The Corner

National Security & Defense

Obama and Iran’s ‘Hardliners’

In response to Why Am I Encouraging This?

I’d like to add a few observations to Patrick’s astute post on President Obama’s insulting and troublingly detached-from-reality speech today on his indefensible Iran deal.

In Iran, what Obama referred to as “hardliners” chanting “Death to America” are the regime. First and foremost among them is “supreme leader” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Obama’s claim that Iranian “hardliners” really oppose the deal – which which of course implies that he is only dealing with regime “moderates” (what else?) with whom we can safely play ball, is a fairy tale. To be sure, Obama’s media friends are helping him broadcast this fairy tale; that, no doubt, is why the president is able to run to the nearest college campus and get applause for his kooky claims. But the reality is that Khamenei – the guy Obama implored to cooperate with him – is the chief hardliner. The Iran deal could not have happened unless Khamenei supported it; he supports it precisely because it is breathtakingly good for Iran.

The supreme leader is chief of the “Death to America” cheering squad. Not only did Khamenei actively join regime subordinates in chanting “Death to America” while the negotiations with Obama and Kerry were ongoing. (See also Mona’s column on this subject.) Even four days after the deal was announced, knowing that Congress was still to review it, Khamenei could not help himself but praise Iranians for chanting “Death to Israel, Death to the U.S.” during the negotiations.

At the same time, Iran’s very “moderate” foreign minister Javad Zarif, who not only supports the deal but negotiated it, assured Iranians that the regime would “continue the arms supply policy” under which it supports Hezbollah and other anti-American, anti-Western, anti-Israeli jihadists. The only difference is that, now, thanks to Obama’s deal, they will have an additional $100 billion-plus with which to materially support terrorism.

So the fact of the matter is that the people on Capitol Hill who oppose the deal are the people on the side of authentic Iranian moderates. It is Obama who is lending aid and comfort to America’s avowed, unapologetic enemies – enemies who could not be more brazen in trumpeting their hostility, and who steer a regime that has killed thousands of Americans.

The people who oppose this deal are the ones who effectively oppose Iran’s hardliners (rather than pretending to oppose while aiding and abetting them). The people who oppose this deal recognize that it will strengthen the hand of the tyrannical jihadist regime, enabling it to solidify its hold on power and continue persecuting the Iranian people who despise the regime.

On that score, it is worth recalling that in 2009, when Iranian democracy activists rose up in protest and appeared poised to attempt overthrowing the hardliner regime, it was Obama – not Americans who oppose Obama’s Iran deal – who turned a deaf ear to them, even as the regime shot them dead in the streets. The president had his choice between cajoling Iranian hardliners and championing Iranians who yearn for a better relationship with the West … and he made it.

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