Op-Ed

In dealing with Iran, hope is not a strategy

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In a recent interview with Thomson Reuters, Secretary John Kerry predictably and enthusiastically

In a recent interview with Thomson Reuters, Secretary John Kerry predictably and enthusiastically defended the Iran nuclear agreement under the pretense there is no other alternative. Not surprisingly, he mouths the administrations false narrative that there is no other alternative.

Beneath President Obama’s outrageous claim that those who oppose the deal are actually voting for war lies a pattern of self-deception and false hope. During the interview Kerry expresses empathy with Iran’s self-serving assertion that they are but a victim of U.S. foreign policy decisions.

He observed: “I can’t tell you how distrustful and how distrusting and suspicious the Ayatollah is of the West.” Kerry later adds, as if we should send bouquets of gratitude to Tehran, “Now, despite all that distrust they stayed at the table.” It is good to know that languishing beneath the inherent brutality and repression of this regime rests a spirit of generosity that lead to this agreement.
This month marks the 27th anniversary of what Amnesty International has called the “prison massacre” in Iran. Tens of thousands of political prisoners were arbitrarily executed in the span of a few months in 1988 in what has become one of the worst post-World War II instances of crimes against humanity. Yet, instead of seeing the real victims of the Iranian regime, Washington finds itself keenly in tune with the ayatollahs’ “grievances.”

America’s excessively conciliatory position toward such a brutal regime is perhaps the deal’s most remarkable feature. Herein lies the source of the chain of material concessions so candidly peering through the 159-page agreement.

But, it is not only an accommodating attitude toward the regime that defines the essence of the pact; it is also a false hope, giving us a hint that the U.S. was basically swindled.

Kerry seems to suggest that the agreement was in essence based on the religious decree of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. An agreement of this magnitude is built on trusting the word of a mass murderer. In Kerry’s words, Khamenei “issued a fatwa … declaring that no one should ever pursue [a nuclear weapon] in Iran. … And we effectively said to them, let’s take the fatwa and codify it into a policy, into an agreement.” Never mind that the said fatwa has never been revealed and there is no official text of it in existence. Even if it were true, Khamenei could easily retract it at a later date, citing “Islamic” state security interests. Kerry’s hope is based on the ayatollah’s fatwa. Think about that foundation for trust.

The agreement is also built on a rather farcical obsession with the Iran’s mythical ability to “change” their behavior. “We want this partly because we believe it is a step towards brining Iran into some kind of compliance, ultimately, with the norms of international behavior,” Kerry said in an interview. If the regime’s treatment of its own citizens is any indication, that is not going to happen. Some 2,000 have been executed since Hassan Rouhani took office two years ago.

He said, ‘it is hard for me to figure out how Persian Shia will exercise hegemony over Arab Sunni who are 90 percent of that world.” Perhaps the secretary should reassess the Iranian influence in Bagdad, Damascus, Beirut, Sana’a and other capitals in the region. President Obama claimed his goal was to make Iran a regional power. They succeeded without his help while operating under existing sanctions.

Just imagine their reach and influence after we resuscitate their energy sector, facilitate billions in foreign direct investment, and provide a signing bonus of over $100 billion. Iran knows that sanctions will never “snap back” and have begun to act accordingly.

It is no wonder that a few short weeks after the announcement of such an obviously flawed nuclear accord, the Iranian regime’s highest commander of terrorist operations – General Qassem Soleimani – freely travels to Moscow for talks with the Russians, despite a UN travel ban.

And Kerry’s negotiating partner, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, enthusiastically traveled to Syria to shake hands with another mass murderer in hopes of reinvigorating the regime’s regional designs.

Kerry promised our regional partners that “we’re going to stand up against that bad behavior.” Sadly, most view that promise as empty rhetoric. The U.S. didn’t act against aggression within Ukraine. The U.S. ignored the Persian Spring in 2009 and the regime’s violent response. The use of chemical weapons by Assad was ignored. Killing American Marines and soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan is the worst behavior imaginable and the U.S. did nothing, failed to act

So what do you think the ultimate outcome for all this political posturing will be? A regime that fully complies with the deal? Or one that leverages a windfall of cash and oil revenues to prove once again, that hope is not a strategy.

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