The Israeli media labeled Iranian President Hassan Rouhani as person of the year in Middle-East diplomacy, who changed the international conversation on Iran and beat Tel Aviv, specially Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on the international scene.
There is no one who emerged in 2013 as a more important player on the Iranian issue than Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, Jerusalem Post said.
Rouhani, though long an important actor on the Iranian scene, was relatively unknown to the Israeli public until he emerged as the victor in Iran’s June elections. But once he won those elections and embarked on his charm offensive, particularly with his trip to the United Nations in September, he significantly changed the discussion on Iran.
Smiling, speaking in mild tones, appearing cuddly and avuncular Rouhani was quickly labeled a “moderate” by the media, a label that contrasted with the “hard-line” tag the mainstream media frequently affixes to Netanyahu’s name.
Iran seemingly overnight became a partner to be engaged.
And engaged it was. Engaged to the point where the world powers – the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany – agreed to relieve sanctions it took years to build up in return for an Iranian agreement on nuclear program. And in the process Rouhani drove a wedge between Israel and the US over Iran policy, and succeeded in getting Netanyahu who shouted against the agreement from every rooftop cast in the role of naysayer, warmonger, and perpetual party pooper.
Rouhani is 2013’s person of the year in diplomacy because he fundamentally altered the international conversation on Iran.