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Brian Binley MP: Iran's President Rouhani is anything but a moderate

Brian Binley is the Member of Parliament for Northampton South and President of International Parliamentary Campaign in Defence of Ashraf

Screen shot 2013-08-18 at 22.38.25Many in the western press and beyond have praised the recently-elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani as a moderate, suggesting he will make life better for his people and extend an olive branch to the rest of the world. So let’s look at his record.

Rouhani has been a high-ranking official of the regime throughout the last three decades, mainly working in the realms of intelligence and national security. Consequently, he has been involved in, and has supported, the regime’s policies and actions, including the murderous suppression of the opposition and the regime’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

He was the national security advisor to the then president when the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) blew up Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia and murdered 19 American servicemen in 1996. In the medieval theocracy that is modern day Iran, anyone who even wishes to seek high office must first be cleared by those who really run the country, namely the Mullahs and in particular their Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Hassan Rouhani was vetted and approved by Khamenei’s Guardian Council for June's election as one who has proven his complete allegiance to the absolute rule of the Supreme Leader both in theory and practice. We know that he was the supervisor and defender of the Iranian atomic energy weapons programme, and was actively engaged in buying time to develop it whilst keeping it hidden from the prying eyes of Western surveillance.

As the Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNCSC), he was intimately familiar with the secret construction of Iran's illicit nuclear facilities in Arak, Natanz and Shian Lavizan in Tehran, which remained clandestine until exposed by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in 2002. In 2003, Rouhani became Iran's lead nuclear negotiator and he has boasted of duping the West whilst continuing the drive to obtain nuclear weapons as expeditiously as possible.

If you are still doubtful of Rouhani’s true intentions look back only to 17 June 2013 when, according to a Wall Street Journal report, more than a dozen students were killed, a thousnad were arrested, hundreds were tortured, and 70 simply disappeared in response to a student-run demonstration in 1999 for democracy and freedom.

Under Rouhani’s Presidency, Iran will continue to oppress its own people, and export oppression and terrorism throughout the Middle East and the wider world. The fact that he nominated Mostafa Pourmohammadi as Justice Minister speaks volumes. Pourmohammdi is accused by Human Rights groups of being one of a three-man committee that ordered prisoners in Tehran's notorious Evin jail to their summary executions in 1988. Up to 30,000 political prisoners, mostly activists of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK) were executed, many without trial, on the orders of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Describing Rouhani as a moderate is akin to portraying Stalin as benevolent grandfather. He represents the Mullahs and under his regime, we will never see the change and create the freedom Iranians demand and deserve. The West will never placate a regime that is steadfastly opposed to change, and will use whatever methods are necessary to maintain their own power base. But let us also be clear that continuing efforts will be made to induce the West into believing that Iran is making a better life for its people, and will become a more benevolent and moderate member of the global community.

The West must recognise that whenever they deal with Iran they are dealing with a regime which has for decades sanctioned the murder of tens of thousands of people within its own boundaries and beyond. Of course they want to display a more humane face, because international sanctions are biting and causing unrest, but behind that mask lies the cold, calculating face of a regime totally committed to its own continuation at almost any cost.

The West fell for the ploy of moderation before, when Jack Straw, when Home Secretary, agreed to the Mullahs' request to place the opposition in exile (PMOI) onto the proscribed list of terrorist organisations in the vain hope that he could bring Iran to the negotiating table to end their pursuit of nuclear weapons. The ban, which was later copied by the US and EU, proved completely fruitless. and the regime continued to operate as before. We must not fall for the same ploy again.

The West must fully understand the mentality of the Mullahs' regime, based as it is on a total belief in its own righteousness. Strength in that belief is the mainstay of their political philosophy, and the West must be equally prepared to show similar strength when dealing with them. It was that strength, displayed by Regan and Thatcher, which brought down the Berlin Wall, not by military invasion but by supporting the will of the people for a better life whilst stretching the internal resources of the Soviet Bloc. The people of Iran deserve similar strength in support of their own efforts for internal change. They need that strength to win and falling for the mask of moderation will not help them.


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