A Bloody Anniversary for Iran’s Hassan Rouhani

Hassan-RouhaniI was sitting alone in solidarity confinement, in cell number 607 in the fearsome Towhid prison after an all-day torture session, when I first heard the name Hassan Rouhani. It was just after the 5th day of the now famous July 1999 student uprising against the Islamic Republic of Iran. Khatami was the president of the regime and head of Iran’s “National Security Council.” His right-hand man, Hassan Rouhani, was the voice ordering the regime’s militias to suppress the demonstrations by any means necessary.

I got off easy. While many students were being shot to death in their dormitories or thrown out of their windows, I was thrown into solitary confinement. IRI President Khatami had personally signed my arrest warrant in addition to warrants for ten other leaders of the uprising.

Don’t be fooled by Hassan Rouhani’s guise and his words of temperance, which mask a history of unabashed fanatical Islamic radicalism.

If anyone ever underestimated the Islamic Republics’s wit, now is certainly the time to open one’s eyes.  Don’t let the absurdity of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s past comments fool you – the regime has a thorough and insightful perspective of world politics. In this latest “show election,” the Mullahs proved just how worthy they are of the Oscars for “best director” and another one for “best actor in a drama.”

After the shocking events of 2009, the Islamic Republic learned many valuable lessons, the most central of which was the importance of branding.  This time around, the regime was desperate to not only brand the “elections” as legitimate, but to develop the rhetoric to brand Hassan Rouhani, their ideal candidate, as someone the West would inadvertently, or perhaps consciously, campaign for.

In a matter of weeks after the announcement of Rouhani’s bid for candidacy, he was suddenly pegged as a “moderate” and “reformer.” Never mind his track record of allegiance to Khamenei and the regime, which includes his stint as lead nuclear negotiator from 2003-2005, or the fact that he was the first to label the founding father of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini, as Imam.  In the blink of an eye, his history of deceiving the international community, supporting international terror and oppressing Iran’s citizens, disappeared from the headlines and common discourse.  Oddly, today Rouhani makes news around the world for his sharp criticism of the regime’s international diplomacy, the leadership’s handling of sanctions, the economy and, most shockingly, the nuclear program.

The question is: Why is it that the regime wanted Rouhani to be president so badly that they pushed ahead with his comprehensive re-branding agenda?

It is one thing to fool the world into supporting your prime choice for presidency, but in a society where Khamenei’s decree alone becomes reality, why go through the trouble?

Hassan Rouhani’s re-branding as the “nice-guy” or the rational, calm-headed figure among the rest is what the regime is betting on for its new wave of nuclear negotiations and diplomacy.  Don’t forget, the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran is little more than a puppet, a face.  Pair Rouhani with Saeed Jalili, the current nuclear negotiator on the receiving end of much international disdain, and you have your key to success – the good cop, bad cop routine: an impermeable, impenetrable team capable of protecting Iran’s nuclear ambitions.  The regime knows that international opinion of Jalili is not favorable, but the international love-affair with “reform-minded” Rouhani has only just begun.  Strategic isn’t it?  Two emissaries loyal to the same messianic leader, with the same goal; their only difference is how the world perceives them. The Islamic Regime couldn’t have dealt its cards better, and you know you just got played.

Please read the following excerpts of a 1999 Rouhani speech, to find out what kind of a person he really is:

Excerpts from Hassan Rouhani’s Speech, July 14th 1999:

Note: This speech was delivered to a government-organized demonstration a few days after the now famous student uprising of 1999 in order to defend the regime and the “Supreme Leader,” who had been openly challenged by the people. As we are witnessing today all over the world, in the “newspeak” of the dictators, whenever they use words with positive connotations such as “the people” they mean their own storm troopers or, in the case of the Iranian Mullahs, the “Hezbollah” and “Baseej” thugs, while dissident students, youth and people are called “thugs,” “foreign elements,” etc .

The reader should research the 1999 uprising, in which up to a 100 were killed and 5,000 injured over several days of democratic and unarmed demonstrations in numerous cities.

This uprising began with a simple student rally at Tehran University demanding the reopening of a banned news paper. Pro-government Hezbollah storm troopers and intelligence agents attacked the dormitories the following night, beating students and destroying their property in retaliation. When faced with resistance, they killed some students, including by throwing them out of windows from higher floors, while chanting religious prayers as if they were sacrificing people for holy purposes. This incident sparked large demonstrations at the University, overflowing into the streets and turning into a huge mass uprising, unprecedented since the 1979 revolution.

[Translator’s notes are in brackets.]

One bitter incident caused by these corrupt elements was breaking the taboos … in particular the most fundamental basis of the revolution, i.e. the holy sanctity of the Guardianship [the Supreme Leader Khamenei] … The Guardianship in our country is the symbol of the Islamism of our system and the independence of the country … That important element, which established an unbreakable tie between the beloved and gracious Iranian nation and over a billion Muslims worldwide, is the Islamism of the revolution…That element which is uniting our nation today and that has established an unbreakable tie among our nation is Islam, and the symbol of this Islamism, is the Leader and the Guardianship. ["Allahu Akbar" shouted by the participants.] … The issue of the Guardianship is the symbol of our society’s national unity; the issue of the Guardianship is the symbol of our national sovereignty. Insulting the Guardianship is insulting the nation, it is insulting Iran, it is insulting Islam. It is insulting Muslims. It is insulting all those free people whose hearts are beating for Iran, as the Mother Country [center] of Islam…

… The continuation of this situation is unbearable for our regime, our country and our people. Yesterday, stern orders were given to these elements. Yesterday at sunset, strict orders were issued that any action from these opportunist elements, wherever they may be, should be dealt with severely and resolutely, in order to suppress them. ["Allahu Akbar" shouted by the participants.] From today on, our people shall witness what our disciplinary force [police], the heroic and ever present Baseej force [Islamic Militia, i.e. IRGC surrogates] shall do to these opportunistic and riotous elements … ["Allahu Akbar" shouted by the participants.] The beloved and gracious people of Iran are alive and on the scene … and shall respond brutally [tooth breaking] to them. Our powerful security forces, including the disciplinary forces [police], the Baseej [IRGC surrogate militia] and the rest of the forces, as well as the vigilant personnel of the Intelligence Ministry, shall be on the scene in force.

