UPDATED: (Washington, D.C.) — Brace yourself. The Iranian “charm offensive” is about to go into overdrive.
Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, has arrived in New York City for meetings at the United Nations, and he is doing everything he can to convince U.S. and Western leaders that he comes in the name of peace, even as the centrifuges keep spinning, Tehran keeps enriching uranium, and the mullahs keep moving closer to an arsenal of nuclear weapons.
Yet in recent days, Rouhani has made an important mistake. He was interviewed by NBC News and asked if he agrees with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the Holocaust is a “myth.” Yet Rouhani dodged the answer. He couldn’t say no. He couldn’t part company with his Radical predecessor. He couldn’t admit what all the world knows, that the Nazi regime in German in the 1940s systematically murdered six million Jews, including 1.5 million Jewish children.
Well, Rouhani could have, but he didn’t. Rather, he dodged the question like the wolf in sheep’s clothing that he really is.
“I’m not a historian,” Rouhani replied. “I’m a politician.”
“If you watched the portion of Ann Curry’s interview with new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that aired last night during NBC Nightly News, you may have come away with the image of a reformer who wants to work with President Obama and vows never to build nuclear weapons,” reports the website, Mediaite. “But a slightly different picture emerged in remarks shown this morning on the Today Show. Curry asked Rouhani point blank about comments his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, made in the past about the Holocaust being a ‘myth.’ She asked Rouhani, ‘Do you agree?’ The answer he gave may not exactly be comforting to Jewish people in America, Israel or anywhere else in the world. ‘I’m not a historian,’ Rouhani began. ‘I’m a politician. What is important for us is that the countries of the region, and the people, grow closer to each other and that they are able to prevent aggression and injustice.’”
“Curry did not press Rouhani for a firmer answer on that question, but rather went on to ask if he, like Ahmadinejad, wants to ‘wipe Israel off the map,’” Mediaite noted. “Again his answer avoided specifics in favor of generalities. ‘We do not seek war with any country,’ Rouhani responded. ‘We seek seek peace and friendship among the nations of the region.’ He took a similar tack when Curry asked about Iranian access to websites like Twitter and Facebook. Rouhani did not say specifically whether his government would remove its censorship, but rather that ‘people must have full access to all information world wide.’ Before signing off, Curry told Today’s Savannah Guthrie that Rouhani’s ‘non-answer’ about the Holocaust ‘will likely raise a lot of eyebrows.’”
As I’ve reported before (see here, here, and here), Rouhani is no moderate. He is a dangerous man trying to buy time for Iran to build not just one nuclear warhead, but an entire arsenal. He and his regime must be stopped before it is too late.
UPDATE: Dodging the Holocaust question was last week’s strategy, apparently. This week is different. Now Rouhani finds the whole Holocaust business “reprehensible.”
“Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday that the Nazis committed a ‘reprehensible’ crime against the Jewish people, when he was asked in a television interview whether he accepted that the Holocaust occurred,” Reuters reported. “Unlike his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Rouhani said he does not deny that the Holocaust has happened. ‘I am not a historian and when it comes to speaking of the dimensions of the Holocaust it is the historians that should reflect,’ Rouhani told with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour during a visit to New York where he spoke to the United Nations General Assembly. ‘But in general I can tell you that any crime that happens in history against humanity, including the crime the Nazis created towards the Jews, is reprehensible and condemnable,’ he said, according to CNN’s translation of his comments. ‘Whatever criminality they committed against the Jews we condemn,’ Rouhani told CNN. ‘The taking of human life is contemptible. It makes no difference if that life is Jewish life, Christian or Muslim. For us it is the same.’ But Rouhani went on to take a swipe against Iran’s archfoe Israel, which was founded after World War Two as a Jewish state in part of what had been British-mandate Palestine. ‘This does not mean that on the other hand you can say “Nazis committed crimes against a group, now therefore they must usurp the land of another group and occupy it,”‘ he said. ‘This too is an act that should be condemned. There should be an evenhanded discussion.’”