Iran’s leaders have a simple message for any administration unhappy about the nuclear deal negotiated by President Obama: Hands off.
The deal has faced no shortage of criticism from those who rightly point out its defects. Too bad, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says: There is “no possibility” of dismantling it.
According to Iran’s state television channel, Rouhani told his Cabinet that Tehran’s “understanding in the nuclear deal was that the accord was not concluded with one country or government but was approved by a resolution of the U.N. Security Council and there is no possibility that it can be changed by a single government.”
Adds Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, “Every U.S. president has to understand the realities of today’s world. The most important thing is that the future U.S. president stick to agreements, to engagements undertaken.”
Oh, really? Well, let’s not overlook a few other salient “realities of today’s world,” courtesy of Middle East expert James Phillips: the fact that Iran regularly violates international law by sponsoring terrorism, taking hostages, and harassing shipping in international waters.
Its leaders also flout U.N. Security Council resolutions by exporting arms to Palestinian terrorist groups, Hezbollah terrorists, Syrian militias, and Yemeni rebels.
They’ve also, Phillips notes, been caught trying to covertly buy illicit dual-use nuclear technology in Germany, which violates Iran’s commitments under the nuclear deal to obtain international approval for all nuclear purchases.
And they want to lecture U.S. leaders about the importance of sticking to your agreements? That’s rich.
What really bothers them, of course, is the fact that their days of out-negotiating and out-maneuvering President Obama are nearly over. “The administration made huge concessions that allowed Iran to dismantle international sanctions without dismantling key elements of its nuclear program, which continues to advance,” writes Phillips.
Small wonder that Obama structured this flawed and risky deal as an executive agreement. He wanted to make an end-run around Congress, which would likely have voted the deal down if it had been presented to lawmakers as a formal treaty.
The deal’s supporters touted it publicly as a way to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. Yet Tehran’s clandestine efforts to procure illicit nuclear and ballistic missile technology and equipment have continued unabated in its wake.
Worse, German intelligence indicates that the Iranians are also seeking items -- via front companies operating from the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and China -- that could be used to make illegal chemical and biological weapons.
Iran, moreover, has done nothing to curb its belligerence toward the United States. Indeed, it has stepped up its hostile actions. Writes Phillips:
“Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which controls Tehran’s nuclear program and ballistic missile force, has repeatedly challenged U.S. naval forces in the Persian Gulf since the nuclear agreement was reached last year.
“IRGC vessels launched rockets within 1,500 yards of the carrier Harry S. Truman near the Strait of Hormuz in late December, flew drones over U.S. warships, and detained and humiliated 10 American sailors in January.”
The thought of a new presidential administration putting an end to this slow-motion power grab in such a volatile region naturally upsets Iran’s theocratic dictatorship greatly. So they’re trying to pre-empt any actions by a new administration that could jeopardize their scheme.
Their warnings, however, should fall on deaf ears. There is nothing to prevent an incoming presidential administration from using Iran’s many violations as a justification to do away with the nuclear deal altogether.
Iran’s leaders are used to orchestrating chants of “Death to America!” Through the feckless actions of the Obama administration, they’ve been able to make nuclear advances that, they hope, will put some muscle behind those words. It’s high time the U.S. put a firm and immediate end to their dangerous plans.