By Kyle Smith
The New York Post
October 1, 2016
Secretary of State John Kerry (right,) with his man-crush Iranian diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif. Photo by Getty Images
It was Hillary Clinton who nailed Barack Obama’s policy with a single, deadly word: “Naive,” she called it, in a campaign debate in 2008.
And how. The full story of President Obama’s 2015 Iran deal, which gave Iran more than it could have wished for in its wildest dreams just as its economy was on the verge of collapse, is a stunning tale of weakness, self-deception, wishful thinking and topsy-turvy priorities on the part of Team Obama.
Even the French Socialists called the agreement, which lifts sanctions against Iran in return for that country vowing to back off its nuclear weapons program for 10 years, “a sucker’s deal” (before being browbeaten into approving it). And a former International Atomic Energy Agency weapons inspector said Obama’s pact “sets an incredibly bad precedent.”
Every miscue made by Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry is made woefully clear in “The Iran Wars: Spy Games, Bank Battles and the Secret Deals that Reshaped the Middle East,” a riveting and sordid account by Wall Street Journal chief foreign correspondent Jay Solomon, who interviewed many of the key players including Kerry.
Kerry emerges as a classic schmoozer, the Dr. Pangloss who sees nothing but good in every foreign warlord and mass murderer. Based on his genial four-hour 2009 dinner with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and both men’s wives, Kerry — then a Massachusetts senator — spent years trying to sell the idea that Assad was a Western-leaning “reformer.” That would be before Assad exterminated 500,000 of his own people.
Right up front, Kerry told Iran it would be able to continue enriching uranium. It was like encouraging your kid to eat his vegetables by first handing him a slice of chocolate cake.
“Kerry’s characterization of Assad seemed grossly exaggerated,” someone who was at the dinner told Solomon. “But the senator promoted it unchecked.”
Kerry wasn’t even yet secretary of state but was busily forming a patty-cake foreign policy, with Obama’s encouragement, even as the much less gullible Clinton supposedly led our foreign affairs. In 2011, still in the Senate, he secretly began crafting a nuclear-arms agreement with Iran, using the back channel of a diplomat from Oman.
Instead of negotiating from strength — US-led sanctions, some of them passed by Congress against Obama’s wishes, had cut Iranian oil exports nearly to zero, and its economy was reeling — Kerry began handing out bargaining chips like sticks of Juicy Fruit. Right up front, Kerry told Iran it would be able to continue enriching uranium. It was like encouraging your kid to eat his vegetables by first handing him a slice of chocolate cake.
Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei, commander of Iran’s Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani
Kerry’s move was in harmony with repeated, obsequious moves by Obama, who since his first weeks as president had secretly been sending fawning letters to Iran’s supreme ruler, the Ayatollah Khamenei, emphasizing that the US no longer sought regime change in Iran. Which was an awkward position to have considering pro-reform, pro-Democracy demonstrators took to the streets of Tehran that same year demanding a more Western-friendly orientation for Iran. Obama not only didn’t offer help but specifically ordered the CIA to stand down and even yanked funding from reform backers in the US. Mass rape and torture in Iran ensued as the regime cracked down on dissent, and Khamenei blamed the US for the revolt anyway.
Kerry, by now secretary of state, arrived in Geneva in 2013 to negotiate a deal with Iran in the company of five other key countries, who found themselves essentially frozen out as Kerry gave Iran one concession after another. Ballistic missiles? Arms dealing? The US had adamantly opposed them. Now it backed down. Even before the deal was concluded, the US was lifting sanctions, causing $700 million a month to flow into a crippled economy.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits the Natanz Uranium Enrichment Facility in 2008—one of three facilities allowed to continue operations (with 24/7 surveillance) under the deal.Photo: AP
Is played us with a simple good cop/bad cop game: Offstage, the frightening Khamenei blustered that Iran would never back down from its nuclear program, while Kerry’s man-crush, the engaging and gentlemanly US-educated negotiator Mohammad Javad Zarif, essentially said he was really sorry but his hands were tied.
Unfortunately he just had to insist on keeping Iran’s underground enrichment facility at Qom, its heavy-water reactor (commonly called a bomb factory) at Arak and its 5,000 centrifuges (used for enriching uranium) at Natanz.
Oh, and after 10 years, Iran will be able to scale up to an industrial-strength uranium enrichment program ostensibly just for power plants but which could easily be used to make weapons. By which time several other Middle Eastern countries, anticipating an imbalance of power, will have joined the nuclear club to counter Iran. Meanwhile, Russia took advantage of the accord to announce it would sell Iran missile defense systems to repel any future attack by the US or Israel.
With such giveaways, Iran’s agreement to step away from its nuclear-weapons program for a decade can hardly be taken seriously, which is why Solomon refers to Iran as a “latent nuclear weapons state.” Kerry and Obama told the American public that Iran had to be given all of these goodies or we would surely face another war. That’s not realist thinking; it’s a case of hysterics. Obama and Kerry’s craven cave-in will haunt our future.
Tags: arms dealing, Assad, ballistic missiles, Barack Obama, enriching uranium, funding from reform backers, Hillary Clinton, Iran, Iran Nuclear Deal, Israel, Jay Solomon, John Kerry, Khamenei, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Natanz, Natanz Uranium Enrichment Facility, nuclear, Obama, Russia, Russian missile defense, S-300, self-deception, state sponsor of terrorism, sucker’s deal, Syria, The Iran Wars: Spy Games Bank Battles and the Secret Deals that Reshaped the Middle East, U. S., uranium, weakness, wishful thinking, Zarif