Rouhani officially sworn in as Iran’s new president amidst calls by Shia leaders to destroy Israel. Obama resisting House & Senate moves to get tougher with Iran.

Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei officially endorsing cleric Hassan Rohani, August 3, 2013. (Photo: AFP/Haaretz)

Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei officially endorsing cleric Hassan Rohani, August 3, 2013. (Photo: AFP/Haaretz)

>> “Late Saturday, Rouhani met with North Korean politician Kim Yong Nam, the new Iranian president’s first meeting with a foreign official.” (VOA)

>> Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to arrive in Israel on Sunday to discuss Iran and Syrian threats. “Dempsey will also address the issue of a possible Israeli strike in Iran in wake of recent statements on the subject made by Netanyahu in an interview with CBS. “Iran is inching closer and closer to the bomb,” Netanyahu said. “I won’t wait until it’s too late.” (Ynet)

(Denver, Colorado) — An historic weekend is underway in Iran. The big question is: Where will it lead, to peace, or to war?

On Sunday, Hassan Rouhani, 64, stepped before the parliament in Tehran and was formally sworn into office as Iran’s 7th President on live television.

“In the presence of the holy Koran and before the nation, I swear to the omnipotent God to safeguard the official religion of the country and the Islamic Republic as well as the country’s constitution,” Rouhani said.

On Saturday, Rouhani received the full endorsement of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the nation’s so-called “Supreme Leader,” amidst calls by top Iranian and Shia leaders to destroy the State of Israel. Khamenei praised the “selection of a worthy individual who has more than three decades of service to the system of the Islamic Republic…and who from the time of the revolutionary struggle…has resisted the enemies of the Islamic Revolution,” Reuters reported.

Outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad left office predicting the complete destruction of Israel was increasingly close at hand.  “I swear to God that a ferocious storm is coming and it will uproot the Zionist entity,” Ahmadinejad declared on Friday, which was “Quds Day,” the day Muslims mark each year in opposition to Israel and the Jewish people controlling Jerusalem and vowing to reclaim Jerusalem and all of “Palestine” for Islam.

Also speaking on Friday, Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah — a key agent of Iran — also called for the destruction of Israel. “The elimination of Israel is not only a Palestinian interest,” said Nasrallah. “It is the interest of the entire Muslim world and the entire Arab world.” The Hezbollah leader also said Israel is a “cancer” in the region and declared that “the only solution is to destroy it without giving it the opportunity to surrender.”

On Friday, it appeared that Rouhani was joining into this chorus of calls for the destruction of Israel. The Iranian news agency, ISNA, quoted Rouhani as saying: “The Zionist regime is a wound that has sat on the body of the Muslim world for years and needs to be removed.” However, according to the Jerusalem Post, “ISNA later retracted the report, saying some domestic news agencies ‘including ISNA, had presented Mr Rouhani as saying the Zionist regime is a wound on the body of the Muslim world that needs to be removed, and this was corrected.'” The quote was later corrected to: “After all, in our region, there’s been a wound for years on the body of the Muslim world under the shadow of the occupation of the holy land of Palestine and the beloved [city of] al-Quds,” reported Haaretz.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu warned that while the face of the Iranian regime has changed, the objectives has not, and hinted that Israel was fully prepared to take military action if necessary to prevent Iran from acquiring and deploying nuclear weapons. “Rouhani’s true face has been revealed earlier than expected,” Netanyahu said. “Even if they will now rush to deny his remarks, this is what the man thinks and this is the plan of the Iranian regime. These remarks by President Rouhani must rouse the world from the illusion that part of it has been caught up in since the Iranian elections. The President there has changed but the goal of the regime has not: To achieve nuclear weapons in order to threaten Israel, the Middle East and the peace and security of the entire world. A country that threatens the destruction of the State of Israel must not be allowed to possess weapons of mass destruction.”

Most Congressional leaders agree with Netanyahu. Thus, the U.S. House of Representatives last week passed a bill 400 to 20 imposing even tougher new economic sanctions on Iran, specifically in an attempt to cripple Iran’s oil industry and in turn persuade officials in Tehran to give up their nuclear ambitions. However, the Obama administration is resisting such new measures, hoping that they can instead engage Rouhani as a “moderate” and achieve diplomatic success through nuclear negotiations.

Most Senate leaders agree with Netanyahu, as well. “In a letter to President Barack Obama, 76 senators are demanding tougher punishment on Iran’s economy until the Islamic republic scales back its nuclear program,” reports the Associated Press. “It also urges Obama to consider military options while keeping the door open to diplomacy. The Senate letter, a copy of which was obtained Saturday by The Associated Press, comes just days after the House overwhelmingly passed new restrictions on Iran’s oil sector and its mining and construction industries. Senators are expected to take up the same package in September. ‘Until we see a significant slowdown of Iran’s nuclear activities, we believe our nation must toughen sanctions and reinforce the credibility of our option to use military force at the same time as we fully explore a diplomatic solution to our dispute with Iran,’ says the letter, which will be delivered Monday.”

