The Obama administration’s lack of transparency and failure to notify Congress about the release of Bowe Bergdahl for five senior Taliban terrorists is a stark reminder of another negotiation shrouded in mystery: the U.S. attempt to stop Iran’s drive to obtain a nuclear weapon.
The stakes are dangerously high with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Just this week, Fox News analyst Lisa Daftari reported that Mojtaba Zonnour, an adviser to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, said his country’s missiles could hit American bases in the Indian Ocean and in Bahrain.
As my FDD colleague Michael Ledeen has noted, the U.S and the EU refuse to release the full text of the interim Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) negotiated with Iran in November. The deal provides Iran with billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for the mullahs’ slowing down the pace of their nuclear weaponization program. The Obama administration says the EU blocked the release of the JPOA. This is nonsense on stilts: The U.S. is the leader of the free world and should not outsource its foreign policy to the Europeans.
The failure to make the JPOA public recalls a rhetorical question by the late philosopher Sidney Hook, whom President Reagan awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom: “If there is nothing to conceal, why conceal it?”
The deliberate ambiguity encompassing the Iran talks will not bode well for U.S. security. As Iran’s regime ramps up development of an intercontinental-ballistic-missile system, Defense Secretary Hagel appears to have decoupled Iran’s missiles from the nuclear talks.
Given the Obama administration’s flops in the Syria talks, the Israel-Palestinian peace process, and the 2011 withdrawal of forces from Iraq, Secretary Kerry may be tempted to strike a deal with the Iranians, however flawed it is, just to claim a foreign-policy victory.
There is a striking tendency by the Obama administration to take the path to least resistance with terrorist entities. Take the recent example of the State Department certifying the new Hamas-Palestinian Authority unity regime deal as legal. According to reports, it means the U.S. will indirectly provide American taxpayer money to Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization.
The aid to Hamas and and the shot in the arm provided to the Taliban via Bergdahl shows the Obama administration to be happy with enormous concessions to terrorist movements. That pattern of concessions doesn’t bode well for negotiations with Iran, the leading global sponsor of terrorism.
— Benjamin Weinthal is a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Follow Benjamin on Twitter @BenWeinthal.