The Islamic Republic of Iran and the “P5+1” major powers have confirmed that an interim agreement to restrict Iran’s illicit nuclear program is slated to start on January 20. Officially, Iran receives $7 billion in exchange for allowing inspections of some of its nuclear facilities and not installing advanced centrifuges to develop uranium.
To perhaps better understand what a motley crew of anti-Western fanatics in Tehran plan to do with the billions entering their coffers over the term of the six-month deal, the brilliant American-Iranian writer Roya Hakakian offers some insight. Writing in today’s New York Times, she notes, “A popular joke during the last presidential election invited Syrians also to vote: ‘After all, our president will be your finance minister, too!”’
It is, of course, common knowledge that Iran has gone to great lengths to supply military personnel and funding to Assad’s regime in Syria.
But to extend the deadly seriousness of the joke, the major powers are now financing (wittingly or unwittingly) a regime that is the leading sponsor of global terrorism. There are no counterterrorism measures in the deal at all that might prevent Iran from funneling the money into its killing machinery.
Make no mistake that this is a key function of the Iranian regime: Iran’s new defense minister, Hossein Dehghan, planned the 1983 bombing of the U.S. marine barracks in Beirut, which killed 241 Americans. Hakakian, whom I quoted above, is the author of the book Assassins of the Turquoise Palace, which details the 1992 liquidation of Iranian Kurdish dissidents in a Berlin restaurant — a German court determined that Iran’s President Rafsanjani ordered the executions. Terrorism is integral to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary ideology.
Back to the agreement: The Obama administration refuses to publish the full text. Senator Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) has called on the administration to make it public. Obama, as many commentators have pointed out over the last 24 hours, claims that his administration is especially transparent: If there is nothing to conceal, why keep the agreement text hidden?
A fundamental U.S. national-security priority – the Iranian nuclear-weapons program – deserves a public, informed debate. Why is the Obama administration running scared of democracy in action?
— Benjamin Weinthal is a Berlin-based fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Follow Benjamin on Twitter @BenWeinthal.