by Dr. Majid Rafizadeh
Hardliners in the Islamic Republic are rejoicing over the Iran nuke deal.
Thanks to President Obama, radical Islam is the winner of the nuclear deal and the US emerges as the biggest loser when it comes to its national, economic, geopolitical and strategic interests. In addition, except for Israel and the United States, almost every country in the world (as well as Shiite militia groups) appear to be benefiting from the nuclear deal – economically, strategically, and geopolitically -- as a result of rekindling relationships with the Islamic Republic. Not only does this deal damage the US and Israel’s national and economic interests, but it also strengthens the same forces and axis which have repeatedly sworn war and violence against Americans.
A strong argument can be made that one of the major birthplaces of fundamentalist Islamism, which at its core aims at opposing and fighting the United States, is the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The mission of anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism began heavily when the ruling mullahs of Iran, with the leadership of Ayatollah Rooh Allah Khamenei, came to power. This mission remains and will continue to remain the major pillar of the Islamic Republic as well as the keystone of the mullah’s political and ideological establishments.
Since then, the Islamic Republic, with IRGC and its proxies, has been attacking and slaughtering Americans. They also attempt to scuttle US foreign policy. The United States is not their sole target. They also interfere with the national and economic interest of several countries in the Middle East and beyond including Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, etc.
Without a doubt, this is a regime that breeds anti-Americanism and hatred towards Jewish and Christian people. So, what is President Obama’s solution to offset such a threat? Surrender -- while continuing to give bonuses and gifts to the Iranian regime.
After Russia and China, Switzerland was the first European country to officially lift economic and political sanctions against the Islamic Republic citing the nuclear deal which was reached between the Islamic Republic and six world powers. The sanctions included restrictions on trade in precious metals, petrochemical products, petroleum products as well as the transport of Iranian crude oil. Switzerland issued a statement pointing out that the "Federal Council (government) wishes today's steps to be seen as a sign of its support for the implementation of the nuclear agreement and its interest in deepening bilateral relations with Iran." It also added that it will seek to “promote a broad political and economic exchange with Iran.”
Other European countries are going to follow as well. What is going to happen next? Billions off dollars are going to flow into a government whose primary objective is to fight with the United States.
Russia, China, and other rivals will benefit economically, politically, strategically, and ideologically from the nuclear deal. It is the United States which not only is not gaining anything (economically, geopolitically, security-wise, or strategically) from this deal, but also is significantly empowering its rivals.
In the next phase, the nuclear deal will significantly tip the balance of power in favor of US rivals and the anti-American axis. China, Russia and the Iran-Assad-Hezbollah-Haman's alliance will be considerably strengthened.
What does President Obama think that a political regime -- that has been fighting the United States tooth and nail and that is responsible for the killing of many Americans in the Middle East -- is going to use the billions of dollars it earns to promote? It certainly will not be pro-American or pro-Israel ideology, democratization, social justice, rule of law, human rights, or freedom of speech, press, and assembly.
Mr. Obama recently delivered a speech at American University pointing out that "just because Iranian hardliners chant 'Death to America' does not mean that that's what all Iranians believe." He added, "In fact, it's those hardliners … chanting 'Death to America' who've been most opposed to the deal. They're finding common cause with the Republican Caucus."
There are several fallacies in his statements. First of all, he is implying the Republicans are similar to those Iranian politicians who are anti-American. Republicans are attempting to preserve the national and economic interest of their country when it comes to the Islamic Republic, but Iranian politicians are sworn to fight American interests and wipe out Israel.
Secondly, President Obama argues that Iranian hardliners are against the nuclear deal. This is absolutely inaccurate. It was because of the approval of Iran’s Supreme autocrat, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, that the deal was signed. The hardliners are the ones who will gain the most from this deal.
Third, it is true that not all Iranian people believe in “Death to America,” but Mr. Obama is dodging the major point. When it comes to international politics and the mission of fighting America, it honestly does not matter what Iranian people believe or do not believe. What matters is the political establishment of the Islamic Republic and the government which has the hard power (weapons, military, financial means, oil, etc) to fight with the US.
Finally, it is not only the hardliners that chant “Death to America,” but the entire group of ruling clerics and leaders of the Islamic Republic that believe this with a passion. We should not forget that a major slogan of President Rouhani (the so-called "moderate") is: “Saying 'Death to America' is easy. We need to express 'Death to America' with action.” Or, as the other supposed "moderate" and "pragmatist," Rafsanjani pointed out, "If a day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the arms Israel has in possession, the strategy of colonialism would face a stalemate because application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in Israel[.]"
United Nations and European Union sanctions on some of Iranian war criminals will also be lifted as part of the nuclear pact. One of these figures is General Qassem Suleimani, the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps—Qods Force, who is the mastermind behind creating Shiite militia groups and terrorists across the region. He oversaw the training, financing, and arming of these militia groups. These groups are directly or indirectly fighting the United States and American soldiers as well.
As Lt. Gen. (ret.) Michael Barbero stated Sunday in The Weekly Standard, the lifting of international sanctions against Gen. Soleimani is a “shameful betrayal” of the “the American families of Suleimani’s casualties, and …those of us who lost friends and comrades.”
What if the Iranian leaders circumvent the guidelines put into place by the deal down the road? Then, too bad. If the Iranian leaders, as predicted, are caught deceiving their way towards obtaining a nuclear bomb, it will be too late to do anything. The economic and political sanctions will have been lifted, leaving the Iranian government with a surplus of funds. The US, which was in a stronger position when sanctions were imposed on the Islamic Republic, will become the weaker player. Russia and China will block any re-imposition of sanctions on the Islamic Republic. At that point, unfortunately, it will be the US in the desperate position, not the Islamic Republic. Radical Islam will exponentially spread against the US, as well as democratic and Western values around the globe.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, an Iranian-American political scientist and scholar, is president of the International American Council and serves on the board of the Harvard International Review at Harvard University. Rafizadeh is also a former senior fellow at the Nonviolence International Organization based in Washington, DC and is a member of the Gulf Project at Columbia University. He can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@post.harvard.edu. Follow Rafizadeh at @majidrafizadeh.
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