Iran's 'moderate' new president takes aim at 'Zionist enemy'

Monday, July 22, 2013 |  Ryan Jones

Once again the West hailed the election of a perceived "moderate" Muslim leader, and once again that leader has revealed just how easy it is to hoodwink the heads of Europe and America by simply saying different things in different languages.

This time around the ruse was executed by Iranian President-elect Hassan Rohani, who, despite his prominent role in the Islamic Republic's defiant nuclear program, was held aloft as a sign of positive change when he was voted into office earlier this month.

Rohani's election was also said to herald a calming of tensions between Iran and Israel.

To be sure, Rohani has more tact than his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but his recent public pronouncements in his native tongue and to Arab leaders demonstrate that his end goal is very much the same.

Mocking the threat of Israeli military action against Iran's nuclear program, Rohani last week told a gathering marking the anniversary of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War that "when a miserable regional country says such things, it makes you laugh. Who are the Zionists to threaten us?"

Far from taking a conciliatory position in foreign affairs, Iran's IRNA news agency reported that Rohani had reaffirmed his nation's commitment to embattled Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and Lebanon's Hezbollah so that together they could better deal with "our enemies in the region, especially the Zionist regime."

Meanwhile, Rohani presents himself as the face of moderation to the international community as the two sides continue to dance around the issue of Iran's nuclear program.

Israel greatly fears that the Rohani ruse will be all too easily swallowed by an international community eager to avoid open conflict with Iran. But it is Israel that will ultimately pay the price for such short-sightedness.

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