Encouraging steps

September 20th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Hassan Rouhani, ’s new President, has pledged he would “never” develop nuclear weapons as part of a series of overtures to the West ahead of his first address to the United Nations next week.

Rouhani, who was elected this year on a promise to end Iran’s international isolation, said he had the “full authority” from the country’s ruling ayatollahs to cut a deal on the nuclear issue.

In his first interview with United States television, Rouhani told NBC News that he was involved in a “positive and constructive” exchange of letters with Barack Obama, who wrote to congratulate him on his election.

He also ordered the release of Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent Iranian human rights lawyer, and several other political prisoners as part of a pattern of conciliatory gestures.

The White House offered no immediate public reaction to Rouhani’s comments but Western diplomats and US officials urged caution before accepting a new direction from Tehran.

Caution is correct, but I think the election of Rouhani does reflect that many in Iran want Iran to become less of a pariah state.

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37 Responses to “Encouraging steps”

  1. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    The US is the pariah state

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  2. Fentex (909 comments) says:

    He isn’t saying anything that Iran’s authorities haven’t always maintained – he’s just softer spoken, more diplomatic and likable than his preposterous predecessor.

    Anyone who’s attention was on policy and actions instead of grandstanding demagogues should not be surprised.

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  3. s.russell (1,580 comments) says:

    Yes caution is certainly warranted. It should be remembered that no candidate was allowed to participate in the election who did not have approval of the mullahs. Rouhani was merely the least conservative of that group. I would not be surprised if he was carefully chosen by them for precisely this reason: so that he could be embraced by ordinary voters and seen as legitimate. He may just be a cleverer and more diplomatic conservative.

    That said, knowing the lie of the land, any ambitious person with reformist inclinations would be wise to keep those well hidden. Rouhani may be more of a reformer than expected. It is also possible that the mullahs really did want someone a bit more sensible than Amidinejad, and really do want to take a more moderate line.

    Either way there is no real choice but to welcome the approach and try to reach an accommodation, simply because the alternatives are so bad. And not to try would be a first order diplomatic triumph for Iran.

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  4. Scott (1,736 comments) says:

    I would tend to agree with Fentex – Iran is basically pursuing the same policy of developing nuclear weapons. They have just elected a more diplomatic leader but their nuclear ambitions are the same. So we can expect to see a nuclear Iran in the next few years I would think. Which I cannot see is a good thing for the nations of the Middle East.

    There are many young people who are disenchanted with Islam but because of state-controlled repression have no channel to express their views.

    There is however a growing church in Iran where many young people are flocking to. But they have to do it in secret, knowing that the police are always on the look out to break up church meetings and Homegroups. Iran could be a great country but the dead hand of Islam holds it back.

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  5. JMS (314 comments) says:

    Inspite of the fact that I despise Islam, I wish Iran would just hurry up and develop some nuclear weapons so we don’t need to constantly hear about what it may or may not be doing.
    Iranian nuclear weapons would be no more of a threat to Israel than Soviet nuclear weapons were to the West.
    Iran has long engaged in typical muslim bluster, just like islamist terrorist organisations do.
    But unlike those terrorist organisations, Iran has a lot to lose, and the leadership knows it.

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  6. flipper (3,824 comments) says:

    Any thought that anyone other than the mullahs influences Iran in 2013 is just wishful thinking.

    The mullahs impose their 14th Century view of the world on Iran and the rest of Islam, apart from somewhat more “progressive” elements, here and there.

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  7. Lucia Maria (2,239 comments) says:

    He also blamed Israel for Middle East instability in that interview

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  8. nasska (10,878 comments) says:

    Even the ignorant backward mullahs may be starting to realise that posturing & threats will do little other than provide Obama with an excuse to turn Iran into a sheet of glass. It is strange that those with a fixation on the next life would worry so much about leaving this one but there we have it.

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  9. Fentex (909 comments) says:

    I would tend to agree with Fentex – Iran is basically pursuing the same policy of developing nuclear weapons.

    This is not an agreement with me. I do not know for certain that Iran wants or does not want operational nuclear weapons. I tend to agree with observers who think that at most they want what is known as the ‘Japanese Option’ – the theoretical ability to manufacture nuclear weapons if needed as a deterrent to continual bullying and threats.

    My point was that Iranian policy, announcements and behaviour has been and appears to remain consistent regardless of a change in President to a more likable person and that taking his more personable presentation as a sign of change in Iran is a shallow observation.

