On the heels of President Donald Trump pulling out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly referred to as the “Iran nuclear deal,” Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has publicly admitted that allowing a meeting with then-Secretary of State John Kerry and the subsequent contractual agreement was a grave error.
Speaking to countrymen at the Hussayniyeh of Imam Khomeini in Tehran, Khamenei emphatically stated, “With the issue of the nuclear negotiations, I made a mistake in permitting our foreign minister to speak with them. It was a loss for us.”
The Global Stand-off
“Them” of course pertains to the Obama administration and “it” is a poorly negotiated 2015 international nuclear agreement. Tehran, after vigorous negotiations between Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and representatives of six world powers including the U.S., scaled back its nuclear program in return for the removal of international sanctions which had nearly decimated the Iranian economy.
The promised relief never came.
Trump pulled out of the deal and has enforced new, harsher sanctions, effectively crippling Iran’s ability to resurrect a diminished economy. In a recent Twitter declaration, he made clear his reasons for leveling extreme injunctions on Iran:
“These are the most biting sanctions ever imposed, and in November they ratchet up to yet another level. Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States. I am asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less!”
But Zarif was not kowtowed and fired back, denouncing Trump and U.S. unilateralism, venting, “And it is not the first time that a warmonger claims he is waging war for ‘world peace’.”
Send in Trump
Once Trump rescinded the deal, he attempted to renegotiate a tougher position but was quashed unanimously by leaders in Iran. As liberals and allies alike looked on in anticipation of a looming mushroom cloud, Iran attempted to play hardball with Trump.
Not their best idea as Trump doubled down on restrictions of U.S. dollars, metals trading, coal, industrial software, and the auto sector, prompting President Hassan Rouhani to weigh into the war of words by saying, “We will not let the enemy bring us to our knees.”
And neither will Trump.
His sanctions involve not only Iran but those nations that ignore the U.S. and continue to trade with Iran. It appears that this stance allows for Britain, France, and Germany, as well as Russia and China – who pleaded with Trump to stay in the pact – to save face, but fear of reprisals and concern for losing business with the United States have businesses located in those countries complying.
White House National Security Adviser John Bolton weighed in on Fox News: “If the Ayatollahs want to get out from under the squeeze, they should come and sit down. The pressure will not relent while the negotiations go on.”
The Upper Hand
Rhouhani must appear stalwart in his desire to succeed where others have so miserably failed at negotiating a nuke-free world. Perhaps he needs to pick up the phone and give our latest denuclearizing nation a jingle to ask how being a threatening menace worked with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. Once the “Rocket Man” dictator to now a frenemy of the United States – in a matter of a New York Trump minute.
But Iran is pontificating in desperation and Rhouhani made the media circuit, appearing on the Islamic Republic News Agency to say:
“America itself took actions which destroyed the conditions for negotiation. There were conditions for negotiation and we were negotiating. They destroyed the bridge themselves. If you’re telling the truth then come now and build the bridge again. In the latest visit to Kazakhstan, we had good negotiations with our neighboring countries and, at the same time, we are negotiating with Europe and elsewhere in Asia.”
An Ayatollah Mea Culpa
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei did indeed make a grave error in negotiating with former President Barack Obama’s administration. It was a weak deal that left Iran, the U.S., and concerned allies, with few concrete options for a nuke-free Iran without military aggression.
With the previous agreement, we had no way to control Iran’s funding of Hezbollah, developing of missiles or wreaking of havoc and committing of human rights violations. Trump’s sanctions give the United States and her allies the best option of denuclearizing Iran. Call it peace through strength or Trumplomacy, but time and again, Trump’s unabashed decisions are working.
We may force Iran to their knees – and then extend a hand in peace and prosperity.
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