Politics & Policy

The Iran Deal Strengthens Muslim Extremists

(Photo Illustration: NRO)

On June 4, 2009, President Obama gave a speech at Cairo University in conjunction with Al-Azhar University, the scholarly center of Muslim thought. He presented his principles for addressing the Middle East and the Muslim world. Some of what the president said was controversial, but this particular statement was universally agreed to: “The sooner the extremists are isolated and unwelcome in Muslim communities, the sooner we will all be safer.”

Who could disagree with this bipartisan prescription? It is the correct approach to stemming Islamic extremism.

Sadly, six years later, the president’s actions in the Middle East have uniformly worked against this very policy objective. The goal of isolating extremists and making them unwelcome in Muslim communities has been abandoned. Rather, the president’s actions have empowered the extremists. The nuclear deal with Iran’s radical clerics and their military junta is the most dangerous and potentially deadly action that the Obama administration has yet taken. It will empower and normalize the extremists in Iran who murdered American soldiers and planned terror attacks in our nation’s capital.

By rejecting the Iranian nuclear deal, Congress can help achieve the original goal of isolating the bad actors in Iran — the Ayatollah Khamenei, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, its Quds Force commander Quassem Soleimani, and the radical clerics. If Congress halts this dangerous deal, these extremists who signed the deal with President Obama would be cut off instead of rewarded.

RELATED: How and Why Iran Will Cheat on the Nuclear Deal

The Opposite of Isolation Is Incentive

Since his Cairo speech, the president has done the opposite of what he recommended. He has placated and even incentivized extremist Muslims.

Two weeks after the speech, young people all across Iran pushed forward with the Green Revolution. President Obama issued a tepid, neutral statement empowering the Iranian government. He then failed to respond as 100 leaders of the movement were subjected to a show trial by Iran’s oppressive regime. The White House response was silence. And the revolution died — along with many of its supporters.

In 2012, President Obama was faced with a new Egyptian leader, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. Instead of applying pressure to root him out, President Obama waived U.S. law and provided taxpayer aid to prop up the most radical elements within Egypt.

RELATED: Here’s What’s Wrong with Obama’s Case for the Iran Deal

The following year, Syrian president Bashar Assad committed atrocities against his own people and violated multiple international laws through the extended use of weapons of mass destruction. President Obama declined to respond to the violation of his own “red line.” He bowed to Assad’s puppet master, Iran, and cut a deal with the Russians. President Obama promised that our Russian partners would assist in the removal and verification of all chemical weapons from Syria. Today, not only do massive amounts of chlorine rain down on Assad’s opponents, but sarin remains in the hands of the regime — so much for isolating the Assad and his Iranian backers. Today Assad is still in power and ISIS has expanded in the void of U.S. leadership.

Refuse to Incentivize the Iranian Extremists — Vote No on the Deal

Today the hardliners in Iran — those who shout “Death to America” — have chosen to sign the Iranian nuclear agreement. President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry tell us this is all for the best. Iranian extremists, including Ayatollah Khamenei, have concluded that this deal strengthens their hand. The Iranian regime has signed a piece of paper that hands over to them billions of dollars, relief from sanctions, and a claim to legitimacy in the eyes of the international community.

#related#This tactical shortcomings of the deal are massive: secret side deals, not a single centrifuge destroyed or removed from Iran, a verification regime that won’t work, and Iran’s continued funding of terror activities, from Hezbollah to Hamas, from the Houthis in Yemen to the Shia militias in Iraq. The deal would strengthen extremists, reward their behaviors, and guarantee that radicals inside the Muslim faith will dominate not only Iran but the region for decades to come.

Congress must reject this deal. A better outcome awaits. We must reject the deal not only to preserve some hope for stability in the Middle East but because the security of every American citizen depends on it. 

Secretary Kerry said that rejection of the agreement by Congress would be the “ultimate screwing of the ayatollah.” I say amen to that — screwing the Iranian extremists is exactly what is required and exactly what President Obama said our policy should be. Congress must vote no on the deal.

Michael R. Pompeo — Mr. Pompeo is a distinguished fellow at Hudson Institute. He previously served as the 70th U.S. secretary of state.


The Latest