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Amb John Bolton: Rowhani With Long Record of Deceit, Deception, and Delay

Amb John Bolton -  –Convention for Democracy in Iran, Villepinte, Paris, France

Convention for Democracy in Iran, Paris, June 22, 2013 - Thank you, thank you very much.  It's a great pleasure to be here with you today.  I want to address the ongoing question of the Iranian nuclear weapons program and the reaction in the West to the election of Hassan Rowhani as president. 

Unfortunately, many in the United States, including our administration and many in Western Europe, have interpreted Rowhani's election as indicating that there's a new chance to negotiate with the regime over the nuclear weapons program. 

This is false.  It's delusional.  It's dangerous.  And in fact, we know from Rowhani's own mouth that his experience as the regime's chief nuclear negotiator from 2003 to 2005, was a long record of deceit, deception and delay. 

And the circumstances that the regime faced then were critical because it had run into enormous technical difficulties at the Iranian conversion facility at Esfahan and further difficulties at uranium enrichment, and strategically the United States and its NATO allies had just overthrown the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and the United States and its coalition partners had just overthrown Saddam Hussein so that on both the eastern and the western borders the regime faced Western forces and it feared that the technical difficulties it faced and the political environment it lived in was inauspicious to say the least. 

So the regime came up with a device that it has used successfully for ten years, which is to dangle in front of the gullible West the idea that the regime would renounce nuclear weapons but would be allowed to continue its uranium enrichment programs. 

This has been a successful tool to negotiate with successive regimes in Europe and the United States. What the regime has done, what Rowhani confessed to in 2006 when he left the chief negotiator's job and what he repeated just a few weeks ago in the last debate in Iran was that their entire diplomatic strategy during his period as the chief negotiator was a ruse and that he had duped the Europeans and the Americans to get what a nuclear proliferators needs more than anything else, and that's time. 

Time to overcome the difficult scientific and technological challenges that stand in the would-be proliferator's way. 

We can predict with a near absolute certainty that with Rowhani as president, as he did from 2003 to 2005 by taking Khamenei's direction, more efforts will be made to induce the West to believe that the uranium enrichment program is being suspended.  Because now the regime wants to break the Western sanctions that have caused so much economic difficulty inside Iran but which have not slowed down the nuclear weapons program in the slightest. 

I think this is a time of maximum vulnerability for the West, for the people of Iran, for all of those who don't want this regime to have nuclear weapons.  If we fall for the same line that Rowhani peddled successfully ten years ago, we will find that the regime has nuclear weapons in very short order. 

The answer, of course, the only answer is that the policy of the West, and in particular the United States, has to be not to negotiate with Rowhani but to overthrow Rowhani.

The United States and others should provide tangible assistance to the Iranian opposition.  We should take care that the regime is not able to use it for its own propaganda purposes, but make no mistake the only long-term solution to the regime's effort to get nuclear weapons is to change the regime. 

We have the capability to do it.  Everybody in this room knows the regime is unpopular.  Now is the time not to bend to the regime, not to fall for their lies once again, but to adopt a policy of changing the regime in Tehran. 

Thank you very much.

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