Earlier this week, I highlighted linguist Steven Ditto’s monograph detailing Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s past record. While many supporters of rapprochement with Iran argue that Rouhani is a changed man, he has yet to disavow many of his most extreme positions, including his justification for terrorist attacks on women, children, and other civilians.
Consider the following 2002 Rouhani interview with Chris Wallace, from ABC News, which Ditto highlighted (and to which he called my attention). That it has escaped notice may be accidental: ABC’s transliteration of Rohani’s name was non-standard, even for the time, but surely Wallace—now at FOX—should remember the significance of the interview:
Wallace: Dr. Rohani, you said that the Palestinians can use any action to fight Israeli occupation, yes?
Rohani: We believe that the Palestinians, to regain their country and their freedom and to kick out their occupier have the right to fight with Israel.
Wallace: Any right?
Rohani: Palestinians have to try, if it is possible, not to hurt non-combatants.
Wallace: But let me ask you directly, when someone walks into a restaurant, to a Passover Seder, and slaughters innocent families, is that a freedom fighter?
Rohani: What should they do? What is the Palestinians’ alternative? The Palestinians, whose children are being killed?
Wallace: So they should kill Israeli children?
Rohani: What is their alternative? You tell me what should these people do? If these people are blowing themselves to pieces before anything else, this means there remains no alternative. What the Palestinians are doing is to show the world how the powerful nations have not done their job. Why has the United States repeatedly vetoed the U.N. Resolutions against Israel? In reality, what has forced the Palestinians to commit these acts is the superpowers, that with no logic, no reason, have supported the occupier for the last 55 years.
What Rouhani advocates is, let’s face it, a full-throated endorsement of terrorism, and one he has never disavowed. He justifies suicide bombers targeting civilians. His apologia for Hezbollah and the (now late) Imad Mughniyeh elsewhere in the same interview shows Rouhani to be an apologetic liar.
That so many journalists and analysts place hope in Rouhani and yet fail to address such a dark aspect to Rouhani’s record is disturbing. Too many are willfully blind to the truth about the Iranian leader and, more broadly, the regime which he serves.