Defense5 January 2016

Notes from Norm: Eyes Wide Shut on Iran

In October and November Iran tested two ballistic missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

In December the United Nation’s announced that Iran violated a U.N. Security Council resolution prohibiting them specifically from such activities.

Russia and China dismissed the tests and the provocation and meaning behind them, and Iran once again declared its right to pretty much do whatever it wants – regardless of the objections of the United States and others concerned about its continued violation of international law.

The Obama Administration, so eager to see its nuclear agreement with Iran be implemented called the missile test “a serious matter that undermines regional stability.”

Whew!  Tough words.

Mark Dubowitz, Executive Director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, described the Obama Administrations tepid response to the missile launch this way: “The administration is deeply concerned that the Iranians won't implement the agreement and that they'll walk away from the (nuclear) agreement…There is a deep reluctance on the part of the administration to impose sanctions for any violations.”

So reluctant is the Administration to hold Iran accountable for anything that in the morning on Wednesday, December 30th it informed Congress, according to CNN, that it “…would impose new financial penalties on nearly a dozen companies and individuals for their alleged role in developing Iran’s ballistic missile program…”

That same afternoon the Obama Administration delayed the penalties.

Democrats who supported the President’s Iran deal, like United States Senator Chris Coons, are shocked by the Administration’s lack of resolve in calling the question on Iran’s ballistic missile launch. 

Coons stated that “I believe in the power of vigorous enforcement that pushes back on Iran’s bad behavior…” and that failure to do so means “…we invite Iran to cheat.”

Iran doesn’t need an invitation to cheat.  It never has.

Nor does it feel compelled to live up to its promise to not cheat when it comes to existing international law – or for that matter, the Obama Administration’s ill-advised nuclear agreement with the country.

It is quite likely that the Obama Administration, facing threats from Iranian leaders, like the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameni, backed down from imposing new penalties on Iran.

Khameni and other Iranian leaders insist that any new sanctions imposed by the United States – regardless of what reason (say, something like the launch of ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads) would violate the nuclear agreement promoted by the President and his allies.

What a great deal for Iran and its leaders. What a bad deal for the United States and its allies.

Roughly speaking, Iran, the most dangerous, powerful tyrannical regime in the Middle East – with a clear record of violating international law – inciting rebellion and instability in the region – and committed to a nuclear weapons program – has declared that anything the United States does with regard to sanctions for any reason is a violation of the nuclear agreement.

Consider this:  This is the same Iran that proclaimed that the nuclear agreement was not a quid pro quo for rapprochement with the United States. 

The fact that Iran still holds four Americans hostage makes it abundantly clear that they were serious about their position.

When President Obama convinced enough Democrats in Congress to support his ill-fated Iranian agreement he assured them – and America – that he would not hesitate to immediately hold Iran accountable if it continued to cheat and snub its nose at the international community.

Of the two parties that negotiated the Iran agreement only one of them has held up their end of the deal:  Iran.

Iran kept telling the President and his Administration – and the world – exactly what it would and would not do.

It said it would agree to a nuclear agreement as long as it could continue its nuclear program.

Anything else was its business – hostage taking, terrorist recruitment and training, exporting terror and instability to other countries in the region, threats to Israel, complicity in killing American soldiers, launching ballistic missiles – all of these things and others were outside the boundaries of negotiations over its nuclear ambitions.

Furthermore, Iran got sanctions lifted – billions of dollars unfrozen to use to strengthen its military – and no permanent end to its ability to build a nuclear bomb in the future.

Despite overwhelming opposition from the American people, the President and his Democratic allies in Congress, pushed through the Iranian nuclear agreement – promising that they would hold Iran accountable for violating the letter and spirit of the agreement. 

They pledged they would not allow Iran to cross the international community without paying a price for their cheating.

One has to wonder what the President and his allies believe to be a serious enough offense by Iran to live up to their promises and pledges to the American people.

It’s clear that Iran has lived up to every single one of its promises and pledges to do what it wants to do when it wants to do it. 

In 2013 the Obama Administration said it was approaching nuclear negotiations with Iran with its eyes “absolutely wide open.”

Unfortunately, when it comes to holding Iran accountable for its multiple violations of UN security council resolutions and international law the Obama Administration’s eyes are wide shut.