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  10. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    He also blamed Israel for Middle East instability in that interview

    To be fair Israel is the fly in the ointment here. The idea of giving a patch of land to one particular religion of the region, based on bible fables, was never going to work out well. How someone born and bred for generations in Europe can have more land rights than people who have lived there for generations is something I have never heard a convincing argument for. I have looked long and hard for the justification for this and never found it. It basically boils down to biblical prophesy being forced into being. Many Orthodox Jews consider this is wrong.

    But anyway… why do you constantly demand that Israel be exempt from criticism while spewing bile at her neighbours ?

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  11. kowtow (7,921 comments) says:

    Flipper you are being very kind to the Mad Mullahs when you say they have a 14 th C view of the world.It’s not nearly that advanced.

    It’s actually a 7 th C view of the world and is the literal word of Allah. As such there is absolutely no hope for these guys.It is literally locked into the customs ,traditions ,way of life of the 7th C warring,stealing,raping,robbing Arab.That’s why Islam is such a problem in the west and where ever it has gone.It cannot reform itself.

    That is why we must resist it and keep it out of our lives ,country and communities.

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  12. Lucia Maria (2,239 comments) says:

    … why do you constantly demand that Israel be exempt from criticism while spewing bile at her neighbours ?

    Why do you constantly misrepresent what I say?

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  13. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Lucy, why do you fail to stand by your statements and play victim when called to account ?

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  14. Lucia Maria (2,239 comments) says:

    LOL!

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  15. Lucia Maria (2,239 comments) says:

    Kea,

    Have a read of this opinion piece by a Muslim bemoaning the hatred of Jews by Muslims, the blaming of Jews for everything that is wrong about the world, by Muslims, and the lack of ability for Muslims to realise that they are the cause of their own problems, not the Jews.

    Almost no Ramadan evening goes by without tedious “historical” dramas on Al-Jazeera and the other Arab TV channels, whose objective is to brainwash viewers with anti-Semitic propaganda. They deal with the Jews’ denial of the Prophet Muhammad’s message, Jewish attempts to poison him and their betrayal of him at the Battle of the Trench in Al-Medina. Almost all the series’ end on the same note: the message is always that the fate of the Jews in the Palestine they stole from the Arabs will be the same as that Muhammad wreaked on them at Khybar, they will be slaughtered and their women and children will be sold into slavery.

    That kind of incitement lends the Jews a Satanic power, it makes us think they can manipulate events around the world and are historically responsible for planning and carrying out every evil that exists. In reality, however, all it does is glorify their capabilities and achievements to the extent of turning them into a self-important legend. Thus we ourselves construct the myth of the genius of the Jews, their intellectual might and creative talents, while personally I am not entirely sure they deserve the reputation: they are mere mortals like everyone else, and often less.

    In my opinion, the situation has reached such proportions within the nation of Islam that it is now a national mental illness, a collective obsession for which I see no cure. We accuse the Jews of wanting to rule the world, but one of the causes of our illness is that we expect Islam to take over the world.

    To my great sorrow, everywhere in the world where there are Muslims there is murder, mass bloodshed and terrorist attacks. We should leave the Jews alone, they are not responsible for our tragedies and hating them will not cure the nation of Islam or bring it successfully into the 21st century.

    link: Hatred of Jews

    As I have said before, I see you parroting the same blame towards Jews that Muslims do, that is why I’ve been arguing with you on the topic.

    And, as I’ve also said before, I pick topics and I argue them.

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  16. Yoza (1,667 comments) says:

    The Iranians would be insane if they were not developing nuclear weapons as a deterrent to the very real threat of the Israeli nuclear arsenal and the very recent record of US aggression and invasion of neighbouring states.

    Iran has committed two major crimes. First off they founded their civilisation on top of one of the largest concentrations of white-man’s oil ever discovered. If that weren’t bad enough, when the US went to all that trouble of replacing a relatively democratic government with a military junta under the Shah, the cheeky darkies kicked him and his secret police out and set up their own regime.

    They need to be taught that disobedience is a crime that will not be tolerated. The Saudis and the Bahrainis, they’re good boys, why can’t those naughty Iranians behave properly.

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  17. Ashley Schaeffer (441 comments) says:

    Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s new President, has pledged he would “never” develop nuclear weapons as part of a series of overtures to the West ahead of his first address to the United Nations next week.

