You know our Iran policy is in deep trouble when the Obama administration issues effusive praise for a presidential election in which one of the handpicked candidate wins and promptly decides to test Iran’s “seriousness” with, you guessed it, more talks.
The Obama administration and its European allies — surprised and encouraged by Hassan Rohani’s election as Iran’s next president — intend to aggressively push to resume negotiations with Tehran on its nuclear program by August to test his new government’s positions, U.S. and European diplomats say. . . .
The diplomacy between Iran and global powers aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear work has been frozen since April. American and European officials said Sunday they believed Iran’s overall nuclear policy will remain tightly controlled by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The 73-year-old cleric has refused to authorize any concessions during the past four years of international talks that have involved Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, plus Germany.
If so (and Khamenei is certainly the sole supreme leader), why in the world would we think anything has changed?
From the beginning of his administration, President Obama has dispensed advisers to talk to Iran. In fact, the West has been talking to Iran for decades. It is not wishful thinking but self-delusion to think on the next visit we will suddenly have a “breakthrough.”
As others have explained over the past few days, the new president is no moderate and is entirely irrelevant. In his fantastical search for the Iranian “moderate,” Obama is not alone in his folly. But he should have the experience of every president who preceded him and found that there are no moderates, as we see them, with power since the 1979 revolution.
Sohrab Ahmari writes:
Mr. Rohani spent Iran’s revolutionary days as a close companion of the Ayatollah Khomeini and would go on to hold top posts during the Islamic Republic’s first two decades in power. For 16 years starting in 1989, Mr. Rohani served as secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council. During his tenure on the council, Mr. Rohani led the crackdown on a 1999 student uprising and helped the regime evade Western scrutiny of its nuclear-weapons program. . . .
Beyond Iran’s borders, Mr. Rohani has largely favored “resistance” and nuclear defiance. During the campaign, he boasted of how during his tenure as negotiator Iran didn’t suspend enrichment — on the contrary, “we completed the program.” And on Syria, expect Mr. Rohani to back the ruling establishment’s pro-Assad policy. “Syria has constantly been on the front line of fighting Zionism and this resistance must not be weakened,” he declared in January, according to the state-run Press TV.
Not all that moderate, huh?
After years of Bashar al-Assad’s tyrannical rule in Syria and months of his bloody suppression of his own people, the Obama administration was convinced Assad was still a “reformer,” so the effort to paint Rohani as the Iranian version of a Blue Dog Democrat should come as no surprise.
The only question remains is whether Iran is fooling Obama or whether Obama is and has been fooling the world.
Obama has insisted all options are on the table, but virtually no one who believes that the man who declared his presidency was the one to end Middle East wars and not begin them thinks he will act. So endless talks, empty rhetoric and useless sanctions fill the time until it is too late, until Iran has its nuclear weapons capability. (As an aside Obama has insisted the red line is the manufacture of a nuclear weapon, as opposed to attainment of a nuclear weapons capability, because we will know certainly when the bombs are about to roll off the assembly line. Anyone buy that?)
Israel surely must know this. It must decide when it must act, hopefully with the support of the United States (in intelligence, resupplies, etc.), but if need be, without. Putting faith in other powers to rescue the Jewish people is impossible for a state that rose from the ashes of the Holocaust, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said. Putting faith in Obama would be insane.