American Jewish Committee Executive Director David Harris said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s online gloating was telling of the Islamic Republic’s ulterior motives for engaging with the world powers, ahead of a six-month nuclear treaty to be formally signed next week.
Referring to a tweet from Rouhani that said “the world powers surrendered to the Iranian nation’s will,” AJC’s Harris said, “President Rouhani’s gloating is telling.”
“Is Iran truly committed to negotiating a permanent agreement to end its quest for nuclear-weapons capability, or has President Rouhani revealed an unaltered Iranian strategy of deceit, with which he has also been associated earlier in his career?”
In a statement on Wednesday, the AJC said that, “for more than a decade, Iran has ignored IAEA and UN Security Council actions, as well as U.S. and EU sanctions, aimed at stopping its nuclear-weapons program. The interim agreement announced in November was hailed as a diplomatic breakthrough. It was seen by its backers as a first step in resolving the Iranian nuclear crisis, setting the stage for further negotiations on a permanent accord to be concluded by mid-2014.”
Harris questioned the international community’s ability to reinforce sanctions once the economic wall is perceived to have come down: “The fact that European and other companies, some encouraged by their own governments, are already visiting Iran, and others are lining up, even before Iran has taken concrete steps, could very well weaken the carefully constructed sanctions regime,” he said. “That alone may give Rouhani undue comfort, and perhaps reason to savor success.”
Meanwhile, the U.S.-brokered detente with Iran has not brought Iranian repudiation of the stormy past between the two countries. The AJC pointed out that while Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif talks about dialogue with the U.S., at the same time, he recently honored the memory of Imad Mughniyeh, one of Hezbollah’s top terrorists, responsible for the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marines barracks in Beirut. Zarif laid a wreath at Mughniyeh’s grave in Lebanon.
“To honor the Hezbollah leader responsible for, among many other terrorist attacks, the murder of 241 U.S. Marines is to spit in the eye of the U.S.,” said Harris. “And this is by the very same person, Zarif, who is overseeing Iran’s team in the talks with the P5+1.”
Hezbollah, created more than 30 years ago, has long served as Iran’s terror proxy around the world. Both Iran and Hezbollah are on the ground in Syria working hand-in-hand with the Assad regime, in its nearly three-year-long war against rebel forces, which has resulted in an estimated 120,000 deaths and millions of refugees and internally displaced persons, the AJC said.