Prosor: Rouhani cloaks himself as moderate, but Iranian radicalism remains

Israeli UN envoy hammers in J'lem's message not to ease up sanctions; Palestinian envoy bemoans Israeli settlement building.

By MAYA SHWAYDER IN NEW YORK
October 22, 2013 19:41
2 minute read.
Israel's Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor speaking to the UN Security Council, October 22, 2013.

Ron Prosor at the UN 370. (photo credit: Courtesy UN)

NEW YORK – Despite the UN’s persistent focus on the Palestinian question and the crisis in Syria, Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor told the UN Security Council on Tuesday morning that Iran’s nuclear program is still Israel’s priority, and should be the world’s priority.

“[Iranian] President [Hassan] Rouhani took center stage at the General Assembly last month, armed with his charm offensive,” Prosor said, echoing the warnings of other Israeli ministers and diplomats in the previous months.

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“Rouhani is trying to reinforce the image that he’s a moderate.... I have news for the president. Embracing Twitter doesn’t make you a reformer. Embracing human rights certainly would.”

Prosor compared Rouhani to “the emperor in new clothes, cloaking himself as a moderate when Iranian radicalism remains clear to the naked eye. While Rouhani provides diplomatic cover, Iran is marching towards a bomb. Since the June election, Iran has installed thousands of new centrifuges and just last month, the new president declared that Iran will not give up ‘one iota’ of its nuclear rights.”

Using the successful negotiations in Syria as an example, in which the threat of a US military strike spurred the parties to a diplomatic solution Prosor said, “You don’t need a PhD in physics to know that pressure works.

The Iranian economy is crumbling under the weight of crippling sanctions. And this pressure is getting results.

And yet some states have suggested easing the sanctions.... We must keep up the pressure until Iran agrees to play by the rules.”

Prosor went on to warn that a nuclear Iran would be a threat to the already shaky balance of power in the Middle East, with repercussions felt across the globe.

Iranian ambassador Mohammed Khazee, in his short remarks following Israel’s, spoke in his capacity as the head of the Non- Aligned Movement and did not address Israel's accusations about his country’s nuclear program. Instead, Khazee accused Israel of provocations and aggressions around the major in east Jerusalem mosques and of continued systematic aggression toward the Palestinians.

Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour took his opportunity to speak to accuse Israel of various incitements and aggressions toward the Palestinians since the relaunch of peace negotiations in July.

“Despite genuine efforts, tangible progress remains elusive, and hopes are diminishing,” Mansour said. “Since the resumption of negotiations, the Israeli government has approved over 3,000 settlement units and the confiscation of hundreds more dunams of Palestinian land.”

Prosor accused the Palestinian of similar actions, including citing the recently-discovered tunnel built by Hamas reaching into Israel.

Jeffrey Feltman, under secretary- general for political affairs, reiterated his call from his last briefing for both sides to “refrain from violence and incitement” and calling this moment an “emerging opportunity for diplomacy” between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

“We should do all we can to take advantage of the opening that now exists,” he concluded.


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