I don’t trust and don’t want to rely on news accounts of important speeches such as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s and President Obama’s at the UN last week, or Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s at the UN today. I linked to the full text version of both Rouahani’s and Obama’s speeches last week and took a look at them here (Rouahani) and here (Obama). The Office of the Israeli Prime Minister has posted the text and video of Netanyahu’s speech here. As you might expect, Netanyanu’s truth-and-acuity quotient exceeded the combined total of Rouhani’s and Obama’s by a factor of about 99 to 1. Here is the first third or so of Netanyahu’s speech:
I feel deeply honored and privileged to stand here before you today representing the citizens of the State of Israel.
We are an ancient people. We date back nearly 4,000 years to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We have journeyed through time, we’ve overcome the greatest of adversities, And we reestablished our sovereign state in our ancestral homeland, the Land of Israel.
The Jewish people’s odyssey through time has taught us two things: Never give up hope. Always remain vigilant.
Hope charts the future. Vigilance protects it.
Today, our hope for the future is challenged by a nuclear-armed Iran that seeks our destruction. But I want you to know: that wasn’t always the case. Some 2500 years ago, the great Persian King Cyrus ended the Babylonian exile of the Jewish people. He issued a famous edict in which he proclaimed the right of the Jews to return to the Land of Israel and rebuild the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. That’s a Persian decree, and thus began an historic friendship between the Jews and the Persians that lasted until modern times.
But in 1979, a radical regime in Tehran tried to stamp out that friendship. As it was busy crushing the Iranian people’s hopes for democracy, it also led wild chants of “Death to the Jews!” Now, since that time, Presidents of Iran have come and gone. Some presidents were considered moderates, others hardliners. But they’ve all served that same unforgiving creed, that same unforgetting regime – that creed that is espoused and enforced by the real power in Iran, the dictator known in Iran as the Supreme Leader, first Ayatollah Khomeini and now Ayatollah Khamenei. President Rouhani, like the presidents who came before him is a loyal servant of the regime. He was one of only six candidates the regime permitted to run for office. Nearly 700 other candidates were rejected.
So what made him acceptable? Well, Rouhani headed Iran’s Supreme National Security Council from 1989 through 2003. During that time, Iran’s henchmen gunned down opposition leaders in a Berlin restaurant. They murdered 85 people at the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires. They killed 19 American soldiers by blowing up the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia.
Are we to believe that Rouhani, the National Security Advisor of Iran at the time, knew nothing about these attacks?
Of course he did.
Just as 30 years ago, Iran’s security chiefs knew about the bombings in Beirut that killed 241 American Marines and 58 French Paratroopers.
Rouhani was also Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator between 2003 and 2005. He masterminded the strategy which enabled Iran to advance its nuclear weapons program behind a smokescreen of diplomatic engagement and very soothing rhetoric. Now I know Rouhani does not sound like Ahmadinejad. But when it comes to Iran’s nuclear weapons program, the only difference between them is this: Ahmadinejad was a wolf in wolf’s clothing and Rouhani is a wolf in sheep’s clothing – a wolf who thinks he can pull the wool over the eyes of the international community.
Like everyone else, I wish we could believe Rouhani’s words. But we must focus on Iran’s actions.
And it’s the brazen contrast, this extraordinary contradiction between Rouhani’s words and Iran’s actions that is so startling. Rouhani stood at this very podium last week and praised Iranian democracy. Iranian democracy, he said.
But the regime that he represents executes political dissidents by the hundreds and jails them by the thousands. Rouhani spoke of “the human tragedy in Syria.” Yet Iran directly participates in Assad’s murder and massacre of tens of thousands of innocent men, women, and children in Syria, and that regime is propping up a Syrian regime that just used chemical weapons against its own people.
Rouhani condemned the “violent scourge of terrorism.” Yet in the last three years alone Iran has ordered, planned or perpetrated terrorist attacks in 25 cities on five continents.
Rouhani denounces “attempts to change the regional balance through proxies.” Yet Iran is actively destabilizing Lebanon, Yemen, Bahrain, and many other Middle Eastern countries.
Rouhani promises “constructive engagement with other countries.” Yet two years ago, Iranian agents tried to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador in Washington, DC.
And just three weeks ago, an Iranian agent was arrested trying to collect information for possible attacks against the American Embassy in Tel Aviv. Some constructive engagement!
I wish I could be moved by Rouhani’s invitation to join his “WAVE” –a world against violence and extremism. Yet the only waves Iran has generated in the last 30 years are waves of violence and terrorism that it has unleashed on the region and across the world.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish I could believe Rouhani, but I don’t because facts are stubborn things. And the facts are that Iran’s savage record flatly contradicts Rouhani’s soothing rhetoric.
Last Friday, Rouhani assured us that in pursuit of its nuclear program, Iran has “never chosen deceit… and secrecy.” Never chosen deceit and secrecy?!
Well, in 2002, Iran was caught red-handed secretly building an underground centrifuge facility at Natanz. Then in 2009, Iran was again caught red-handed secretly building a huge underground nuclear facility for uranium enrichment in a mountain near Qom. Rouhani tells us not to worry; he assures us that all this is not intended for nuclear weapons. Do any of you believe that? If you believe that, here’s a few questions that you might want to ask: Why would a country that claims to only want peaceful nuclear energy, why would such a country build hidden underground enrichment facilities?
Why would a country with vast natural energy reserves invest billions in developing nuclear energy? Why would a country intent on merely civilian nuclear programs continue to defy multiple Security Council resolutions and incur the costs of crippling sanctions on its economy? And why would a country with a peaceful nuclear program develop intercontinental ballistic missiles whose sole purpose is to deliver nuclear warheads? You don’t build ICBM’s to carry TNT thousands of miles away. You build them for one purpose – to carry nuclear warheads. And Iran is now building ICBM’s that the United States says can reach this city in three or four years.
Why would they do all this? The answer is simple. Iran is not building a peaceful nuclear program. Iran is developing nuclear weapons.
Last year alone, Iran enriched three tons of uranium to 3.5%, doubled its stockpile of 20% enriched uranium, and added thousands of new centrifuges, including advanced centrifuges. It also continued work on the heavy water reactor in Arak. That’s in order to have another route to the bomb – a plutonium path.
And since Rouhani’s election – and I stress this – this vast and feverish effort has continued unabated.
Ladies and gentlemen, [u]nderground nuclear facilities? Heavy water reactors? Advanced centrifuges? ICBM’s?
It’s not that it’s hard to find evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. It’s hard to find evidence that Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapons program.
The whole thing of course warrants your attention. The video is below.