Iranian president Hassan Rouhani last week tweeted a declaration of diplomatic victory: “In #Geneva agreement world powers surrendered to Iran’s national will.” In response, White House press secretary Jay Carney said not to worry: “It doesn’t matter what they say. It matters what they do.”
Okay, so what are they doing? Abbas Araghchi, Iran’s chief negotiator, has provided the answer. “No facility will be closed; enrichment will continue, and qualitative nuclear research will be expanded,” he said. “All research into a new generation of centrifuges will continue.” Iran also is sending warships into the Atlantic Ocean for the first time in history — a not-so-subtle message, perhaps?
The Geneva agreement does slow Iran’s timeline for the development of nuclear weapons — by a month. Yes, that’s right: If Iran’s rulers faithfully comply with every commitment they have so far made, at the end of this six-month period, they will be about three months — instead of two months — away from breakout capacity.
In exchange, the U.S. and other “world powers” have given the revolutionary regime, long the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism, additional time — perhaps as much as a year — to continue developing nuclear warheads, triggers, and ballistic missiles. Plus there is sanctions relief sufficient to remove the threat of an impending Iranian economic crisis. Iran’s economy already is recovering.
If such “doing,” in addition to “saying,” does not justify Rouhani’s claim of a “surrender” to Iran, what would? Perhaps this: The same day Rouhani was using social media to announce Iran’s defeat of the West, Reuters was publishing photos of Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, laying a wreath at the Beirut grave of Imad Mughniyeh.
History has cheated Mughniyeh of the infamy he deserves. No self-proclaimed jihadist other than Osama bin Laden has murdered more Americans than he. A commander of Hezbollah, Iran’s Lebanon-based terrorist militia, Mughniyeh was the mastermind behind the attacks on the U.S. embassy (63 people murdered) and Marine barracks (241 killed) in Beirut in 1983, as well as the truck bombing of a building housing French paratroopers (58 killed). He was also indicted for the 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847, during which U.S. Navy diver Robert Stetham was murdered.
Kidnapping was another of Mughniyeh’s specialties. William Buckley, the CIA station chief in Beirut, was abducted in 1984. For 15 months, he was brutally tortured before finally being murdered.
Through these and many other atrocities, according to former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage, Hezbollah incurred a “blood debt” to America. But neither Republican nor Democratic administrations have ever made a serious effort to collect.
On February 12, 2008, Mughniyeh was assassinated. Two days later, The Washington Institute’s Matthew Levitt and David Schencker wrote a paper describing him as a “brilliant military tactician” who served as Hezbollah’s “primary liaison to Iran’s security and intelligence services.”
Born in southern Lebanon in 1962, Mughniyeh “became a sniper in Yasser Arafat’s forces” at the age of 14. His “first major operation outside Lebanon was the March 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires that killed 29 people. Two years later, he directed the bombing of the Asociacion Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) in the same city, killing 85. Although Hezbollah carried out the attack, Argentinian court documents allege that Mughniyeh’s impetus came from a fatwa issued by Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei.
Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, Iran’s loyal client, provided Mughniyeh with safe harbor — until it wasn’t. On February 12, 2008, in a fashionable Damascus neighborhood, Mughniyeh attended a reception marking the 29th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution. He left the party around 10:30 p.m. and walked to his car. He didn’t notice that the headrest on the driver’s seat had been replaced. The new one contained an explosive. It detonated, killing him and no one else. Nearby buildings suffered only minor damage. It was a very professional hit. There is no proof that Israel was responsible.