    That’s fine, but what about the next one? Where do the Mad Mullahs stand on nuclear weapons?

    Rouhani, who was elected this year on a promise to end Iran’s international isolation, said he had the “full authority” from the country’s ruling ayatollahs to cut a deal on the nuclear issue.

    “Cut a deal”? The deal should be “you stop trying to develop nuclear weapons and we won’t drop one of ours on your roof”

    In his first interview with United States television, Rouhani told NBC News that he was involved in a “positive and constructive” exchange of letters with Barack Obama, who wrote to congratulate him on his election.

    They’ve probably been pen-pals since school.

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  18. kowtow (7,921 comments) says:

    LM

    kea (Marnia) has taken on the persona of a Syrian male who pretends to be an atheist. Like your contributor who equates the Muslim hatred of Jews to a mental illness,you are also dealing with someone who is mentally ill.There’s no merit in engaging with a fruitcake.

    But your post raises a crucial issue. The Koran is full of hatred for Jews (indeed for all non Muslims).Islamic apologists need to study the texts and context of those battles etc to understand why Islam is so dangerous.

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  19. Yoza (1,667 comments) says:

    But your post raises a crucial issue. The Koran is full of hatred for Jews (indeed for all non Muslims).Islamic apologists need to study the texts and context of those battles etc to understand why Islam is so dangerous.

    Yet recent history demonstrates that it is Muslims who should be worried, as the US and its ‘civilised’ allies have slaughtered hundreds of thousands of them in their own countries.

    If anything has been fomenting hatred of non-Muslims by Muslims in the Middle East it is arrogant US aggression, not the Koran.

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  20. UglyTruth (4,551 comments) says:

    He also blamed Israel for Middle East instability in that interview

    The facts are on his side.

    In 1954, Israeli agents working in Egypt planted bombs in several buildings, including a United States diplomatic facility, and left evidence behind implicating Arabs as the culprits. The ruse would have worked, had not one of the bombs detonated prematurely, allowing the Egyptians to capture and identify one of the bombers, which in turn led to the round up of an Israeli spy ring.
    http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/lavon.html

    Fifteen years after the attack, an Israeli pilot approached Liberty survivors and then held extensive interviews with former Congressman Paul N. (Pete) McCloskey about his role. According to this senior Israeli lead pilot, he recognized the Liberty as American immediately, so informed his headquarters, and was told to ignore the American flag and continue his attack. He refused to do so and returned to base, where he was arrested.
    http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/ussliberty.html

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  21. UglyTruth (4,551 comments) says:

    The Koran is full of hatred for Jews (indeed for all non Muslims).I

    You’re full of shit, kowtow.

    And dispute ye not with the People of the Book except with means better (than mere disputation) unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say “We believe in the Revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our Allah and your Allah is one; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam).” Quran 29:46

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  22. kowtow (7,921 comments) says:

    Ugly you’re a very rude fellow,not to mention ignorant.

    The Koran has two sides. Early Mo (the nice boy without power) and late Mo who had an army,but then I suspect you know that and ignore the nasty bits.Here ya go.

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/2013/09/robert-spencer-in-frontpage-magazine-does-the-quran-teach-hate.html

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  23. Lucia Maria (2,239 comments) says:

    Kowtow,

    Have a look at this review of the book: Jihad and Jew Hatred:

    The author asserts that the type of hatred of Jews seen in the Muslim world today does not really have it’s roots in the Koran. Instead, it’s Nazi connections pre- WWII that is feeding the frenzy today:

    The question is not only why, of course, but how: how did these ideas, especially those that portray Jews as all-powerful, work their way into modern-day Islamist discourse? The notion of the Jew as malevolently omnipotent is not a traditional Muslim notion. Jews do not come off well in the Koran — they connive and scheme and reject the message of the Prophet Muhammad — but they are shown to be, above all else, defeated. Muhammad, we read, conquered the Jews in battle and set them wandering. In subsequent centuries Jews lived among Muslims, and it is true that their experience was generally healthier than that of their brethren in Christendom, but only so long as they knew their place; they were ruled and taxed as second-class citizens and were often debased by statute. In the Jim Crow Middle East, no one believed the Jews were in control.