However, the AP notes that “the Obama administration is concerned Congress’ effort could undercut Iran’s relatively moderate President-elect Hasan Rouhani….Rouhani has pledged to follow a ‘path of moderation”‘ and promised greater openness over Iran’s nuclear program. Obama wants to give Rouhani a chance to prove his seriousness.”

On Saturday, Rouhani, a trained Shia Islamic cleric, vowed to pursue “moderation” during an endorsement ceremony that was televised live in Iran, and was attended by presidents, prime ministers, and leaders from all over the world.

“The orientation of the government is Iran’s economic salvation, constructive interaction with the world, and a restoration of morality,” Rouhani said today during a brief speech. “The minimum expectation of people from the new government is to create stability in all fields and eliminate the concerns and limitations that the country is facing,” Rouhani said. “Moderation does not mean deviating from principles and it is not conservatism in the face of change and development. Moderation … is an active and patient approach in society in order to be distant from the abyss of extremism.”

Much of the Western press is describing Rouhani today as a “moderate.” But as I have noted in the past, nothing could be further from the truth. Rouhani is no moderate. He is a disciple of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the late fanatical tyrant of Tehran. He was a senior national security advisor to Khomeini during the brutal war with Iraq that left a million people dead. He served as a top national security advisor to the regime in the 1990s, as well. He was Iran’s nuclear negotiator from 2003 to 2005 and is both a loyal defender of Iran’s nuclear program and a shrewd and experienced diplomat.

Consider the following:

  1. Rouhani’s son committed suicide, “ashamed” of father’s Radicalism.
  2. Rouhani was endorsed by the only Iranian leader ever to publicly call for Israel to be destroyed by nuclear weapons.
  3. Rouhani has ruled out any halt to uranium enrichment program
  4. Rouhani “chaired Iran’s National Security Council between 1989 and 2005, meaning he was at the top table when Iran masterminded the 1994 bombing of the Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires, killing 85 people, and of the Khobar Towers in 1996, killing 19 U.S. airmen,” noted a column in the Wall Street Journal. Rouhani “would also have been intimately familiar with the secret construction of Iran’s illicit nuclear facilities in Arak, Natanz and Isfahan, which weren’t publicly exposed until 2002. Rouhani also called on the regime’s basij militia to suppress the student protests of July 1999 ‘mercilessly and monumentally.’ More than a dozen students were killed in those protests, more than 1,000 were arrested, hundreds were tortured, and 70 simply ‘disappeared.’”
  5. Rohani once approved of hiding Iran atomic work — “Years before he became Iran’s president-elect, Hassan Rohani spoke approvingly about concealing his nation’s nuclear program and said that when Pakistan got atomic bombs and Brazil began enriching uranium, ‘the world started to work with them,’” reported Reuters. “The comments offer an intriguing window into the past thinking of Rohani, widely seen as a moderate or pragmatic conservative, whose surprise victory in weekend elections to succeed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was perceived by the United States and other Western powers as positive — at least at first glance.”
  6. Rouhani thanked the Mahdi, also known as the Twelfth Imam — the Shia Islamic so-called messiah — for his presidential victory.
  7. Rouhani is such a close ally of current Supreme Leader Khamenei, who remains hell-bent on building nuclear weapons, that the Netanyahu government is increasingly of the mind that it may have to take military action to stop Iran from getting The Bomb, and soon.
  8. Of the 686 Iranian candidates who registered to run for president, only 8 were allowed by Iranian officials  to actually run — Rouhani was one of them, evidence that he is considered a radical enough by Khamenei to represent the Supreme Leader’s own pro-terrorism, anti-Israel, anti-West, and End Times theological views.

On Thursday evening, August 8th, I will speak here in Denver on “The War Clouds Rising Between Israel & Iran.” How close is Iran to getting The Bomb? How close is Israel to launching a preemptive military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities? Does the White House have a plan to neutralize the Iranian threat before it’s too late? What does Bible prophecy say about the future of the Middle East with regards to Iran, as well as with regards to the military coup in Egypt and the horrific civil war underway in Syria? I will discuss these questions, discuss my latest novel — Damascus Countdown — and share some insights from the five weeks I recently spent in Israel, and discussions I had with several senior advisors to the Prime Minister. 

The occasion will be the annual fundraising event for Ministry Architecture, Inc., a ministry my parents (Len and Mary Rosenberg) started 13 years ago to provide architectural services for evangelical Christian ministries operating in developing countries who need orphanages, training centers, hospitals, and other facilities to show the love of Jesus. Before I speak, my folks will share about the exciting work God is doing through this ministry. Then I will share from the Scriptures and discuss the Middle East and take your questions. The event will take place at Calvary Chapel South Denver in Littleton, Colorado, from 7:30pm to 9:30pm. Doors will open at 6:30pm. A contribution of $25 per person is requested to help support Ministry Architecture. Contributions are tax deductible. Registration is required, and you can register at Please join us — I hope to see you there.