The Mullahs Say Thanks
Review & Outlook
The Wall Street Journal
October 12, 2015
President Obama and his
foreign-policy admirers—a dwindling lot—hoped that the nuclear deal would
make Iran more open to cooperation in the Middle East and with the U.S. Mark
this down as another case in which the world is disappointing the American
Iran’s judiciary on Monday
announced thatJason Rezaian, the Washington Post’s Tehran correspondent,
has been convicted. He was on trial for “espionage.” Security forces
arrested Mr. Rezaian and his wife, journalist Yeganeh Salehi, in July
2014. Ms. Salehi was later released, but the regime has held Mr. Rezaian “in a
black hole for 14 months,” as his brother, Ali, told us. Mr. Rezaian,
a U.S. citizen, has been denied even the basic rights the regime sometimes
affords political prisoners, including bail and phone calls.
The timing of the conviction
won’t escape students of history. Friday was the 444th day of his captivity.
That was the number of days U.S. diplomats in Iran spent as hostages following
the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Mr. Rezaian’s conviction three days later is the
mullah equivalent of mailing a dead fish to an adversary.
Mr. Rezaian’s brother also told
us that “I’d like the U.S. government to say [about Jason’s detention]:
This kind of behavior has consequences. Up to now this has had no consequences.
What have been the consequences? It hasn’t stopped them from getting their
nuclear deal. And it hasn’t stopped them from getting over half a billion a
month in sanctions relief since we started talking to them.”
The Iranian judiciary answers to
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who last week issued an edict banning any
talk with Washington. Supporters of the Iran deal are sure to blame Mr. Khamenei
and his hard-line faction for the Rezaian case and the regime’s permanent
anti-American posture. President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad
Zarif, deal supporters say, don’t share Mr. Khamenei’s view of America
as the Great Satan.
Perhaps. But in a theocracy led by
a man who rules as the Almighty’s vicegerent on Earth, the views of Messrs.
Rouhani and Zarif count for little. That’s doubly so when it comes to Iran’s
weapons programs. There, too, Tehran is already defying the U.S. and reneging on
On Sunday the regime tested a new
long-range, guided ballistic missile code-named Emad (“Pillar”) in violation
of the nuclear deal. United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231—which
passed shortly after the agreement to harmonize its provisions with
international law—prohibits Iran from conducting ballistic-missile work for
But the mullahs are nothing if not
impatient, and the Islamic Republic has already made clear that it doesn’t
intend to abide by the provisions of Resolution 2231 it dislikes. Testifying
before the Senate over the summer, U.S. Secretary of State John
Kerryrepeatedly vowed to sanction Iran if it cheated on missiles. Well,
here’s an early test case, Mr. Secretary.
The more likely outcome is that
the Obama Administration will find a way to explain that the missile test
doesn’t violate the nuclear accord that Mr. Obama considers a crowning
achievement. Meanwhile, Iran’s government will bank up to $150 billion that it
can deploy to back its militia proxies in the Middle East. Add the new
Iran-Russia offensive in Syria, and Tehran would appear to have taken the
nuclear deal as a signal that it can now do whatever it wants without