Iranian President-elect Hassan Rouhani appeared set to revamp the country’s censorship rules this week in a speech to clergy delivered in Tehran.
Due to be sworn in on August 3 – if the election results are “ratified” by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – Rouhani told his fellow clergy on Monday a strong government does not “limit the lives of the people.”
The new Iranian leader earlier had posted on the Twitter social networking site that Internet filtering in the country had been ineffective. “Which important piece of news has filtering been able to black out in recent years?” he tweeted. In his speech, which was televised, he took the point even further.
“We need a strong society, a strong government. Today, the ground has been prepared for popular participation. The people have pinned their hopes on the future. A strong government does not mean a government that interferes and intervenes in all affairs. It is not a government that limits the lives of people. This is not a strong government,” he said.
But Rouhani's moderate talk has not persuaded Israeli officials that he is any more peaceful, or lenient than his predecessor.
A former head of Israel's Mossad espionage outlet in Iran, Eliezer Tzafrir (“Geizi”), says Iran's new president is more dangerous to Israel than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, precisely because of his "moderate" politics.
Tzafrir, who also served as the prime minister's Adviser on Arab Affairs, told Arutz Sheva in a recent interview that Rouhani's election is no more than an Iranian act of deception vis-a-vis the West. “They are taking us for a ride, as part of the Iranian deception of the entire world,” he said. “That way, they can buy more time and carry on with their nuclear project.”
Known internationally as a moderate as well, Rouhani was found by Argentine investigators to have served on the special Iranian government committee that plotted the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. At the time, he served at the time as secretary of the Supreme National Council, and as a member of the Council’s special operations committee that approved the attack.
The bombing is still considered to have been the deadliest terror attack in Argentina’s history, leaving 85 dead and hundreds wounded.