Hassan Rouhani’s election has opened the floodgates of nostalgics eager to remind the world that they know/knew him. Unfortunately, some of them are suffering from amnesia.
First, a reminder from Barbra Streisand:
Memories, may be beautiful and yet
What’s too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget
Over to former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, someone we’ve complemented in the past for his intellectual honesty. In his tribute to Rouhani’s success, he acknowledges the Iranian’s commitment to the nuclear program, the dangers inherent in a nuclear Iran, together with the potential opportunity at hand. Fair enough – and consistent with his past statements.
Now for Jack Straw, then British Foreign Minister and today ordinary MP. In this piece Straw expresses optimism for a “happy ending” to the process he helped initiate – thousands of centrifuges and tons of enriched uranium ago – and praises the “impressive flexibility” Rouhani demonstrated during negotiations leading to the 2003 “Tehran Agreement.” Just one problem: Rouhani has admitted, on several occasions, that he exploited that agreement (and others) to move Iran’s nuclear program forward. Not clear what Straw is so proud of here.
Straw’s proclamation looks tough in comparison with Javier Solana, another sidekick from bygone days, who places the entire onus on the international community in this, “the best chance for diplomatic progress in at least four years.” The sentiment is echoed by a then-relevant French diplomat.
Leave it to media creativity to somehow link this issue with developments in Egypt. Al-Monitor‘s Laura Rozen recently tweeted that Mohamed ElBaradei, possibly Cairo’s next foreign minister, had a “rapport” with Rouhani. Indeed – others might contend that the Egyptian intentionally turned a blind eye to Rouhani’s tactics.
What’s too painful to remember….