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Cog in the Regime

David Horovitz writes in today's Jerusalem Post:


Dr. Alberto Nisman, the prosecutor who has secured Interpol backing for the arrests of several leaders in Teheran, including former president Hashemi Rafsanjani, for ordering the July 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community offices in Buenos Aires, also urged the international community to pressure Iran into giving up the wanted men for trial.

Nisman said the AMIA blast, in which 85 people were killed, and the bombing of the Israeli Embassy two years earlier, in which 29 people were killed, had been "ordered, planned and financed" by Iran's top leadership. Teheran, he said, was incensed that Argentina, under former president Carlos Menem, had suspended and ultimately stopped what had been close cooperation with the Iranian nuclear program, including the training of nuclear technicians and the transfer of nuclear technology. At first Teheran tried to cajole Argentina into reconsidering, he said. Then it issued threats. And finally, it employed terrorism.

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Interpol's executive committee voted unanimously to uphold the arrests, he noted, "an unprecedented diplomatic defeat for Iran." And it now fell to the international community to pressure Iran into giving up the men.

While he acknowledged the current Iranian regime would "never" cooperate, he said the men might at some point think it safe to leave the country, and that other factors might yet see them handed over for trial, if only in a third country rather than Argentina. "If I didn't think it possible," he said, "I would have abandoned this."


I got the impression, while reading about this case in the past, that Rafsanjani was the big stumbling block here. The international community has been hesitant to go after the former Iranian president, mainly due to his diplomatic tone and reputation as a "reformer."

But this is just one incident of terror and assassination perpetrated by the republic during Rafsanjani's reign in the 1990's. The prosecutor's claim--that the bombings were an act of spite over diminished nuclear cooperation--only makes him look worse.

The key problem, I think, is that critics observe Iran like they would any other nation. To the West, an Iran with Rafsanjani at the helm and a coalition of reformers in the Majlis would be a better Iran. And it would be, at least marginally. But it's a mistake to look at their governmental infrastructure this way.

It's more like Antonius Block playing Death in the chess match. The idea that Block can beat Death is far fetched at best, and in all reality just a way to race against the clock to avoid the inevitable. The game is rigged from the beginning, the conclusion already determined. This is modern day Iran. Hashemi Rafsanjani plays a particular role in this regime. He is a cog who gets carted out every few years or so to present a more "worldly" Iran to the world. He did this in the late 1980's, when Khomeini overturned some of the social liberalization he had previously permitted. Rafsanjani scrambled to secure global investment in the country, and reassured the world that Iran had nothing to do with acts of terror throughout the 80's. His name--along with Khatami's--represents the hope of reform in Iran. This is important in a totalitarian society, where the carrot at the end of the stick offered every now and then can keep a population docile and at ease.


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