by Peter Huessy
America is apparently bent on repeating -- yet again -- the historic wrong turn it took in 1979 by once again embracing the radical Islamic regime in Iran. Why would the U.S. administration think doing the same thing again will have a different outcome?
- "You will see we are not in any particular animosity with the Americans," Ayatollah Khomeini said, and promised to President Jimmy Carter that Iran would be a "tolerant democracy."
- Although the State Department has in its just released annual report on world-wide terror designated Iran as the world's premier state sponsor of terrorism, the Obama administration has assisted Iranian militias in Iraq with air support, provided intelligence to Hezbollah's allies on Israeli air strikes, and has steadfastly refused to use any military force against any elements of the Assad regime.
Senior leaders from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are in Washington, meeting with top U.S. diplomatic and defense officials, and are deeply concerned America has significantly worsened the situation in the Middle East by creating a "strategic partnership" with Iran.
Thirty-seven years ago, U.S. President Jimmy Carter paved the way for Iran's Islamic theocratic dictatorship to come to power, according to newly declassified secret documents, reports the BBC Persian News Service. The documents show that Carter pledged to "hold back" the Iranian military from attempting a coup, which would have prevented the return of the exiled Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini from France.
The documents also reveal that the Carter administration believed -- erroneously -- that bringing Ayatollah Khomeini into power in Iran, and in the process abandoning the Shah, would preserve American interests, keep the Soviets out of the region, protect U.S. allies, and ensure the flow of oil to the world's industrial nations.
In one of his many messages to President Carter, Khomeini played into that belief. "You will see we are not in any particular animosity with the Americans," Khomeini said, and promised that Iran would be a "tolerant democracy."
Unfortunately, the mullahs did not stop their terrorist ways; and the U.S. government, through successive administrations, did not stop them, either.
The Reagan administration, for example, deployed "peacekeepers" to Lebanon under Congressionally-mandated rules of engagement that, tragically, only facilitated the Iranian- and Syrian-directed bombings of the U.S. Marine barracks and embassy in Beirut.
Then, the Clinton administration refused to lift an arms embargo and provide weapons to Muslims in the former Yugoslavia, ensuring that Iranian weapons and influence would fill the void.
The result of decades of the U.S. policy in Iran is that since Islamic terrorists took power in Tehran in 1979, Iran has murdered thousands of Americans -- in addition to those killed in the bombings in Lebanon, the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, the African embassies, and the World Trade Center in New York.
U.S. court decisions have so far held Iran responsible for more than $50 billion in damages owed to American citizens for these terror attacks, which directed by the mullahs and their terrorist proxies.
America's military has also suffered. Thousands of American and allied soldiers have been killed and maimed by Iranian Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It could be argued that the United States has at times had to make deals with unsavory countries. It was allied with the Soviet Union, for instance, in the fight to destroy Nazism in World War II. So, the thinking might go, a genuine agreement to eliminate Iran's nuclear weapons program might require some compromise and thus a type of "partnership".
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during talks in Vienna, Austria, July 14, 2014. (Image source: U.S. State Department)
The Obama administration has, in fact, sought to justify its embrace of Iran by citing the assumed benefits from a nuclear agreement with Iran. But the current "nuclear deal" with Iran is not a real agreement. The Iranians never signed it.
Members of Iran's parliament reviewed it and made it clear that they would only adhere to those parts of the agreement they liked, insisting in a public statement, released after the review, that the U.S. had no reciprocal flexibility.
While the Obama administration tried to portray the agreement as one which would "dismantle" much of the Iranian nuclear infrastructure, the facts were that Iran was able to keep an "industrial sized nuclear program". Elliot Abrams describes the Iranian strategy on its nuclear program as trading "permanent American concessions for Iranian gestures of temporary restraint".
Even worse, under the "deal" Iran would ultimately be able to become a full-fledged, legitimate nuclear power in roughly ten years. Additionally, despite promises and signed UN resolutions to the contrary, Iran's ballistic missile program continues, giving Tehran the largest missile inventory in the Middle East.
