Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s latest insult directed at U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama, came on June 3, 2016. The Associated Press reported that Khamenei ruled out “any official cooperation with the U.S. against the Islamic State, their common adversary in Iraq and Syria, insisting that Washington remains a prime enemy of Tehran, despite a landmark nuclear deal with the U.S. and five other world powers.” To further add insult to injury, the Iranian regime showed their contempt for Obama and his nuclear deal by conducting missile tests and airing footage of an underground missile base on Iranian state television.
Lawrence J. Haas (Senior Fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council) in a piece (April 12, 2016) written for U.S. News and World Report pointed out that “We’re witnessing a strange spectacle in U.S. foreign policy, one with no obvious precedent: President Barrack Obama is trying desperately to protect his cherished nuclear deal with Iran, making one concession after another in response to Iran’s post-deal demands to ensure Tehran does not walk away from it.” This is another example of Obama’s pandering to U.S. enemies, while being critical of its closest allies, i.e. Israel. Obama, for all intents and purposes, endorsed the European Union boycott of Israeli products from Judea and Samaria, thus conferring a degree of legitimacy to the BDS movement.
Lawrence Haas explained that the most recent concession involved Iran’s ballistic missile program and its access to the U.S. financial system. He argued that this is not merely rewriting the “previous consensus among government officials, diplomats, nuclear experts, and Iran-watchers in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East over how the deal would work. They are also serving to expand Iran’s military capability, strengthen its economy, and leave U.S. allies in the region feeling more abandoned.”
It should be noted as well that it is not only the further concessions the Obama administration has made toward Iran on the nuclear deal, but also Washington’s passive attitude toward Iran’s gross violation of human rights and continued worldwide support for terrorism. In another of his pieces in U.S. News and World Report, Lawrence Haas wrote (May 31, 2016) that Wendy Sherman, President Barack Obama’s lead negotiator on the Iran deal said recently “I can assure you that if Iran takes truly horrific terrorist action, or truly horrific human rights action, that people will respond.” Sherman’s comments, made on May 25, 2016 at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, came a day after “Stephen Mull, Obama’s lead coordinator on implementing the deal, acknowledged at a congressional hearing that Washington has not leveled any sanctions on Iran over its human rights violations since invoking the deal last summer, even as Tehran cracks down harder on its own people.”
According to the Amnesty International summary report on Iran in 2015/2016, The Islamic Republic of Iran “severely curtailed the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly by arresting and imprisoning journalists, human rights defenders, trade unionists and others who voiced dissent, on vague and overly broad charges. Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees remained common and was committed with impunity; prison conditions were harsh. Unfair trials continued, in some cases resulting in death sentences. Women and members of ethnic and religious minorities faced pervasive discrimination in law and in practice. The authorities carried out cruel punishments, including blinding, amputation and floggings. Courts imposed death sentences for a range of crimes; many prisoners, including at least four juvenile offenders, were executed.”
The Amnesty report went further to say that “Scores of juvenile offenders remained on death row. Several juvenile offenders were re-sentenced to death after receiving a retrial pursuant to the new juvenile sentencing guidelines of the 2013 Islamic Penal Code. Amnesty International was able to confirm the execution of at least three juvenile offenders: Javad Saberi, hanged on 15 April, Samad Zahabi, hanged on 5 October, and Fatemeh Salbehi, hanged on 13 October. Human rights groups reported that another juvenile offender, Vazir Amroddin, an Afghan national, was hanged in June or July. In February, the authorities transferred Saman Naseem, sentenced in 2013 for a crime that was committed when he was aged 17, to an undisclosed location prompting fears and wide international concern that he was about to be executed. He was subjected to enforced disappearance for five months; the authorities ultimately permitted him to phone his family in July, and confirmed to his lawyer that the Supreme Court had ordered his retrial in April. The Islamic Penal Code continued to provide for stoning as a method of execution; at least two stoning sentences were issued but no executions by stoning were reported during the year.”
Iran has taken truly “horrific actions in violating human rights,” but unlike Wendy Sherman’s assurances, the Obama administration has taken no action, nor sanctions against the Iranian regime.
Ms. Sherman gave similar assurances with regards to Iran committing “horrific terrorist actions.” Perhaps unbeknown to Ms. Sherman, Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism. The U.S. Department of State, in its 2015 report on terrorism by country, stated the following: “Designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism in 1984, Iran continued its terrorist-related activity in 2015, including support for Hezbollah, Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, and various groups in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. In 2015, Iran increased its assistance to Iraqi Shia terrorist groups, including Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH), which is a U.S. designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, as part of the effort to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and bolster the Assad regime in Syria. Iran used the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force (IRGC-QF) to implement foreign policy goals, provide cover for intelligence operations, and create instability in the Middle East. The IRGC-QF is Iran’s primary mechanism for cultivating and supporting terrorists abroad.”
Clearly, the killing of 470,000 Syrians, mostly civilians, and principally by the Assad regime and it’s support groups including Hezbollah, the Iranian IRGC-QF, and the Shiite terrorist groups armed and funded by Tehran, constitutes “horrific terrorist actions.” Iran was furthermore implicated for its support to violent Shia opposition group attacks in Bahrain. Iran was joined in these efforts by Hezbollah, which continued to operate globally, as demonstrated by the disruption of activities in Peru in 2014 and Cyprus in 2015. The Department of State reported as well on Iran’s violations of UN Security Council Resolutions 1701 and 1747 by the arming of Hezbollah with advanced long-range Iranian-manufactured missiles.
While the Obama administration continues to coddle the Iranian regime, the loud chants of “death to America” seem to accompany each concession made to Tehran. America can no longer afford to pour billions of dollars into the Islamic Republic’s coffers, nor can the U.S. allow Iran to further its nuclear ambitions, ignore its gross human rights violations, or overlook the Islamic Republic’s state sponsored terrorism. President Obama has given away too much to Iran, receiving virtually nothing in return. The next U.S. administration will have to make up for Obama’s more than seven years of miscalculations about Iran.