I just finished watching 60 Minutes puff piece on Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Steve Kroft began the piece by characterizing Rouhani as “a reform-minded cleric who won a surprising and convincing victory” in last year’s presidential elections. For good measure, Kroft also described Rouhani and his chief of staff, Dr. Mohammed Nahavadian (who appeared for an on-camera interview), as “pragmatic moderates.”
There was nothing surprising about Rouhani’s “victory.” No man can be “elected” Iran’s President without the blessing of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamanei. And what exactly is so “reform-minded” about Rouhani? This is a man who was a loyalist to the Ayatollah Khomeini before the Iranian Revolution. If Rouhani is so committed to reform why were Iranians afraid to talk politics except where it concerned condemning the United States? How is Iran any different than it was when Ahmadinejad was President?
What about Iran’s treatment of people of the Baha’i faith? Its top leaders have been imprisoned since 2008. The other day a Baha’i grave site in Shiraz was destroyed by the Revolutionary Guard to make way for a sports and cultural center. The grave site was the resting place for 10 women hung by the Iranian regime in 1983. One of these women was a 17-year old school teacher named Mona Mahmudnizhad. Despite being tortured in prison, she kissed the hands of her executioner, the rope and after placing the rope around her neck she smiled defiant to the end. Mahmudnizhad’s imprisonment and execution was dramatized in the 1984 song “Mona With The Children” by Canadian recording artist Doug Cameron. Read what Canada’s former Minister of Justice Irwin Cotler has written about Iran’s Baha’is under Rouhani.
Not surprisingly, the 60 Minutes piece made no mention of the Baha’is. Instead, Kroft’s report had an underlying optimism that the interim agreement signed by Iran and P5 + 1 nations would lead to a breakthrough. But as Evelyn Gordon wrote in Commentary the other day there is evidence that Iran is violating the interim agreement it signed with the P5 + 1 nations by smuggling parts for its nuclear program. Gordon writes, ”(A)s its past behavior shows, Iran can’t be trusted to honor any such agreement: It will simply continue merrily cheating its way to a nuclear bomb. And a sanctions-ending deal will make it easier for Tehran to do so.”
How is it that 60 Minutes (and by extension American liberals) be so easily purchased by Iran and the world’s most despotic regimes?