Gamble with Iranís Theocratic Regime
July 28, 2015
Obama's Iran deal is a direct manifestation of the President's
fundamentally misguided worldview, one that wishes away danger and then believes
in the wishes.
Even more concerning is that the Iran deal may directly conflict
with U.S. obligations as a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Iran
deal may be unconstitutional, violate international law and feature commitments
that President Obama could not otherwise lawfully make. By seeking approval of
the deal under the UN Security Council, Obama has bound the U.S. under
international law without Senate consent.
The gravest consequence of Obama's Iran deal is that the world
bestowed ideological legitimacy on the Islamic Republic's radical theocracy, and
in so doing has consigned the people of Iran to near permanent rule under the
iron fist of Shi'a Islamism.
A total reversal of the Iranian regime's behavior should have been,
and still can be, a precondition for the removal of any sanctions related to
Iran's nuclear program. An end to Iran's financial and materiel support for
terrorist forces such as Hezbollah and Hamas must be demanded, along with the
return of the four American hostages Iran is holding.
There is still time for a better deal that can be had.
Obama and Secretary Kerry dominated the airwaves with rounds of media interviews
to defend the Iran deal last week, German Vice Chancellor and Economic Minister
Sigmar Gabriel flew straight to Tehran for the first of what are certain to be
countless meetings by P5+1 leaders to capitalize on new business opportunities
In Europe, it
seems, there is no debate to be had over the Iran deal; rather, it is a fait
But in the
United States, the domestic debate is heating up, fueled by a Presidential
primary campaign and increasingly justified bipartisan anxiety over the bill.
these political realities, however, the immediacy and tenacity of the White
House's defense of the Iran deal (which now has its own @TheIranDeal
Twitter account, no less), betrays an acute unspoken discomfort by many
Democrats with the practical flaws and global security dangers that the deal
deal is a direct manifestation of the President's fundamentally misguided
worldview, one that wishes away danger and then believes in the wishes.
Haunted by his
electorally-motivated premature withdrawal from Iraq in 2011; his refusal in
2013 to confront Syria's Bashar Assad when he used chemical weapons on his own
people; his betrayal by Russia's Vladimir Putin to whom he had offered a reset
button, and his impotence in failing to respond to the aggressive expansionist
moves of Russia, ISIS, Iran and China, the President and Democrat Party, in
signing the Iran deal, seem to be trying to absolve the United States of its
role at the forefront of the global fight against Islamic radicalism and other
failed EU-led negotiations with Iran in 2005, which resulted in Iran's massive
expansion of centrifuge production, defenders of the deal, such as Fareed
Zakaria, have painted a bleak and zero-sum counterfactual argument. It is
claimed that the result of Congress's opposition will be an international
community that forges ahead on renewed trade relations with Iran, while leaving
the United States outside the prevailing global reconciliation and supposed
love-in with the Islamic Republic.
several serious problems with this defense, and similarly with the White House's
blitzkrieg public relations campaign to fend off detractors of the Iran deal,
with Secretary of State John Kerry commanding the preemptive, and often totally
inaccurate, strikes against Congress. In consideration of the colossal failure
represented by the North Korea nuclear precedent, let us consider the issues
unique to Iran.
opponents of the Iran deal are not universally suggesting the Iran deal be
killed outright or immediately resort to "war." This is simply
disingenuous. Instead, the opponents' fundamental premise is that a better deal
was left on the table, and thus remains available. The very fact that the
Iranian regime was at the negotiating table was indeed a sign of Iran's
weakness; any timelines for the P5+1 to "close" the deal were
artificial constraints that surely erased further achievable concessions.
Second, much ink
has already been spilled about the technical weaknesses of the Iran deal.