    Obviously, then, these modern-day ideas about Jewish power were imported from Europe, and Küntzel makes a bold and consequential argument: the dissemination of European models of anti-Semitism among Muslims was not haphazard, but an actual project of the Nazi Party, meant to turn Muslims against Jews and Zionism. He says that in the years before World War II, two Muslim leaders in particular willingly and knowingly carried Nazi ideology directly to the Muslim masses. They were Haj Amin al-Husseini, the mufti of Jerusalem, and the Egyptian proto-Islamist Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. The story of the mufti is a familiar one: he was the leader of the Arabs in Palestine, and Palestine’s leading anti-Jewish agitator. He eventually embraced the Nazis and spent most of the war in Berlin, recruiting Bosnian Muslims for the SS and agitating for the harshest possible measures against Jews. Küntzel writes that the mufti became upset with Himmler in 1943, when he sought to trade 5,000 Jewish children for 20,000 German prisoners. Himmler came around to the mufti’s thinking, and the children were gassed.

    Hassan al-Banna did not embrace Nazism in the same uncomplicated manner, but through the 1930s, his movement, aided by the Germans, led the drive against not only political Zionism but Jews in general. “This burgeoning Islamist movement was subsidized with German funds,” Küntzel writes. “These contributions enabled the Muslim Brotherhood to set up a printing plant with 24 employees and use the most up-to-date propaganda methods.” The Muslim Brotherhood, Küntzel goes on, was a crucial distributor of Arabic translations of “Mein Kampf” and the “Protocols.” Across the Arab world, he states, Nazi methods and ideology whipped up anti-Zionist fervor, and the effects of this concerted campaign are still being felt today.

    I posted a link to this same review a couple of weeks back in one of my conversations with Kea, who chose not to comment on it. At the time, I left out the last two paragraphs above.

    I think it’s a combination of this very successful Nazi propaganda (especially in the Palestinian Territories), fueled by religious fervour that is causing the problem. But then reason and logic doesn’t really have much traction in the Islamic world.

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  24. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Lucy, we can spend all day having a pissing contest by cut n’ pasting the extreme views of both sides. That will make us little better than them and no better informed.

    Do we at least agree that there are better ways than more war and conflict ? Because that is at the very core of my position. I do not think villainising one religion, while elevating others to an undeserved status, is a helpful approach. Which is quite different to holding people accountable for their actions as they arise. Being mired in past transgressions is the single biggest barrier to finding a way forward.

    kowtow, do you want to chat about physics or religion ?

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  25. UglyTruth (4,551 comments) says:

    Ugly you’re a very rude fellow,not to mention ignorant.

    No, you’re just full of shit, like I said. Here’s the first quote from jihadwatch, which naturally enough is taken out of context so that fucktards like you can use it.

    The Qur’an teaches that Muslims must fight and kill unbelievers “wherever you overtake them” until “religion is Allah’s,” i.e. Islamic law rules all societies (2:190-193).

    And here it is in context:

    Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loveth not aggressors.
    And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Inviolable Place of Worship until they first attack you there, but if they attack you (there) then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers.
    But if they desist, then lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
    And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah. But if they desist, then let there be no hostility except against wrong-doers.

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  26. Ed Snack (1,793 comments) says:

    Taqiyya, look it up. Anyway, who ever heard of a politician telling the truth about what their government was really up to ?

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  27. Lucia Maria (2,239 comments) says:

    Ugly,

    The context hardly makes it any better.

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  28. UglyTruth (4,551 comments) says:

    Taqiyya, look it up.

    The burden of proof is yours. I won’t hold my breath.

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  29. UglyTruth (4,551 comments) says:

    The context hardly makes it any better.

    In context, it is about jihad against oppression, which is quite different to “kill unbelievers until Islamic law rules all societies”, as jihadwatch puts it.

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  30. Lucia Maria (2,239 comments) says:

    Kea,

    Lucy, we can spend all day having a pissing contest by cut n’ pasting the extreme views of both sides. That will make us little better than them and no better informed.

    Except they are not just extreme views, they are extreme views turned into propaganda for Muslim viewers on Arabic TV. As my first cut n’ paste said:

    Almost no Ramadan evening goes by without tedious “historical” dramas on Al-Jazeera and the other Arab TV channels, whose objective is to brainwash viewers with anti-Semitic propaganda.

    Why is the Muslim world so anti-Israeli? Oh, I don’t know, could it be that they’ve been subjected to decades of propaganda?

    Israel is the most inoffensive country in the Middle East, and yet it’s the cause of so much angst there, it’s incredible.

