Iranian President Hassan Rouhani took a number of veiled shots at U.S. President Donald Trump during his address to the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday without calling Trump out by name. He also dropped a few similarly vague hints about dire consequences if the Iran nuclear deal is abrogated.
“Moderation is freedom and democracy, but in an inclusive and comprehensive manner. Not purporting to promote freedom in one place while supporting dictators elsewhere. Moderation is the synergy of ideas and not the dance of swords. And finally, the path of moderation nurtures beauty. Deadly weapons exports are not beautiful. Rather, peace is beautiful,” said Rouhani, in what was probably intended as a slam against Saudi Arabia and its allies.
Rouhani, whose country is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, claimed Iran strives only to “build peace and promote the human rights of peoples and nations.”
“We never threaten anyone but we do not tolerate threats from anyone. Our discourse is one of dignity and respect. And we are unmoved by threats and intimidation. We believe in dialogue and negotiation based on equal footing and mutual respect,” he said.
“Iran does not seek to restore its ancient empire, impose its official religion on others, or export its revolution through the force of arms,” Rouhani said, which would come as surprising news to the members of Iran’s Quds Force insurgency and sabotage squad. “We are so confident in the depth of our culture, the truth of our face, and tenacity and longevity of our revolution that we will never seek to export any of them in the way neocolonialists do with the heavy boots of soldiers.”
After rhapsodizing for a bit about the power of Iranian poetry to change the world, Rouhani spoke up for the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action). He claimed the deal “belongs to the international community in its entirety and not only to one or two countries.”
Rouhani pushed the notion that Iran has been faithful to the deal, repeated the tedious claim that Tehran doesn’t want nuclear weapons, pushed Iran’s bizarre contention that the deal is supposed to make them immune to all sanctions forever, and threw in a little Israel-bashing for good measure:
Unfortunately, some deprived themselves of this unique opportunity. They have imposed sanctions really against themselves and now they feel betrayed. We were not deceived nor did we cheat or deceive anyone. We have ourselves determined the extent of our nuclear program. We never sought to achieve deterrence through nuclear weapons. We have immunized ourselves through our knowledge and more importantly the resilience of our people. This is our talent and our approach.
Some have claimed to have wanted to deprive Iran of nuclear weapons, weapons that we have continuously and vociferously rejected. And of course, we are not and were not distressed to be thwarted from an action that we never sought. It is reprehensible that the rogue Zionist regime that threatens global security with its nuclear arsenal and is not responsible to any international safeguard is preaching to peaceful nations.
Then he threw out a hypothetical his speechwriters clearly didn’t think all the way through, as Iran is the only party that would be manufacturing nuclear crises in the Middle East absent a nonproliferation deal with Iran:
Ladies and gentlemen, just imagine for a moment how the Middle East would look had the JCPOA not been concluded. Imagine that along with civil wars, terror, humanitarian nightmares and complex sociopolitical crises in West Asia that there was a manufactured nuclear crisis. How would we all fare?
Rouhani proceeded to his first veiled slam at Trump:
I declare before you that the Islamic Republic of Iran will not be the first country to violate the agreement but it will respond decisively and resolutely to its violation by any party. It will be a great pity if this agreement would be destroyed by rogue newcomers to the world of politics.
The world will have lost an opportunity but such behavior will never impede Iran’s course of progress and advancement. By violating its international commitments, the new U.S. administration only destroys its own credibility and undermines international confidence in negotiating with it. Not accepting its word or promise.
Some of President Trump’s ardent supporters would take “rogue newcomer to the world of politics” as a compliment, rather than an insult. Rouhani was more pointedly insulting later in his speech, again without uttering the American president’s name:
The ignorant, absurd, and hateful rhetoric filled with ridiculously baseless allegations that was uttered before this body yesterday was not only unfit to be heard at the UN, which was established to promote peace and respect between nations, but indeed also contradicted the demands of our nations from this world body to bring governments together to combat war and terror.
Rouhani insisted that Iran’s defense policy is driven by traumatic memories of the Iran-Iraq War — “we cannot forget that civilians in many of our cities became the targets of long-range missile attacks by Saddam Hussein during his eight-year war of aggression against us” — without mentioning that Iran spent years after Saddam’s fall conspiring to murder the courageous American soldiers who toppled him.
Rouhani repeatedly invoked Syria, Yemen, and Bahrain as examples of horrific violence that must be resolved by international support for the “wills of the populaces.” This might leave some listeners wondering how Bahrain belongs on the same shelf as the multi-year civil war bloodbaths in Syria and Yemen.
Bahrain assumes importance in Rouhani’s rhetoric because Iran is trying to destabilize the Sunni monarchy by agitating the Shiite population and arming insurgent militants. Note that Iran is not arming those militants with poetry.
During Rouhani’s address, thousands of Iranian expatriates rallied outside the U.N. building to call for an end to the brutal theocracy Rouhani represents.
Sonia Samsami of the National Council of Resistance of Iran told Fox News her coalition seeks a “democratic, secular, and non-nuclear republic of Iran.”
“We want the American people to know that the Iranian people do not want a clerical regime. Regime change at the hands of the people is the only solution to the Iran crisis,” said Samsami.
Fox News notes that members of the NCRI vigorously dispute the common characterization of Rouhani as a “moderate” leader, citing Iran’s support for Shiite militias in Iraq and Syria, its backing of Syria’s vicious dictator Bashar Assad, and Rouhani’s suppression of political dissent within Iran.