Iranian President Hassan Rouhani somewhat extended an olive branch to the West in The Washington Post. Its safe to assume his first draft had to be vetted by the Ayatollah, the Supreme Council and the Revolutionary Guards. After multiple drafts, we are left with a confusing, read behind the lines opinion piece.
Here is what Rouhani's first draft likely said:
"First and foremost, let me begin with a direct apology to my people and to the world for the wrongs committed by the Islamic Republic of Iran."
Since the 1979 revolution, we have taken an aggressive if not violent posture toward secularism in our own country and toward the values and ideals of the West. It is quite unfortunate that we ran over the American embassy in Tehran, captured 52 Americans and held them as hostages for 444 days. I hope this is water under the bridge.
We truly and sincerely feel terrible about all the political prisoners that have been executed and imprisoned by our regime in places like Evin Prison. I know you have read stories like Canada's Marina Nemat's Prisoner of Tehran in which she was taken from her family, imprisoned at the age of sixteen, raped, beaten and tortured and forced into marriage. You probably have also heard about murdered Canadian photo journalist Zhara Kazemi . We plan on releasing all political prisoners in the next few weeks.
We know that we have to improve our treatment of minorities. Our leaders have to break out of our nasty habit of issuing fatwas against minorities like the Bahai, who have lived here for hundreds of years. I will certainly have a discussion with the Ayatollah about his latest edict in this regard which warned Iranians to stay away from the Bahai.
It was unfortunate that we had to violently subdue the 2009-10 election protests, otherwise known as the Green Revolution in Iran. The people came out to the streets to protest the iron fist of the Ayatollah, yet they were shot and murdered in cold blood. The most shocking death was that of Neda Agha Soltan, alongside dozens of others.
As my election platform promised "prudence and hope" and "Iranians embraced my approach to domestic and international affairs", I came to the realization that perhaps we should rethink our approach to sponsoring international terrorism. We have been linked to the bombing of the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires through our financial backing of Hezbollah . Perhaps its time for us to compensate the 85 families who have lost a loved one on that terrible day.
And as we strive to enter the commonwealth of civilized nations, perhaps it is high time we rethink our policies of arming Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon and smuggling weapons to Hamas in Gaza, which poses a threat to Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.
Clearly, we cannot win the trust and support of the West and stop economic sanctions by threatening Israel to "wipe it off the map", host Holocaust denial conferences, while aggressively developing nuclear weapons. With this rhetoric in mind and our sponsorship of international terrorism, how can anyone believe our nuclear ambition is for peaceful means?
The majority of Iranians want peace and inclusion with the rest of the civilized world. They want to enjoy real freedom and democracy. They want to travel the world freely, develop markets, optimize our growth in high tech and medicine and build friendship and leadership. It is high time my government renounces violence, hate and intolerance and enters a framework of peaceful existence, both internally and externally.