Iran’s “moderate” leadership issue is always evaded!

In this interview with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif for the ‘Asia Society’, American talk show host Charlie Rose asks him whether political moderates are in the ascendancy in Iran following the reelection of Hassan Rouhani as president, asking Zarif if he would describe Rouhani as a moderate in terms of Iranian politics.

Zarif replies, “I believe he has a platform, and that platform, as he tried to explain – the domestic agenda and global agenda – received the vote of the population.  He may… I mean, it wasn’t certain that he would win. He did. Next election, we will see. The people of Iran may…”

At this point, Rose interjects, saying, “I’m asking about the trend. Where is Iran going? That’s my question.”

Zarif responds, “It depends.  I mean… I’m asking you about the trend here in the United States: you vote Republican, you vote Democrat, you vote Trump – it depends.”

Rose again interjects to say, “Well, we have the Foreign Minister here [Zarif], who knows the players. And we’re asking you, here at the Asia Society, to give us an insight as to where things are going.”

Zarif replies jokingly, “I don’t have a crystal ball.  I know the players – you know the players in the U.S.; if I ask you who will win the next presidential election in the U.S., can you tell me who will win 1990, I mean 2018, congressional race? Can you tell me?  I can’t tell you. I mean, we…we… our societies are not that different. We have the same process.  Maybe President Trump likes to think of Iran as a dictatorship – and it’s interesting that all his allies have never seen a ballot box in their country, yet he calls Iran a dictatorship – so be that as it may, all this is a process. I don’t know what will happen in Iran. And I will say – what is important, Charlie, is that we derive our legitimacy and our power from our people; unlike your friends in the region, we do not derive our legitimacy from the beautiful military equipment we get from the United States.”

Zarif then smirks with Charlie Rose falling silent and the audience applauding, before the screen fades to black.  It should be noted that Tehran’s Lebanese proxy militia Hezbollah is currently using US armored personnel carriers, although there has been no mention of their beauty.