Jan. 10, 2017
Whitewashing Rafsanjani’s Record – Michael Rubin
The New York Times called the death of former Iranian president Rafsanjani “a major blow to moderates and reformists in Iran.” The whitewashing of Rafsanjani’s record is akin to praising Pol Pot or Fidel Castro. Rafsanjani signed off on attacks like the 1994 bombing of the Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires and assassinations of Iranian dissidents worldwide. He also helped birth Iran’s covert nuclear weapons program. If Rafsanjani was a moderate, then moderation in the Islamic Republic includes an embrace of incitement to genocide, assassination, torture, and terrorism.
The desire to find moderation and meaning within factional struggles expands beyond just Iran. Talk to European or American diplomats who work in the Middle East about Hizbullah or Hamas and they will describe a nuanced view that divides the movements into hardline and more pragmatic factions. The fact that those moderate Hamas factions still embrace a covenant that calls for genocide against Jews is left unsaid.
Moral clarity is important. Moderates neither engage in terrorism nor endorse it. They do not seek to wipe other nations off the face of the earth. They do not preach religious hatred. Accepting relative moderation only legitimizes different flavors of extremism. The writer, a former Pentagon official who dealt with Middle East issues, is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. (Commentary)