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Iran Is Our Enemy—and Rubs Our Noses in It at Every Opportunity
Dear Friend of FLAME:
In October 2012, President Obama in a Presidential Debate referring to nuclear negotiations with Iran forcefully promised that "the deal we'll accept is that they end their nuclear program."
Fast forward to April 2015, when U.S. Secretary of State happily announced an agreement with Iran, in which the Islamic Republic does not end their nuclear program, but continues it, somewhat more slowly, over the next ten years. At that time, assuming Iran were to follow the agreement to the letter---which is extremely doubtful---it would still be a nuclear threshold state, still a deadly threat to the United States, Europe and the Middle East, especially Israel.
What's worse, just following Mr. Kerry's announcement, Iran issued its own statement outlining terms it had agreed to---which largely conflicted with Mr. Kerry's representations. After a year of intense negotiating, with many deadlines missed, this is a real problem.
Indeed, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif boasted that under the agreement Iran does not have to close down a single nuclear facility, it will continue to engage in uranium enrichment, and it can keep pursuing nuclear research and development---anything but the end of their nuclear program.
In point of fact, given Iran's deceitful behavior regarding its past and current nuclear activities and its outright defiance of U.N. Security Council and International Atomic Energy Agency demands that it cease nuclear enrichment, Iran clearly cannot be trusted. No wonder, according to a recent NBC news survey, some 68% of Americans consider Iran unlikely to abide by any nuclear agreement.
But even if Iran does not cheat, President Obama himself admitted in an NPR interview that Iran could abide by the terms of the agreement and just wait 10 years for them to run out. "At that point, the breakout times [to nuclear weapons capability] would have shrunk almost down to zero," he said.
Mr. President, if your goal is to stop Iran, why on earth are you continuing to pursue this losing agreement?
You'll find the answer to this question in this week's FLAME Hotline featured article---by political commentator and military historian Max Boot. Boot notes particularly the arrogance of the Iranians, who are gloating over their negotiating victory, and the reluctance of the U.S. to resist or even protest ongoing Iranian aggression in the Middle East.
I think you'll find Mr. Boot's short, but forceful analysis (below) useful when you discuss the Iran deal with friends, family and colleagues. It's critical we change the discussion away from what superficial changes are needed in the deal to why Congress needs to reject this deal.
Thanks for your support of FLAME and of Israel!
By Max Boot, Commentary, April 29,2015
Item #1: On Tuesday, Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps gunboats seized the Maersk Tigris, a Danish-owned, Marshall Islands registered container ship that was peaceably transiting an international maritime route through the Straits of Hormuz. The ship is now being held by Iran along with its crew members.
Item #2: On Wednesday in New York Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif gave a "blustery and self-righteous" series of remarks which made it seem as if a nuclear agreement is a done deal-on Iran's terms. Obama "will have to stop implementing all the sanctions, economic and financial sanctions that have been executive order and congressional. However he does it, that's his problem," Zarif said, adding that a UN resolution endorsing the agreement would have to be endorsed by the U.S., "whether Senator Cotton likes it or not."
Oh and Zarif made clear that the lifting of sanctions would occur within weeks of the agreement being signed (contrary to White House claims that sanctions relief would be phased), while also mocking Obama's claims that sanctions could "snap back" in the event of Iranian violations: "If people are worrying about snapback, they should be worrying about the U.S. violating its obligations and us snapping back," he said. "That is a point that the United States should be seriously concerned about. This is not a game."
What's the connection between these two seemingly unrelated events? Both, I submit, are evidence of Iranian arrogance. The kind of arrogance that Iran exhibits by hijacking a ship registered to an American protectorate and then by lecturing American leaders that they will have to abide by Iran's terms for a nuclear deal-or else.
This is not the way Iran would talk or act if it feared the United States. But plainly it doesn't. And why should it? Obama has made clear, repeatedly and emphatically, that he is desperate for a nuclear agreement because the alternative to such an agreement is war-and there is no worse option than that in the president's mind. So desperate for an agreement, in fact, that the president is willing to overlook Iranian aggression in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen-and even to overlook Iran's jailing of three American citizens and its seizure of a ship belonging to allies that we are pledged to defend.
It is indicative of where we stand that there has been nary a peep of protest about the hijacking of the Maersk Tigris. The Pentagon even leaked word that the U.S. is not legally obligated to protect the Maersk Tigris, as if the U.S. cannot act to protect its moral and strategic interests even if not compelled to do so under the terms of some piece of paper. From the White House: "The White House said on Wednesday it was concerned about the impact on navigation caused by Iranian authorities' seizure of the Maersk Tigris container ship in the Strait of Hormuz and said it was monitoring the situation." Translation: "Ship, what ship? Who cares? The only thing that matters is the nuclear accord." (Compare this anodyne language, incidentally, with the harsh invective directed at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for infelicitous campaign rhetoric.)
And yet the very reason why Iran is able to drive such an advantageous bargain-the reason why it has hijacked the negotiations to legitimate its illegal nuclear program-is precisely because the U.S. has spent years turning the other cheek at Iranian aggression. This is not exclusively a problem of the Obama administration-the Reagan administration, after all, traded arms for hostages and did not retaliate for the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks and embassy in Beirut, while the George W. Bush administration did nothing to punish Iran for killing hundreds of American troops in Iraq with its advanced munitions.
But the problem has become much more pronounced under the Obama administration, which sees détente with Iran as its lasting legacy. That's why Iran's foreign minister feels free to come to New York and act like a haughty master of the universe, knowing there will not be even a peep of protest from this thoroughly intimidated administration.
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