Namely: that Iran's vast nuclear infrastructure remains in place; that the most
important restrictions expire in 10 years (a mere blip for humanity); that
Iran's uncivilized domestic and regional behavior was a naughty unmentionable;
and finally, that the deal undoubtedly initiated a regional nuclear arms race
while supercharging the Iranian regime's finances.
gravest consequence of Obama's Iran deal, and the most damning of its continued
defense, is that the world bestowed ideological legitimacy on the Islamic
Republic's radical theocracy, and in so doing has consigned the people of Iran
to near permanent rule under the iron fist of Twelver Shi'a Islamism.
capitulation occurred precisely at a time when the West and the broader Middle
East are facing off against the Islamic State -- a terrorist force which, when
stripped of its social media allure, is ultimately a Sunni-branded spin-off of
the extremist Shi'a Islamism that has ruled in Iran since 1979.
may be convenient allies as enemies of our enemies today, but not for one second
have Iran's rulers suggested their ultimate intent is anything other than the
all too familiar "Death to America" and "Death to Israel"
propaganda seen for the past 36 years. In what is objectively and wholly a
strange deadly obsession, the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, has
been rousing crowds with calls for the destruction of two nation-states both
during and after nuclear negotiations.
In spite of
this public malice, defenders of the deal suggest
that "the [Obama] administration is making a calculated bet that Iran will
be constrained by international pressure." Why exactly then is Khamenei
making clear the opposite?
Obama's willingness to concede Iran's new-found normalized membership in the
community of nations on the basis of this nuclear deal is an affront to the
liberal, free, democratic principles that have stood against the forces of
tyranny throughout American history.
It is also an
affront the American political system and to the members of both parties who are
now being cornered by the President into supporting, or not supporting, such an
intrinsically dangerous and needlessly flawed bargain with an avowed enemy.
concerning is that the Iran deal may directly conflict with U.S. obligations as
a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). As a number of critics have
pointed out, the Iran deal may be unconstitutional, violate international law
and feature commitments that President Obama could not
otherwise lawfully make.
approval of the deal under the UN Security Council, President Obama has bound
the United States under international law without
If the United
States is to remain the vanguard of human liberty, President Obama must
distinguish between the vain pursuit of his legacy, and the civilized world's
deepest need at this consequential hour for the American President to defend
comprehensively the fundamental principles that underpin the modern order.
Unless his desired legacy is actually to destroy it.
of the Iran deal have noted, there is still time for a better deal that can be
To start, a
total reversal of the Iranian regime's behavior should have been, and still can
be, a precondition for the removal of any sanctions related to Iran's nuclear
program. Congress can lobby for this change, and should maintain American
sanctions and applicable provisions in the U.S. Treasury Department's SWIFT
terrorist tracking finance program.
Iran's regional malignancy may run deep in the regime's veins (through the many
twisted arms of Tehran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps), an end to Iran's
financial and materiel support for terrorist forces such as Hezbollah and Hamas
must be demanded, along with the return of the four American hostages Iran is
who argue that Iran's human rights record was not "on the table" in
Geneva have needlessly abdicated the West's moral and intellectual high ground
to the forces of barbarism and hate that are now waging war across the region.
Respect for international humanitarian norms should never be discarded in such
At the end of
the day, the deeper questions for Obama and the entire P5+1 are this: By whose
standards were negotiations conducted? And whose worldview will rule the 21st
In defense of
Obama's approach, the deal's supporters point out that the Iranians are a
"proud, nationalistic people," which is undoubtedly true, but
irrelevant, just as it was for the leadership of Germany's Third Reich.
regime, by virtue of its radical religious nature, weak economy and political
experiment with theocracy, should have borne the burden of coming to the
negotiating table with the most to lose. Instead, President Obama, on behalf of
the free world, is allowing this pariah state to guarantee its place among the
nations, lavishly rewarded for having violated the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and
in all its about-to-be-well-funded lethality.
D. Onley is a lawyer in Ottawa, Co-Founder of the Young Diplomats of Canada and
a "Global Shaper" in the World Economic Forum.