Thus, the current US "tilt" toward Iran has not been a carefully calibrated outreach to a dangerous adversary. It has been instead a firm embrace of a dictatorship that has not only killed thousands of Americans, but continues to undermine U.S. and allied interests in the Gulf and elsewhere.
Moreover, although the State Department has in its just released annual report on world-wide terror designated Iran as the world's premier state sponsor of terrorism, the Obama administration has assisted Iranian militias in Iraq with air support, provided intelligence to Hezbollah's allies on Israeli air strikes, and has steadfastly refused to use military force against any elements of the Assad regime. In 2014, President Obama wrote to Supreme Leader Khamenei that any US military action in Syria would "target neither the Syrian dictator nor his forces".
Destroying ISIS or stopping terrorism against America and its allies cannot be achieved by embracing Shia terrorists directed by Tehran.
The Sunni nations of the Gulf, North Africa and the Mediterranean might be willing to provide leadership and manpower in a coalition to oppose Iran's doctrine of Shia conquest. However, although the U.S. administration has repeatedly talked about such a coalition, America's actions have continually embraced and helped Iran. As Michael Doran has explained, the result of the American administration's embrace of Iran "has been the development of an extremist safe haven that... stretches from the outskirts of Baghdad all the way to Damascus."
The U.S. could enter into talks with the Saudis, Egyptians, other Arab states and other countries in the region to help them build a coalition to oppose Iran's plans to achieve hegemonic status in the Middle East.
Is reform in the region even possible? Or is the U.S. now solidly locked into an embrace with an increasingly hostile and violent Iran?
Reform in the Middle East does not come easily, but the "Arab Spring" illustrates that positive change can take place. Unfortunately, the Obama administration, as President Carter mistakenly did in 1979, has embraced the mullahs, who immediately sidelined any reformers who might have been democratically inclined. In Egypt, the U.S. then actively helped bring the extremist Muslim Brotherhood to power, until twenty-two million Egyptians themselves apparently decided they had tasted enough of such repression and revolted; and in Afghanistan, the U.S. pathetically kept looking for the "moderate wing" of the Taliban.
America is apparently bent on repeating -- yet again -- the historic wrong turn it took in 1979, by once again embracing the radical Islamic regime in Iran. Why would the U.S. administration think doing the same thing again will have a different outcome?
Dr. Peter Huessy is President of GeoStrategic Analysis, a defense consulting firm he founded in 1981, and was the senior defense consultant at the National Defense University Foundation for more than 20 years. He is now the National Security Fellow at the AFPC, and Senior Defense Consultant at the Air Force Association.
 For the details about Iran's involvement in 9-11 see http://www.iran911case.com. For Iran complicity in conducting other terror attacks against the United States in Beirut, Khobar Towers, and the African embassies, see Clare Lopez speaking at the Center for Security Policy. Also in documents recently translated from the "Abbottobad" material seized in the raid on Osama Bin Laden's Pakistani hideout, Joseph Braude host of the New York radio show "Risalat," reveals that according to Bin Laden, "Our main artery for funds, personnel and communication" is Iran.
 Testimony of Lt General Michael Flynn, (Retired), former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, 10 June 2015, the Joint Foreign Affairs and HASC Subcommittee, House of Representatives.
 See for example, these assessments of the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA): "Our Iranian Allies", "The Iran Deal Wasn't About Nukes At All", and "The Iran Deal, One Year In: Economic, Nuclear, and Regional Implications."
 This aspect of the "Arab Spring" and the Administration's response is detailed by Walid Phares in The Lost Spring, 2014, Palgrave Macmillan.
Peter Huessy is President of GeoStrategic Analysis, a defense consulting firm he founded in 1981, and was the senior defense consultant at the National Defense University Foundation for more than 20 years. He is now the National Security Fellow at the AFPC, and Senior Defense Consultant at the Air Force Association.
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