Rouhani government: worse than Ahmadinejad

By Ramyar Hassani: Kurdistan Tribune – 10-11-2013 – Just a few weeks before the inauguration of the new president, on August 3, 2013, a new wave of discussion, argument and contention was heating up. A few candidates were busy with nightly debates on the national TV channel – one of whom was to become the new president of Iran, Mr. Hassan Rouhani. And it took just few weeks after his inauguration to see the very new and different approaches relating to nuclear talks, human rights issues inside the country and the way Rouhani and his cabinet represent the Iranian regime to the world.

Having the previous positions of head of the supreme national security council and member of expediency council on his resume were enough to prove that the new president’s cabinet would rule the country in accordance with the standards set by intelligence and the IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps). However, still lots of people, including many university students, embellished with violet ribbons and clothes, came onto the streets, mostly in Tehran, to support Rouhani’s campaign and celebrate his triumph. Even some former Green movement members and other Iranian oppositionists in exile were interviewed by the media and happily expressed their hopes of returning to Iran and having their leaders – Mousavi and Karoubi – freed.

The international community became more optimistic about the Iranian nuclear situation and in mid-September the Luxembourg-based General Court ruled that measures against the Islamic Republic’s biggest cargo carrier, the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), should be lifted. Barack Obama and Hassan Rouhani held the first direct talks between American and Iranian leaders since the Islamic regime came to power in Iran in 1979.

However, for Rouhani, the only important thing is to do whatever is necessary to rescue Ayatollah Khamenei’s regime, and it does not matter who pays for this. It is quite clear that the scenario is to get rid of sanctions and continue clerical rule, while the reports say the USA will ease sanctions if the nuclear program halts. But is that the whole story? Will these events heal the current life conditions of the people of Iran? Who will be the winners and who will be ignored and disadvantaged? Will the nightmare of the Iranian nuclear regime end? Will the human rights violations in Iran diminish? And there are many more unanswered questions …

When Ahmadinejad was president, his acts and attitudes, speeches and statements always represented the Iranian regime’s essence. Ahmadinejad claimed many times that Israel should be removed from the map and he even repeated such sentences  on his visit to Lebanon, just two miles from the Israeli border. So the international community saw Ahmadinejad in the same was as Iranian people did. His speeches at the United Nation were treated as time for coffee breaks by the representatives of many countries. He was the right person to represent the Iranian regime. Ahmadinejad reflected the regime’s real identity.

It is just three months since the new president’s inauguration and now a mask is in place to hide the regime’s essence from the eyes of the international community. Here are some examples: Rouhani is talking in a peaceful way with smiles at the United Nations although his intention is as same as Ahmadinejad’s; he is offering nuclear program talks, and made a direct phone call conversation with the president of the USA;  he has ordered the removal of anti-US slogans in Tehran; he has announced the formation of a committee to assist political refugees to come back to Iran without problems. Despite all this, however, since August 3, 2013 more than 200 prisoners have been hanged in Iran, many of whom were political opponents or from religious and ethnic minority groups.

The Rouhani cabinet’s way of dealing with the international community – and the Heroic Leniency order of Ayatollah Khamenei  – seem to work out for Iran’s benefit. As Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel said: “They got that. They are paying nothing because they are not reducing in any way their nuclear enrichment capability. So Iran got the deal of the century and the international community got a bad deal.”

But it is not all about the nuclear talks: what about the people inside Iran and the current human rights violations? What about the executions and the minorities? Nowadays the situation for the prisoners, especially the political ones and those sentenced to execution, is getting worse because the western countries are so busy trying to making a deal on the nuclear program and this may soften their statements about human rights violations in Iran. The nuclear talks and related issues are given precedence over human rights violations, which are treated as secondary issues that might be ignored by powers sitting around a table and seeking to achieve a bigger goal – even though it is not wise to believe that Iran’s rulers will forget about nuclear weapons, after all the ups and downs and having spent most of the national wealth on this. I wish the current Iranian president was someone like Ahmadinejad instead of Rouhani. Then there was no prospect of playing games with the international community and there were two options: first, to have another North Korea or, second, to get rid of the Iranian regime as soon as possible. But now the equation is getting much more complicated and, of course, this works in the favor of Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei.