Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.
Months before the protests that are shaking the Islamic Republic of Iran began, President Trump stood before the entire world at the United Nations and boldly declared that the terror regime would fall.
“The good people of Iran want change, and, other than the vast military power of the United States, that Iran’s people are what their leaders fear the most,” he correctly predicted.
As another day of protests begins, as the Islamist thugs of the IRGC face a choice between an outraged populace and a failing regime, his words in that September speech ring truer than ever.
“The longest-suffering victims of Iran’s leaders are, in fact, its own people,” he pointed out.
“Oppressive regimes cannot endure forever, and the day will come when the Iranian people will face a choice. Will they continue down the path of poverty, bloodshed, and terror? Or will the Iranian people return to the nation’s proud roots as a center of civilization, culture, and wealth where their people can be happy and prosperous once again?” he challenged.
Iran’s Hassan Rouhani, the stalking horse that the Supreme Leader of the theological terror state trotted out to make it easier for Obama to sell his nuke sellout, fumed that Trump’s speech was “ignorant, absurd and hateful.” He whined that it was, “unfit to be heard in the UN.”
And he all but pleaded with Trump not to shut down the nuke deal that had funneled countless billions to the regime and its political elites.
Instead next month, President Trump decertified Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal and urged Congress to impose new sanctions. The IRGC, the regime’s international and domestic terror force, was hit with terror sanctions. The media and the Obama echo chamber behind the deal forecast disaster.
And so the wave of protests convulsing the terror state caught the media completely by surprise.
Pastor Saeed Abedini, a Christian political prisoner of the Shiite Islamist regime, called the protests, “an answer to President Trump’s speech at the United Nations.”
But the media had dismissed Trump’s remarks. It was still obsessed with Obama’s radioactive legacy. The massive effort by the Iran Lobby, by Ploughshares, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and by Obama had made protecting a totalitarian Islamist regime that repressed women and gays into a social justice cause. After the Iran Deal, mainstream media coverage of Iran began to closely echo that of the regime.
And so it was no wonder that when the protests began, CNN and other media outlets were caught reprinting regime propaganda. After Obama’s deal, the media had cut loose its opposition sources. Instead it cultivated regime sources who told the media exactly what it wanted to hear.
The deal was working. The regime was becoming more moderate. The economy was booming. Yemen was starving because of the Saudi attacks. Hezbollah could become moderate if we only reached out to it. The Iranian people were happy. Trump’s pressure would only unite Iranians against America.
Obama and his cronies had turned our media into Iran’s media. And when the protests began, the media quoted Iranian government sources while ignoring the protesters fighting and dying in the streets. Those shameful early days were the legacy of the echo chamber that Obama’s cronies had used to sell the deal.
The Iran echo chamber managed by Ben Rhodes, the Obama crony who had boasted of how easy it was to manipulate the media, was still hard at work creating a fictional Iran united against Trump.
“They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo. Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns,” he had sneered back then. “They literally know nothing.”
And for once in his miserable life, Ben Rhodes had told the truth. The media literally knew nothing. Even with Obama out of office, the talking point spouting hydra of news networks, explainer sites, cable talking heads and foreign policy magazines was still getting its reality from Obama’s failed fiction writer.
But their reality didn’t mesh with reality.
Trump’s crackdown on Iran wasn’t making it stronger. It was weakening it. And now the cracks are here.
Iran had used Obama’s reign to invest in an unprecedented expansion of its capabilities. From its nuclear program to its backing for Shiite terrorist militias across the region, it spent big to take advantage of America’s weakness. When Obama shut down sanctions, flew in billions personally and opened the door to even greater investments, those billions of dollars were reinvested into Iran’s imperial project.
Obama’s advisers had told him that Iran would use the cash infusion to relieve the economic pain of the sanctions. The regime would become more popular. And Obama would atone for our foreign policy. But instead Iran took the money and poured it into the pockets of its elites and its wars around the region.
Secretary of State John Kerry had admitted that some of the sanctions relief would finance terrorism. “I think that some of it will end up in the hands of the IRGC or other entities, some of which are labeled terrorists.” But that was an understatement. The IRGC controlled Iran’s economy. And the flow of cash was a unique opportunity to cut deals with certain foreign companies while expanding its influence.
And then Trump announced that the party was over.
Iran responded with deeper cuts to subsidies for the population. Subsidies, ubiquitous to the region, can cover food and fuel prices, and cash payments to individual households. Meanwhile there was plenty of money for the Islamic elites and for the IRGC. The latest cuts were the latest in a series of unpopular reductions associated with the Rouhani government.
Iran’s Supreme Leader had always meant to make Rouhani into the fall guy for the cuts. And then President Hillary Clinton would have been told that Iran might shift away from a fake moderate government if it didn’t see more money coming in to boost its economy. The echo chamber would have warned us that we had to inject more money into Iran or the nuclear deal would collapse.
The plan would have worked brilliantly. If only it hadn’t been for President Trump.
When President Trump made it clear that he didn’t care about salvaging the Iran Deal, the Supreme Leader lost the radioactive card that he had been playing so successfully against Obama.
Obama had colluded with Iran by dismantling the DEA investigation of Hezbollah’s narcoterrorism. He had spied on Israel and even on members of Congress to protect its nuclear weapons program. He allowed Iran to take over much of Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen. 500 Americans had been killed by Iranian weapons in Iraq and Afghanistan. But behind all of that appeasement was the specter of the deal.
If law enforcement were allowed to stop Islamic drug smugglers, Iran might not want to make a deal. If the United States responded with force to Iranian attacks, the deal might fall apart. If we pushed Iran too hard to release its hostages, it would walk away. And then there would be no deal.
And then Trump took away Iran’s biggest hostage. The author of the Art of the Deal threw it away.
Trump signaled that the sanctions were coming back and that the free ride was over. And that it was up to the Iranian people to decide if they wanted to live this way. And if they made the right decision, America would stand with them. It was only a matter of time until the protests reached critical mass.
The same con artists who sold us the Iran Deal are rehashing their old excuses for not backing the Green Movement. They’re urging Trump to follow in Obama’s footsteps and keep a low profile.
“How Can Trump Help Iran’s Protesters? Be Quiet,” is the title of an article tweeted out by Susan Rice. But President Trump isn’t taking her advice. Instead he’s standing up to the Iranian terrorist regime.
“The people are finally getting wise as to how their money and wealth is being stolen and squandered on terrorism. Looks like they will not take it any longer,” President Trump tweeted.
We “will not repeat the shameful mistake of our past when others stood by and ignored the heroic resistance of the Iranian people,” Vice President Pence vowed.
While the media is still grappling with events in Iran, President Trump continues to lead the way.
When Iranians last flooded into the streets, Obama chose their Islamic dictator over them. Trump is making it clear that this is not who we are. That’s who Obama, Rice, Rhodes and their cronies are.
In his rejection of Obama’s dirty deal, President Trump laid out the real history of Iran.
“Iran is under the control of a fanatical regime that seized power in 1979 and forced a proud people to submit to its extremist rule,” President Trump declared. “The regime violently suppresses its own citizens; it shot unarmed student protestors in the street during the Green Revolution.”
And now that’s happening all over again.
Carter and Obama sold out the Iranian people to the terrorist theocracy ruling over them. Trump won’t.