If you want to debate the situation in Iran now or in the past then start your own blog and I’ll willingly take part.

            • “Extremist Islam is always a direct reflection of and response to attack by the west and has been since the crusades.”
              Sure, sure. The “religion of peace” never initiates aggression but only responds. Yes, of course. Islam woke up one morning and had found itself all over the map not bothering anyone when suddenly…

            • Another idiocy of the leftist of the later days.
              The jihadist Muslims were conquering and destroying Byzantine land, the Emperor asked for help against them.

        • Well, the partly democratic, partly autocratic political system of a country which nowadays is called Islamic Republic of Iran, was hampered by the Tsars, by the former leader of the Iranian cossacks, by the British empire, by the Iranian bazaaris, by the Iranian clergy, by the Iranian street, by the Iranian revolutionaries, by the the US government, by the Sovietunion, but never by your mythical west.
          As a typical leftist of the latter days you must resort to a simplified history where “the west” has all guilt, the non west states all the innocence.
          Without greediness and stealing the wealth of foreigners there never would have been such a thing like Iran, you leftist of the latter days.

          • And some ethnic rebellions, not to forget, against the colonial reign of the Persian minority over a fifty or so other minorities.

    • The “thinking world” sencar? You are one arrogant SOB. Don’t lecture about the “thinking world” until you’ve joined it.
      ” Leaving aside the ‘Apartheid’ reference – which is true of Israel but takes some debating..”
      It takes debating because the facts don’t support it.
      Remember folks, when sencar says ‘debating’ simply read ‘baiting.’

    • This “anti-Israel rhetoric” is just what the great majority of the thinking world believes to be true.

      DID you ask the majority of the thinking world? because Guradain and others like it are not a very good example of the thinking world

  2. An Iranian friend of mine added : Rohani was part of the group in charge of assassination & executions of thousands political prisoners/activists in Iran between 1998-2000.

  3. The message of this piece: Rouhani is the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Ottolenghi’s book “Beneath a mushroom cloud” makes it quite clear how Iran does politics. Iran shows its hand as friend and enemy to the west at the same time. With the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei never budging from the top job, Iran’s foreign policy remains the same: Hold out until we get the bomb. This can include making small concessions such as an artificial moratorium until the West’s eye moves off the ball.

  4. … an extremely misleading report by CNN claiming that Rouhani, in a recent interview, acknowledged the Holocaust, (a narrative parroted by the Guardian)

    By “report” you mean the Amanpour interview?
    In what sense was it “extremely misleading”?
    And how did the Guardian “parrot” said report?

  5. It is simple. Until the western nations will not call for an immidiate release of all political prisioners from Evin and other such notorious prisons, A reform of the prison services, a reform of the religion police, to uphold any past promisses about the rights of women, allow famillies of dead full access to their bodies, and the location of the burrial grounds of every person killed by the regime, until they arrest those who created this regime there is nothing to talk about.

    Iran is similar to Saudi Arabia until such reforms are being created and having its leader applauded in the UN for a pitiful crafty lie of a speech is frankly sickening yet hardly surprising.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evin_Prison

  6. I’m very pleased to discover this site. I wanted
    to thank you for ones time due to this fantastic read!!

    I definitely loved every bit of it and I have you saved to fav to see
    new things in your web site.