Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dennis Ross insults the Iranian people

In the New York Times today (June 26) former Middle East Negotiator Dennis Ross delivers a slap at the Iranian people. He writes

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, allowed Mr. Rowhani to win the election recognizing that he had run against current Iranian policies that have isolated the country and invited economically disastrous sanctions. But it isn't clear why Mr. Khamenei allowed such an outcome, 

In this statement, Mr. Ross, who urged support of the Green movement in 2009 effectively ignores the reform movement in Iran, a movement that has been ongoing for more than 15 years. He also insults the Iranian people by implying that they have no agency in their own elections. 

Mr. Ross is a neoconservative connected with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) a well known anti-Iran think tank, still influential with conservative legislators and supported by AIPAC.

One uncharacteristic point in Mr. Ross' op-ed was his de-facto call for recognition of Iran's right to peaceful nuclear energy development. 

The answer should be that we can accept Iran's having civil nuclear power but with restrictions that would make the steps to producing nuclear weapons difficult, as well as quickly detectable.

Since Mr. Ross has been a hard-liner on this issue, calling for denying Iran any of its rights under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, this may signal that the extreme right, of which he is a member, is finally beginning to see after 10 years that this position has no currency. 
William O. Beeman 
Professor and Chair 
Department of Anthropology 
University of Minnesota 
395 HHH Center 
301 19th Avenue S.  
Minneapolis, MN 55455 
(612) 625-3400 


Anonymous said...

Your idea of "reform movement" is a minority of people ruled by by a hard-liner supported by other clerics and a military-industrial complex. Don't expect much from the reform movement. Rowhani is not much better (if at all) than the rest of the true-believers.

Anonymous said...

The word of the week is “moderate”. No paper or radio bulletin has failed to reassure us that the people of Iran have elected a “moderate” president in the form of Hassan Rouhani — with much being made of the fact that he has a doctorate from Glasgow Caledonian University. On the BBC in particular he was also celebrated for not being “a conservative”: in contrast, presumably, to that old school tie man Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

In reality both figures are unswervingly committed to maintaining the principles of the Islamic revolution.

If Rouhani were not so committed, he would have joined the 700 or so other candidates vetoed by the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The speech Rouhani made in 1999 calling for the execution of pro-democracy student protesters — “Crush mercilessly and monumentally any move of these opportunist elements” — will have helped reassure the Revolutionary Guards of his continued fealty.

I can vaguely recall a Private Eye spoof of some earlier Iranian “election” run-off. It showed two pictures of the same mullah, although with different names underneath. One image was labelled: “A hardliner, who believes in wiping Israel off the face of the earth without warning.” The other was described as: “A pragmatic moderate, who believes in wiping Israel off the face of the earth but saying, ‘Excuse me,’ first.” Not such a bad summary. London Times OpEd