The Iranian President’s Record of Suppression

In 2013, Hassan Rouhani was elected president of Iran, succeeding the blunt revolutionary Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who loved to provoke Western sensibilities. To the Obama administration, the smiling cleric Rouhani was destined to bring “change” to Iran, and the American press hailed him as a “moderate” who favored liberalization. He was, of course, nothing of the sort, as Isaac Schorr writes:

To Rouhani, “Israel is the great Zionist Satan” that “can never feel that it is in a safe place,” and “the beautiful cry of ‘Death to America’ unites” his country. In a 2004 speech, Rouhani boasted that nuclear negotiations he was holding with Britain, France, and Germany bought time that allowed engineers to install “equipment in parts of the [nuclear conversion] facility in Isfahan.”

This much could be determined from Rouhani’s words alone, but his actions speak far more loudly. Not only has Iran, under his watch, continued to export terror, war, and slaughter throughout the Middle East, but Rouhani’s government has also brutalized its own population. Schorr cites a recent report by Amnesty International detailing the treatment of those who participated in last year’s protests:

During his original campaign in 2013, Rouhani ran on a platform of freeing political prisoners and curbing the power of the morality police. . . . During and after the protests, [however], thousands of Iranians were arrested by security forces—in the vast majority of cases, for merely showing up to demonstrations. . . . Children as young as ten years old were taken into custody.

Many of those arrested disappeared for weeks and even months. Family members who inquired as to their status were often “subjected to harassment [and] intimidation.” . . . Torture was used not only to force the “confessions” of individuals’ unlawful behavior, “but also about their alleged associations with opposition groups outside Iran.” Among the methods used by authorities to elicit such confessions were beatings, prolonged stays in solitary confinement, stress positions and suspension, electric shocks, mock executions, and sexual violence and humiliation, including “forced nakedness, invasive body searches intended to humiliate the victims, sustained sexual verbal abuse, pepper spraying the genital area, and administering electric shocks to the testicles.”

Read more at National Review

More about: Anti-Semitism, Barack Obama, Hassan Rouhani, Human Rights, Iran

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy