And today a senior Iranian official called Israel a “cancer”

Ali Larijani

Yesterday I published an article in Al Monitor about a recent series of positive gestures between the Iranian and Israeli governments.

Today Iran’s parliamentary spokesman Ali Larijani got on the podium at the ceremony marking the new Tunisian constitution, and called Israel a “cancer”.

He also accused the US of trying to “sterilize” the Arab Spring revolutions”, thus causing a walkout by the US delegation.

Ali Larijani is supposed to be a moderate conservative. I expected this sort of behavior from Ahmadinejad, not him.

How does Mr Larijani expect the international community to behave towards the Iranian regime and the government after such behaviour at a ceremony in another country? What has Tunisia got to do with Israel?

With reference to the new positive signs emanating from Iran,  yesterday I wrote in my Al Monitor piece that:

Or it may be that we are about to see a new strategy, whereby to maintain domestic support among conservatives Khamenei continues with his attacks against Israel and his denial of the Holocaust. But the government, to improve Iran’s standing abroad, tries to subtly send messages of goodwill while recognizing the Holocaust.

Based on his statement today, it seems that Larijani wants to belong to Khamenei camp.
I understand that. In Iran much of the politics is based on domestic political interests. When it comes to domestic influence, this camp has the strongest power base. At the same time, when it comes to understanding the West, this camp is the weakest. And with Larijani’s behaviour today, it could be this camp that justifies the continuation of sanctions and the isolation of the regime to the point where its economy enters a free fall.
And if we needed a reminder why the Iranian regime must not be allowed to have nuclear weapons, then today Ali Larijani gave us another one.
The motto on top of Israel’s Ministry of Defense building should say:
“With Iranian politicians , we will succeed”.

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