Rouhani spreads the honey
No-one should be taken in by the Iranian president’s charm offensive, but the West has strong cards to play.
Greetings to the Jewish people on the occasion of Rosh Hashanah; indications that Iran might be willing to close one of its most important nuclear facilities; nice words about President Obama’s letter to him after his election; and a fifteen-minute telephone conversation between the two presidents after the UN General Assembly meetings – what is Hassan Rouhani up to?
Most of the commentators, at least those who are not entranced by his charm offensive, assume that he is being totally hypocritical, pretending to be the moderate reformer that he manifestly is not, but taking a different tack from his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was unceasingly insulting and hostile. In the words of the well-known folk wisdom, “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”
According to this line of thought, the means are different but the goal is the same: to complete preparations for the production of nuclear weapons without being effectively prevented from doing so. They point out that Rouhani was Iran’s nuclear negotiator precisely during the time when Iran made its most significant advances towards acquisition of the bomb.