Iran’s New President a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
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Iran’s New President a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

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Since the conclusion of the presidential elections in Iran, policymakers have been left to wonder what will be the result of the selection of Hassan Rowhani. Pro-Tehran pundits have been quick to label him a “moderate” and claim that he will usher in a new era of “moderation” in dealing with the West. Behind such a rosy picture is a carefully crafted agenda, one that aims to reduce pressure on the regime and removing sanctions; with the Iranian regime promising to curb its nuclear program in return. These analysts however fail to address the consequences of ultimately buying Tehran time to advance it dangerous nuclear program. Worryingly, this policy of appeasement has gained a voice in the corridors of Washington. On this occasion, more than ever before, the West does not have the luxury of time to conclude that Iran’s new President is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

The regime would have the world believe that its elections are fair and free. However although the selection of Rowhani is described as a surprise by many, his emergence is all too convenient for a regime intent on buying itself time.

Rowhani is the resurrection of the “smiling mullah” Mohammad Khatami. Made famous by Khatami, the “smiling mullah” has been a policy used by the regime to hide its true face. This is the face of the regime that the likes of British Foreign Minister Jack Straw were happy to meet and be pictured alongside time and again. However, like Khatami, Rowhani will come to the West’s negotiating table, take all that is offered to him and provide nothing in return.

Rowhani's ascendency however, does give us an indication of the power struggle that is ongoing at the Iranian regime’s helm. Iran’s supreme leader was weakened by his failure to dissuade two-time President Hashemi Rafsanjani from registering as a candidate. Ultimately the infighting and the determination to prevent another election backlash resulted in Rowhani’s selection rather than Khamenei’s preferred choice, Saeed Jalili. Accepting a candidate whom he did not prefer has now left the Supreme Leader vulnerable and the divide between the regime’s factions widened.

Regardless of the “moderate” façade, the fact remains that the regime in Tehran has not changed. All matters of foreign policy are ultimately decided by the Supreme Leader, including the nuclear dossier, Iran's involvement in Syria, and the egregious human rights abuses.

Western policymakers must put aside empty rhetoric and focus on the realities on the ground. Tehran does not respond to negotiations; it simply uses them to buy time to pursue its goals. The best option with which to solve the multifaceted Iranian crisis requires no military intervention, nor appeasement of a dictatorship, but rather to engage with the Iranian people and their opposition movement to bring about democratic change. We should today reach out to groups such as the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

On June 22, some 100,000 Iranians came together to voice support for the NCRI's President-elect, Maryam Rajavi, who articulated a Ten-Point plan for the future of Iran. This plan which calls for a democratic, secular republic in Iran, free of nuclear weapons and executions is something that should be backed by our leaders.

The unprecedented gathering was the best testament to this movement’s popularity and prowess to offer a viable alternative to the Iranian regime. It is time that we in the West stand in solidarity with the Iranian resistance movement, not only because it is just, but because it is the only viable solution which averts the disastrous prospects of military conflict, a nuclear armed Iran, or worse still, both.

Iran's future does not rest with the mullahs' whether they are smiling or not, rather it will be built on the Iranian people’s endeavors to secure democracy and freedom. We must back the Iranian people and their organized opposition to achieve this aim.

David Amess, Conservative MP for Southend West, is Chairman of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom

Comments
11
Wade
July 17, 2013 at 04:17

David Amesss couldn’t be more spot on with his description of President-elect Hassan Rowhani.  Rowhani is simply a product of the current regime disguised as something new and fresh. Until we see real, substantive changes in the regime’s behavior, it would be prudent to expect little or no deviation from the Ayatollah’s previous policies and priorities.

Indian
July 17, 2013 at 03:05

West should support a Democratic govt in Iran. Just like it supported the elected govt in Egypt against the military coup!
West & America care only about their interests which are almost always against the elected govt’s will as that represents the majority opinion of Middle East nations and not that of a handful of puppet despotic monarchs.

Jack
July 17, 2013 at 00:25

Sham on you. With extremists like you there world is ganna be a war scene. That is what you are looking for. Now it is the time to call a murderer a murderer. As long as Israelis do something it is good. They have atomic bomb, but it is good. If Iranians have it, it will be reprehensible. Nuclear bomb is a disaster, whether to be owned by Israel or Iran. Tehran denies it and gets more sanctions, Israel takes pride it and gets away clean. Sham on you with such two-faced policies. You are another form of Taliban trying to monger war and kill innocent people. You are the real wolfs in sheep's clothing

Nima
July 16, 2013 at 21:46

Maryam Rajavi is the head of the MKO which is a terrorist group! I know you knew it but I just post it for others! 

(read about MKO (or MEK) & Maryam Rajavi on Wikipedia )

Dariush
July 16, 2013 at 21:05

Rohani is the same as others. West must not make the same mistake and think here we have another moderate president. He definitely is a wolf.

Laila
July 16, 2013 at 07:22

Absolutely agree with David Amess, what an enlightening article. Thank you for publishing it.

Mosanna
July 16, 2013 at 05:57

In last 30 years Rowhani one of closers person to Khamenei Supreme Leader, also this is very clear that only 8 candidate was approved from 608 persons applied to take part of presidential so-called election,

Finding moderation in side this regime is a long non-succeed joke!

I am fully agreed with Mr Amess, we not forgotten "smiling mullah's" history, who killed doze students in peaceful demonstration in Tehran University 1999, he was called "moderate" !!

Bardia Asef
July 16, 2013 at 05:57

Great article Mr. Amess, very informative and important I totally agree with you on this critical issue it is very promissing that in Iran there is a powerful alternative like NCRI, western governments should pay attention to your points. 

juergista
July 16, 2013 at 01:13

Regime change is the only viable option on Iran, the west should end their appeasement policy which will only lead to war as history have shown. The International community should support the NCRI, the most organised coalition of the Iranian opposition groups and personalities for Democratic Regime Change in Iran by the people. 

xortan
July 16, 2013 at 00:45

No he is not wolf in sheep’s clothing he is WOLF IN WOLF’S CLOTHING! Since when mullas and their attire has become sheep’s cloths? Also has any one heard of obsessive compulsive disorder? I think nataniyahu suffers from it in respect of Iran!

Bankotsu
July 15, 2013 at 21:26

"Iran’s New President a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing"

Can a "sheep" be approved by the supreme leader of Iran and ran for President? lol.

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