Continued from 12-MONTH REPORT CARD: IRAN UNDER HASSAN ROUHANI – Part II
In Rouhani’s government the policy of meddling in other countries and exporting terrorism and fundamentalism has intensified each day.
The US State Department recently reported that the Iranian regime remains a major supporter of terrorism and continues to challenge requests to prove its nuclear ambitions are peaceful. The State Department added that Tehran is pressing its support of Palestinian terrorist groups and strengthening its presence in Africa, and attempting to smuggle weapons to separatists in Yemen and Bahrain.
Of course Iran has also been one of the main supporters of the Assad regime in Syria. On 4 May 2014 Fars News Agency reported that IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Hamedani, said, “130,000 trained Bassij members are waiting to be dispatched to Syria. Today, we are fighting for interests such as the Islamic revolution in Syria and our defense is similar to that of the Sacred Defense [the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War].”
This foreign involvement expands Iran’s control over the region. On 2 May, Tabnak website quoted former IRGC chief and current Khamenei military advisor Rahim Safavi as saying, “Iran’s influence from the Iran-Iraq-Syria has reached the Mediterranean. Our defensive border is in southern Lebanon with Israel and our strategic depth has reached the Mediterranean above Israel.”
D- Nuclear Ambition
Despite the continuation of the nuclear negotiations between the regime and P5+1, various officials within the Rouhani government still emphasize their desire to complete the nuclear enrichment project.
On 12 October 2013, via Fars News Agency, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi stressed, “For ten years we have been insisting on this issue that suspending enrichment is impossible.”
Fars News Agency, reported on 18 December 2013 that Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stressed, “The structure of our nuclear program has been saved and 20% enrichment could be restarted within 24 hours.”
In a 24 January 2014 interview with CNN, President Rouhani said, “Under no circumstances will Tehran destroy any of its centrifuges.” And on the Tabnak website on 15 January 2014 he said that Iran was not willing to back down from its supposed legal right to nuclear technology.
On Al Jazeera TV on 17 February 2014 the Chair of Iran’s Nuclear Agency, Ali Akbar Salehi made similar remarks: “Uranium enrichment is our right. The percentage and method of enrichment is also our right. The nuclear fuel cycle is our right and we will not back down from it; therefore they must be certain that enrichment will continue. Nuclear sites will continue and our activities inside the Arak site will also continue.”
In the Islamic Republic Newspaper on 19 February 2014, Abbas Araqchi suggested that Iran had no real plans to comply with the demands of a nuclear agreement. “What has been announced as the dismantlement of Iran’s nuclear program and facilities is in our view not on the agenda,” he said. “Halting Iran’s nuclear program has neither begun nor will begin in the future.”
This refusal to comply also applies to the issue of international sanctions. Reuters News Agency, on 12 May 2014, reported on a new classified report by UN experts, which pointed out some of the Iranian regime’s methods of curbing sanctions, including hiding titanium casings within metal tubes and using the petrochemical industry as a cover for acquiring items for the heavy water nuclear reactor.