A new Iranian precision-guided ballistic missile is launched as it is tested at an undisclosed location October 11, 2015. REUTERS/farsnews.com/Handout via ReutersThe Iran regime’s top mullah, Ali Khamenei, added his tepid support to the nuclear deal that the regime’s Parliament also approved, clearing the pathway for the regime to get its payday of $150 billion plus billions more in foreign investment and economic activity.
But nothing is ever simple with the inscrutable mullahs of Tehran as Khamenei added the caveat that all sanctions had to be lifted or Iran would walk away from the deal. This reinforces the key stumbling block he placed in front of negotiators when he maintained that the regime had to first receive the benefits of lifted sanctions before it would begin any dismantling of its nuclear infrastructure.
The chicken and egg argument he poses is deliberately cloaked in the obscurity it needs to allow both sides proof of his adherence to the terms of the deal from both sides perspective, while allowing the wiggle room Khamenei wants to set the implementation of the agreement any way he sees fit.
This is readily apparent in the deluge of provocative acts the regime has undertaken since the agreement was signed, including:
- The conviction of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian on trumped up spying charges and then offering to swap him for convicted Iranian arms smugglers;
- The test firing of a new ballistic missile violating United Nations Security Council resolutions prohibiting development of new nuclear-capable missiles;
- Coordination of a military alliance with Russia through a mission to Moscow by Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani in violation of UN travel restrictions; and
- Launching of a new offensive in Syria against forces opposing the Assad regime including the use of thousands of Iranian fighters and proxies from Hezbollah in Lebanon, Shiite militias from Iraq and Afghan mercenaries.
These acts put to a lie the claims long made by the Iran lobby during the nuclear negotiations that the regime was only interested in becoming a moderating force within the region. Led by the National Iranian American Council, those same supportive voices for the regime have been struck deaf and dumb in the face of these new violations by the regime.
The test firing of the new ballistic missile was especially provocative and so concerning that the U.S., Great Britain, France and Germany called on the UN Security Council’s Iran sanctions committee to take action over the violation.
In a letter obtained by Reuters containing details on the launch, the nations said the ballistic missile was “inherently capable of delivering a nuclear weapon.”
Is it too late to say “We told you so?”
Even now, news media that once editorialized in support of the nuclear deal have reversed course in noting the worrisome developments by the Iran regime.
“But the Syrian offensive is certainly more than message-sending. If successful, it could eliminate the chance to construct a moderate, secular alternative to the Assad regime, and send hundreds of thousands more refugees across Syria’s borders. It was just such aggression that Mr. Obama acknowledged might be a byproduct of the nuclear deal — and that he vowed to resist. If he remains passive as Maj. Gen. Soleimani’s forces press forward, both Iranian and U.S. allies across the Middle East will conclude that there will be no U.S. check on an Iranian push for regional hegemony,” said the Washington Post in an editorial.
There was also a move by 11 Senate Democrats to push the Obama administration to respond forcefully to the regime’s missile test, pressing the case that a response would set a precedent for how the U.S. would react to any future violations of the nuclear deal.
“We are concerned about the military significance of this test, which is part of a long-term Iranian program that seeks to improve the range and capabilities of its ballistic missiles,” the senators wrote. “We are also convinced that the launch is an attempt to test the world’s will to respond to Iranian violations of its international commitments.”
It is worth noting that several of these same Senators had voted in favor of the deal.
Joshua Keating at Slate raised a similar concern about the fallout from the nuclear deal saying “it certainly doesn’t bode well for the optimistic notion that the deal could lead to U.S.-Iranian security cooperation beyond the narrow areas laid out in the agreement and it certainly doesn’t look good for the administration. Iranian leaders were presumably well aware of this.”
This understanding of the regime’s intentions puts into perspective the potential use of the billions of dollars about to be released into the control of the mullahs and as the International Business Times puts it:
“Pushed by a combination of its own outdated military equipment and the formidable military buying power of its oil-rich Middle East rivals, analysts said Tehran is urgently plotting to upgrade and replace its own antiquated defense technology in favor of Russian- and Chinese-made military equipment by spending oil revenue that’s been trapped in an assortment of banks worldwide for the last three years.”
“Those options range from providing Hezbollah fighters, who are supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad in the Syrian civil war, to boosting aerospace efforts, including space-based platforms such as satellites, to advance its military into the 21st century,” according to Ariel Cohen, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, an international affairs think tank based in Washington, D.C.
It is clear that the foxes let loose by the nuclear deal are now coming home to hunt.
By Michael Tomlinson