The Zarif Mask Falls...Whitewash fades.
Sohrab Ahmari Commentary May 30, 2018
Anadolu Agency/Pool via AP
Javad Zarif was recently caught on video chanting “Death to America!” and “Death to Britain!” and “Death to Israel!” at a rally in Tehran. That should come as no surprise to Americans who understand the nature of the Iranian regime, its history, and the anti-Western animus that pulsates at its heart. Yet numerous American political and media figures have spent years promoting Zarif as something other than what he is: a pure product of Khomeini’s hateful revolution.
Here’s the footage in question. Watch it—and re-watch it—as you join me on a guided tour of Zarif hagiography, courtesy of the American prestige press.
Fareed Zakaria, speaking at the Council of Foreign Relations, Sept. 23, 2016:
My guest needs no introduction. He has a favorability rating in Iran which has declined now to 75 percent. (Laughter.) I don’t think it’s quite that high in the United States. (Laughter.) But Mohammed Javad Zarif is the foreign minister of Iran. He was ambassador to the U.N. He’s a career diplomat. He is also an academic with a Ph.D. I think fair to say that he is the most distinguished diplomat Iran has had for many decades, and we have all seen him as he spearheaded Iran’s negotiations for the nuclear deal.
Robin Wright, writing in Time magazine, Oct. 28, 2016:
Zarif has . . . built a following in Washington. ‘He doesn’t play games,’ says Senate Select Committee on Intelligence chair Dianne Feinstein. . . . [H]e has also been lauded by the likes of Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Chuck Hagel when they were in the Senate. And he earned a University of Denver doctorate under the same professors who taught Condoleezza Rice.
Carol Morello, writing in the Washington Post, July 3, 2015:
Despite their differences in style and world outlook, John [Kerry] and Javad—as they call each other—have managed to form a working relationship based on respect over the course of the Iran nuclear talks—a striking outcome for two men representing countries with decades of deep and sometimes bloody enmity, at odds on almost every world issue.
Suzanne Maloney, writing at the website of the Brookings Institution, Sept. 5, 2013:
Zarif’s spot at the helm of the nuclear negotiating team is sure to draw the same sort of cheers that greeted his nomination as Foreign Minister last month. During his tenure as Iran’s representative to the United Nations in New York, Zarif established a reputation as a thoughtful and reasoned spokesman. . . . Zarif is an extraordinarily talented diplomat. . . . Zarif became well-known to many in Washington during his five-year stint in New York. He regularly organized small dinners for academic experts and Washington analysts, including some of the most senior officials in the Obama Administration.
I could go on and on. Will this latest footage finally shatter the liberal foreign-policy establishment’s illusion of Javad Zarif the moderate? Don’t count on it.