To the various puzzles America pores over has been added one more: Iran’s President elect, Hassan Rouhani. As an opening gambit, he is being described as “moderate”.

It is being speculated that he will be “moderate” on the nuclear issue even though he has deep roots in the country’s conservative establishment whose views on the issue are known and not liked.

Years ago, “moderation” in all discourse concerning West Asia had a distinct meaning. It was an adjectival expression approving of states which were willing to tow the Western line on the Israeli-Palestinian question. The antonym for moderate those days was “rejectionist”.