    Do we at least agree that there are better ways than more war and conflict ?

    Yes, we can.

    Because that is at the very core of my position.

    Not really seeing evidence of that.

    I do not think villainising one religion, while elevating others to an undeserved status, is a helpful approach. Which is quite different to holding people accountable for their actions as they arise. Being mired in past transgressions is the single biggest barrier to finding a way forward.

    I disagree. It’s pointless starting from nothing. At the very least an understanding of the “enemy” or “opposition” is required. Without that understanding all sorts of assumptions are made that could turn out to be false, and therefore directly lead to conflict, when correct action could have diverted disaster.

    Israel, for her own survival, really needs to understand that it’s her very existence that is the problem, not whether or not enough land has been given up to appease the Palestinians. Nothing will ever appease them until she is wiped out. That’s the reality.

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  31. Lucia Maria (2,239 comments) says:

    Ugly,

    In context, it is about jihad against oppression, which is quite different to “kill unbelievers until Islamic law rules all societies”, as jihadwatch puts it.

    Interesting then how a Muslim can write:

    We accuse the Jews of wanting to rule the world, but one of the causes of our illness is that we expect Islam to take over the world.

    From my comment above.

    You might be reading into that passage what you want to read.

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  32. cha (3,843 comments) says:

    TAQIYYA!

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  33. UglyTruth (4,551 comments) says:

    Interesting then how a Muslim can write: “….but one of the causes of our illness is that we expect Islam to take over the world”

    For the simple reason that Muslims are not immune to religious hypocrisy, just as Christians and Jews are not immune. They base their beliefs on what is taught by their local culture and disregard what the canonical texts of their religion teach.

    Further, the radicalization of Islam owes much to the US and to NATO.

    To paraphrase Edmonds: though the collusion with radical Islam had been going on for decades, it wasn’t until 1996 that a formal decision was made by NATO to abandon their previous secret relationship with neo-Fascists and arch-Nationalists and replace them with Islamists.
    http://wideshut.co.uk/gladio-b-the-origins-of-natos-secret-islamic-terrorist-proxies/

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  34. Ed Snack (1,793 comments) says:

    UglyTruth, in what way are you expecting me to produce “evidence” of Taqiyya ? Do you doubt the existence of the doctrine or idea ? Lying to infidels is not only not a “sin” for a Muslim, it is considered a religious duty in certain circumstances. Islam (the world of peace) is in continual conflict with the non-believers (the world of war), and deceit is simply a tactic in that conflict. Educate yourself.

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  35. Lucia Maria (2,239 comments) says:

    Ugly,

    Oh the irony!

    7 September, I said to you:

    Riiiight. You must be one of those whacky alternative history nuts

    To which you took exception.

    And your last link on this thread contains the following paragraph:

    This story is relatively well-known among students of alternative history and advocates of alternative media, though the operation of the secret army here in the UK has not been subject to the detailed research of, for example, the Italian Gladio.

    Bing! Score a point for me. 8-)

    Btw, anything that looks like “alternative history”, I consider untrustworthy.

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  36. totaranui (10 comments) says:

    I travelled on Iran for ten days just after the election. Until the television debate in which Rouhani was a standout by pledging to work on ending US sanctions (ie stopping nuclear development), tackling corruption and getting inflation under control, Iranians had little interest in the election. Then they turned out in huge numbers to give him a 51pc majority. He asked for six months to honour his promises. Now the Supreme Leader has to deal with someone who has this mandate. The Islamic Republic is loathed by a majority of Iranians. If Rouhani doesn’t deliver I was told time and again the students and the middle class would take to the streets and demand the promises be honoured. We shall see. They had a crack in 1999 and Rouhani knows this. He led the suppression. He knows it can’t be suppressed a second time. There is freedom of religion in Iran and talk of Jews and Muslims not getting on is nonsense. I’m currently travelling in Morocco where the same is the case. Iran is one of the friendliest and safest countries there is and btw is not an Arab country. Rouhani is walking a tightrope but has the skills to pull off what he wants to do. Evidently Obama thinks so too. But, as one Iranian said to me “he’s in the last chance saloon. He knows it and we know it”.

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  37. valeriusterminus (247 comments) says:

    Scott – September 20th, 2013 at 10:57 am
    Well Fentex didn’t say that – “Iran is basically pursuing the same policy of developing nuclear weapons.”
    So why do you think that ?
    Like WTFentex ?

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