The West is deluded about the Middle East

 Hassan Rouhani: the West considers him a 'moderate', but for more than 20 years he has been a key apparatchik of the Iranian regime, serving at the heart of its military, security and intelligence system

Hassan Rouhani: the West considers him a 'moderate', but for more than 20 years he has been a key apparatchik of the Iranian regime, serving at the heart of its military, security and intelligence system Photo: REX FEATURES

Nowhere is our inability to grasp the realities of Middle-Eastern politics more obvious than in our self-deceiving attitude towards the theocracy in Iran. Yet again the Western world gazes baffled and powerless at the ever more tragic mess unfolding across the Middle East. The wishful-thinking euphoria that greeted the “Arab Spring” two years ago seems a million miles away as Egypt plunges into bloody chaos; an even greater catastrophe continues to engulf Syria; violence returns to Lebanon with a huge bomb attack on Assad’s Hizbollah allies; thousands die in the sectarian strife that is the West’s legacy to “liberated” Iraq; and yet more “peace talks” brokered by the US between Israel and the Palestinians look more forlorn than ever.

Yet nowhere is the West’s inability to grasp the realities of Middle Eastern politics more obvious than in its self-deceiving attitude to the most powerful and menacing regime of all, the theocratic dictatorship that rules over Iran. Quite apart from its ruthless oppression of its own people, the Tehran regime has a finger in pretty well every nasty pie in the region – as chief backer of the Assad regime in Syria and pro-Palestinian terror groups such as Hizbollah; as the shadowy presence behind the corrupt al-Maliki regime in Iraq; and even supposedly as an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

Yet again, recently we saw the West’s endless gullibility over Iran in the response of politicians and media to the election as president of Hassan Rouhani, hailed as a “moderate” and a “reformer” who might open the door to better relations between Iran and the West, not least over the ever-vexed issue of Iran’s ambition to become a nuclear power.

What so many in the West seem unable to grasp is that Rouhani, like his predecessor Ahmadinejad, is just a creature of the real power in Iran, centred in the country’s “Supreme Leader”, the Ayatollah Khamenei. Rouhani may have been one of eight candidates (out of an original 800) allowed to stand in a horrendously rigged election by the Supreme Leader, but for more than 20 years he has been a key apparatchik of the regime, serving at the heart of its military, security and intelligence system.

As far back as the 1980s Rouhani was deputy commander-in-chief of Iran’s armed forces, before serving for 16 years as secretary of its Supreme National Security Council. In 1999 he led the ruthless suppression of a major student uprising, in obedience, as he said, to a “revolutionary order to crush mercilessly and monumentally any move of these dissidents”. Between 2003 and 2005 he led those famous and futile nuclear negotiations, boasting (as was revealed by The Sunday Telegraph in 2006) of how he had fooled the West by “taking advantage of talks with Britain, Germany and France to forge ahead with the secret atomic programme”. No sooner was he elected in June than he made clear that there is no way Iran will halt its nuclear programme.

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/10248682/The-West-is-deluded-about-the-Middle-East-just-look-at-Iran.html

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