Fortunately, most of these elements have been arrested between yesterday and last night.  All of these individuals shall be interrogated…

Our foreign enemies have experiences with countries where their regimes are dependent on foreign powers and do not have roots within people’s hearts… They want to apply their experience to our magnificent and beloved Islamic revolution … The enemy should reconsider.  After 20 years of our people’s resistance, the enemy has no other alternative but to surrender to our revolution… The enemy should know that it has but one way in front of it, which is confessing, admitting and humiliation in front of the Islamic revolution …

Fortunately, all the mainstays of the regime and the authorities within all [government] forces, unanimously agree on a resolute and revolutionary confrontation with these opportunistic elements … ["Allahu Akbar" shouted by the participants.]

The people should stay on the scene with vigilance and zeal … and help the Intelligence Ministry with the information acquired. In terms of action, they should support the official forces and the security officials, meaning they should be the helpers of the disciplinary forces [police], the Baseej [IRGC surrogate militia] and other security forces on the scene[.]

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  • StanleyT

    61 Iranians have been executed since the election of Rouhani.

  • The Dead Critic

    Give Islam the tools they need to kill each other….it will save the U.S. tax payer the heartache of having to send it’s best to do it for them.

  • tokoloshiman

    goebbels would have been proud

  • Jsjk

    Almost a guarantee that Obama will be played by Rouhani. And Rouhani will be running circles around the EU dopes, as well. Meanwhile the media will be falling over itself to paint the radical (backer and ardent supporter of the totalitarian regime) as a “reformer.”

  • Truth

    Thank you for your article Mr. Roozbeh, but I am not buying it. People like you give other nations and people outside of Iran a negative view of Iran and it’s progress so far. Iran isn’t a perfect place where truth and justice is exercised all the time, but guess what, point me to a country that has all their stuff together. It’s about making progress, and talking to Iranians, every single one has told me of the great progress that Iran made under Mr. Khatami and how happy they were. Every country/nation has laws by which the people have to abide by and when you break the laws in any country, you will be punished one way or another. The task at hand is to establish a government for which the people are heard and the laws that are put in place reflect the voice of the people. Can you point me to a country that has established such a government?

    I can’t stand reading articles from people like you, who are so blind to the truth. Most of what you’ve written is just your opinion without any fact. Here is an example “In the blink of an eye, his history of deceiving the international
    community, supporting international terror and oppressing Iran’s
    citizens, disappeared from the headlines and common discourse”

    ‘Deceiving the international community’? Please explain, what are you talking about? How and when?

    Today more than ever we need to bring out the truth to this world and educate one another truthfully so that we can heal the pain that exists in this world. Enough writing about personal beliefs.. Over 72% of people voted in the latest election, do you understand that? That means regardless of what anyone says, the majority of people in Iran have chosen this path. no one forced them to vote… so let’s RESPECT that and be happy for the Iranian people.

    Also, can you explain this “His right-hand man, Hassan Rouhani, was the voice ordering the regime’s militias to suppress the demonstrations by any means necessary”? Where is your source, from whom did you hear this? Were you there when Mr. Rouhani was ordering the regime’s militias to suppress by any means necessary?

    I can go on for days, responding to your opinionated article. Yes Mr. Rouhani is part of this regime, but that doesn’t make him an evil man. He and others like him, including the youth of the early revolution fought for 8 years with minimal weapons to protect the Iranian soil from being invaded by outside forces. For that reason alone we should be thankful.

    If people like you can control your Ego’s a bit and let the Iranian people determine and fight for their path forward, then there is no doubt that the future of Iran is bright.

    For everyone else reading my words realize that unlike many European nations and neighboring countries, Iran has NEVER invaded any country (do your research). Iran has been under heavy assault for many years (even before the revolution), by outside forces and has always found a way to defend herself.. it’s always been about Money. Thanks to the web and more transparency, the thief’s from within the country and outside will no longer have the chance to manipulate the people.

    Anyways, looking forward to your reply.

  • Bruce Behrouz Bahmani

    As the mixed bag of comments shows, you’re clearly not going to ever get any respect from the “average” reader, when you mention your time in prison, and then go off tangent to report your “opinion” of Rouhani and Khatami.

    Don’t get me wrong, as an Iranian objecting to the IRI, I absolutely believe you. But emotional vendetta tinged opinion pieces like this do no one or us any good at this time. We are simply too biased when we try to explain how Iran works.

    Stick to facts and report them. That is all you are supposed to do as a journalist.

    If you want to recount your days in prison, and torture, and opine on things you most certainly have a right to do, then write a book, and I’ll buy it.

    But do not waste your valuable time, trying to convince everyone, with biased opinion, and torture affected emotional retribution masked as a piece, a story, or worse, a report on your interpretation and translation of the facts.

    Opinion tinged with bias, is incredible whether true or not.