When President Obama stepped up to the White House podium on Friday, September 27, and announced his phone call to Iran’s President Rouhani, he made history. For the first time since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, a U.S. president talked directly with an Iranian president.
The question is, “What kind of history is he making?” Will he be like U.S. President Richard Nixon, who in 1972 opened the door to China or like England’s Neville Chamberlain who in 1939 declared “peace in our time” after his infamous Munich meeting with Adolf Hitler?
Obama’s 15-minute call follows Iran’s full-court press and full-throated appeal to the West and its media: we are not your enemy and we don’t want nuclear weapons.
Rouhani told NBC’s Ann Curry: “Firstly, we disagree with nuclear bombs because our religion and our faith and morals tell us weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, are inhumane and destructive to humanity.”
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif insisted to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that “We’re not seeking nuclear weapons … We don’t want nuclear weapons.”
Rouhani reiterated to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour “… you're well aware that the supreme leader has, in fact, issued a decree that bans the production and the stockpiling of any weapons of mass destruction, specifically the nuclear weapon, as being haram [forbidden].”
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei now says his government will be displaying “heroic flexibility.”
The new “flexibility” and openness is being compared by some in the West to the fall of the Berlin Wall.
But the view from here in Jerusalem is far different.
Rouhani’s gentle demeanor stands in stark contrast to former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s bombastic behavior, but many analysts say the message remains the same: the destruction of Israel and a war on the West and Christianity.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a sober message on his way to the U.S. Sunday evening:“I will tell the truth in the face of the sweet-talk and the onslaught of smiles. One must talk facts and one must tell the truth.”
Iranian expert Menashe Amir told this reporter the facts about Iran’s ideology. (Watch his comments below.)
Amir says the recent change in Iran is their short-term tactic, not their long-range strategy. He says Iran’s nuclear program will not stop.
Their immediate goal is to get the West to ease sanctions; their long-range strategy remains the same:“Destruction of Israel is only the first phase to confront the Western civilization and when the Iranian regime speaks about Western civilization, they mean Christianity. According to the Iranian belief, Christianity is based on Judaism. So first they want to destroy Israel, which is the symbol of Judaism, and they want to confront Christianity. That’s a fact that people in the Western countries either don’t know or they ignore it.”
The West needs to understand Iran’s ruling Shiite regime is driven by an Islamic theology antithetical to Western civilization. The newly released book, “Dateline Jerusalem,” chronicles Iran’s theology: “In Shiite eschatology, chaos precedes the return of the Mahdi (Islam’s messiah) and marks the end of the age…When you mix this messianic theology with nuclear weapons, Iran’s current foreign policy becomes a toxic brew with regional and global implications.”
The immediate implications for Israel are profound. If Iran is using this charm offensive to delay, distract and deceive the West while it draws closer to a nuclear weapon, it makes a dangerous situation even more treacherous.
Yet the Obama administration seemed intent on pursuing direct negotiations with Iran. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry boasts that an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program can be achieved in three to six months.
During that time, the U.S. will have to decide if it’s diplomacy or deception.