June 14, 2014 16:25 UTC

UANI Fact Sheet: 1-Year Anniversary of Hassan Rouhani's Election as President of Iran

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- One year ago today on June 14, 2013 Hassan Rouhani was elected President of Iran. During his campaign Rouhani pledged to follow a "path of moderation" in both domestic and foreign policy affairs. After one year in office however it is clear that Rouhani has not matched his words with substantive reform or change. In fact the regime's policies remain largely unchanged from the days of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's presidency.

For example, the nuclear program continues to advance, Iran's military intervention to uphold the Assad regime in Syria goes on unabated, and the human rights situation in Iran has deteriorated with a new wave of repression and executions.

The following UANI resources analyze Rouhani's intentions and behavior and assess his record since his election one year ago.

Rouhani: No Moderate

Resource: "Rouhani: The Ultimate Regime Insider"

  • Some have inaccurately tagged Rouhani as a "reformist" and "moderate." On the contrary, he has been more correctly described as the "ultimate regime insider," who "has never been out of power or [Supreme Leader Ayatollah] Khamenei's good graces."
  • Rouhani has asserted a commitment to constructive negotiations to resolve concerns over Iran's illicit nuclear program. His track record suggests otherwise. Between 2003 and 2005, Rouhani served as Iran's chief nuclear negotiator. Some pundits and analysts highlight this period as evidence of Rouhani's "moderate" character. Rouhani's actions and statements in Iran convey a much different story.
  • For example, in a seminal speech delivered in 2004 to the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council, Rouhani boasted of the progress Iran made in its nuclear portfolio under his stewardship, including during Iran's temporary suspension of enrichment activities.
  • Rouhani's statements that "We have never chosen deceit as a path. We have never chosen secrecy... We have acted transparently," is directly contradicted by his 2004 speech. In response to domestic criticisms that Iran's nuclear activities should have been kept secret, Rouhani bluntly said, "This was the intention; this never was supposed to be in the open. But in any case, the spies exposed it. We did not want to declare all this."
  • Given Rouhani's history of deception in advancing Iran's nuclear program during periods of negotiation and even suspension, his professed commitment to constructive nuclear talks must be viewed with great skepticism.

Rouhani's Record

Resources: "Rouhani's Record in Office", "Rouhani Accountability Tracker"

Nuclear Program

  • Under Rouhani, Iran continues to develop its nuclear program, hold a hard line in negotiations, and stonewall nuclear inspectors.
  • The major stumbling block to reach a final nuclear pact is Iran's refusal to reduce the size of its industrial-scale enrichment program. In a January interview Rouhani said, "In the context of R&D and peaceful nuclear technology, we will not accept any limitations... Not under any circumstances" would Iran destroy any of its existing centrifuges.
  • Iran's nuclear chief added that the country requires 50,000 centrifuges for its fuel needs. This is 30,000 more centrifuges than Iran currently possesses and much more than the few thousand limit sought by the international community in a final nuclear deal.
  • The IAEA "is no nearer to closing the books on... allegations that Iran worked on nuclear arms in the past," as Iran has still yet "to go into deeper explanations of its work on detonators that have a variety of uses, including sparking a nuclear explosion."

Human Rights

  • Since Rouhani assumed office, there have been at least 680 executions, leading the rate of executions in Iran to spike, to an average of more than two per day.
  • A UN report on human rights in Iran states that the human rights situation has not improved under Rouhani: "The new administration has not made any significant improvement in the promotion and protection of freedom of expression and opinion... There have been no improvements in the situation of religious and ethnic minorities, which continue to suffer severe restrictions in the enjoyment of their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights."
  • Rouhani has not fulfilled his promise to ease Internet restrictions, with Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube remaining blocked for Iranian citizens. In May, six young men and women were arrested and detained in Tehran for posting a tribute video to Pharrell Williams' hit song, "Happy," on YouTube.
  • The life of former presidential candidate and opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi "is now being endangered by his continued detention," as he was "taken to hospital...for urgent heart complications." Rouhani had pledged to free Reformist leaders Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.

Syria Conflict

  • In a meeting with the Syrian Prime Minister following his inauguration, Rouhani vowed that relations between Iran and Syria "will not be shaken by any force in the world."
  • Iran has stepped up support on the ground for President Bashar al-Assad, "providing elite teams to gather intelligence and train troops."
  • The U.S. Treasury Department revealed that in a perverse double-game, Iran has aided al- Qaeda, by allowing it to facilitate the movement of fighters into Syria. This is part of Iran's strategy to transform what started as an anti-government uprising against Assad into a full-blown sectarian civil war.

Rouhani's Rhetoric

Resource: "Rouhani: In His Own Words"

  • "Do you know what the Geneva agreement means? It means the surrender of the big powers before the great Iranian nation. The Geneva agreement means the wall of sanctions has broken... It means an admission by the world of Iran's peaceful nuclear program."
  • "One hundred per cent [no]" that Iran will dismantle any of its nuclear facilities.
  • "No matter what interpretations are given, Iran's right to enrichment has been recognized."

Click here to view UANI's report, "Rouhani: The Ultimate Regime Insider."

Click here to view UANI's report, "Rouhani's Record in Office."

Click here to view the UANI's "Rouhani Accountability Tracker."

Click here to view UANI's report, "Rouhani: In His Own Words."


David Ibsen, 212-554-3296

Source: UANI