Don’t trust, and above all, verify like heck
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In his debut on the world stage this week, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivered a much-anticipated speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, and most of the reviews were positive.
Rouhani spoke of peace, cooperation and reconciliation. He reached out to the West, and, by all appearances, President Barack Obama seems willing to reach back, albeit cautiously.
While we welcome any sincere efforts to step back from the brink of war while ensuring a nuclear-free Iran, no one should be lulled by Rouhani’s pretty speech.
It’s worth recalling the words of the ancient Greek dramatist Euripides, who wrote, “When one with honeyed words but evil mind persuades the mob, great woes befall the state.”
Evil mind? Consider Iran’s long, maddening history of obfuscation and deception regarding its nuclear program. There is ample evidence that the Islamic Republic is hellbent on developing nuclear weapons, and as fast as possible.
On top of that, there is no indication Iran has turned away from its homicidal hatred of Israel, part of which includes a disgusting record of Holocaust denial.
This is all the will of the country’s true leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, and the junta that runs Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. The president, whether the thuggish Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or the smooth-talking Rouhani, is little more than a hood ornament, and does not set policy. Rouhani, elected in June, does what he’s told.
Iran remains the Middle East’s No. 1 troublemaker. It is still arming Syria’s embattled Assad regime. It is still arming Hezbollah, and stands as Israel’s most dangerous foe.
Nothing has changed with Rouhani’s election. What has changed are Iran’s tactics in seeking an end to crippling international sanctions. One of those tactics is telling the West what it wants to hear. Hence this week’s U.N. speech.
If Obama pursues some sort of rapprochement with Iran, which may eventually mean a relaxation of sanctions, Israel and the West had better extract a high price for it: thorough and intrusive independent nuclear inspections, an end to Iran’s terror ties and no more extinction-level threats against Israel.
Can all that ever come to pass? It’s hard to imagine, given the track record of the mullahs. But we hope that as Iran takes baby steps toward rejoining the community of nations, the United States, Europe and the rest of the world will keep their skepticism radars on full power.
You can be sure that if any of them drop their guard, even for a minute, Israel will shout about it loudly and clearly.
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