16 June, 2013

A moderate

The election of Hassan Rouhani as President of Iran will be treated by many as good news; he is described as a moderate.

But what does 'moderate' mean, in a country run by raving nutcases? The only people allowed to stand in the election were those approved by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who was quite happy with former President Ahmadinejad's statement that they intended to wipe Israel off the map, which would cause a nuclear holocaust.

And Khamenei is going to be there for a bit. He is a sprightly 74, younger than Berlusconi and a lot younger than our own Queen.

Rouhani may be what we would call a moderate, he may be what Khamenei would call a moderate (no nerve gas to be used in Israel, just a nuclear warhead or two) or he may be playing the long game. The West must treat him according to his deeds: if he says that whilst disagreeing with Israel he has no plans to destroy it and allows full inspection of the nuclear facilities, we should withdraw our sanctions. Until then the Iranian semi-democracy must be taught that aggression does not pay.

PS It is being said that he doctored his CV, and that rather than going to Glasgow University he went to the Polytechnic. Let's hope he is a little more accurate about his country's nuclear capability.

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