This past weekend The New York Times Magazine published an in-depth look at Ben Rhodes, the national security advisor staffer who spearheaded the communications effort to pass the Iranian nuclear deal.
The fallout from that article has been dramatic as critics of the deal claim validation of the falsehoods perpetuated by Rhodes and his close working relationship with the Iran lobby and regime supporters, including the very leadership in Iran that was characterized as “hardline.”
Meanwhile the Iran lobby has been working furiously to change the narrative and denounce the New Times piece and condemn Samuels, even though the piece appeared to be written as a glorified puff piece in which Rhodes took a boastful pride in his accomplishments in pulling the collective wool over everyone’s eyes.
Actor Kevin Spacey who plays President Frank Underwood in the Netflix series “House of Cards” has a memorable line about hubris: “We’re all victims of our own hubris at times.”
Rhodes seems to be living that truth right now as he frantically back peddles from his statements.
“Every press corps that I interacted with vetted that deal as extensively as any other foreign policy initiative of the presidency,” Rhodes wrote on Medium.
“A review of the press from that period will find plenty of tough journalism and scrutiny. We had to answer countless questions about every element of the deal and our broader Iran policy from reporters.”
Rhodes’ Medium post was a far cry from his gleeful, football-spiking words about vanquishing the press.
The defense of Rhodes and the nuclear deal was on display with a hastily placed editorial by Joe Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund, in Politico, in which he sought to validate the nuclear deal with the same “echo chamber” of false experts Rhodes described in the Times article.
The fact that Cirincione led the defense should come as no surprise since Ploughshares Fund was a heavy participant in the Iran lobby and even gave money to the National Iranian American Council, the central lobbying group for the Iranian regime’s policies.
Like the proverbial kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar, Rhodes is out there now trying to walk back his comments, but the damage has already been done. The truth is out. The Iran nuclear deal was a fraud and for the critics of the deal who warned of empowering the mullahs in Tehran, the past few months have been of that concern.
Hossein Salami, deputy commander of the regime’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, warned in a recent Persian-language interview that the Islamic state would not hesitate to block U.S. entry to the Strait of Hormuz, which is the only passage from the Persian Gulf to the open seas.
Salami claimed that the U.S. military fears Iran’s navy, which recently has bolstered forces to directly combat American forces in the region.
“The [Americans] believe that our navy is dangerous. Indeed, that is true,” Salami was quoted as saying in a Farsi-language interview with Iranian state-controlled television that was subsequently translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, which monitors regional reports.
Additionally, the regime to cover up yet another missile test of an illegal ballistic missile in violation of United Nations sanctions. Brigadier General Ali Abdollahi, the Iranian military’s deputy chief of staff, told Iran’s Tasnim news agency that Iran fired the test missile two weeks ago and that it was accurate to within 25 feet, which he described as zero error.
“We can guide this ballistic missile,” he told Tasnim. Iran has previously asserted it has such missile capability. Its 1,250 mile range puts most of the Middle East and parts of southern Europe within its sights.
Obama administration critics blamed the White House for what one, Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.), called “Iran’s growing belligerence in the aftermath of the reckless Iran nuclear deal.”
Mr. McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, also said the Obama administration has overlooked other acts of Iranian aggression, including previous launches and the detention of U.S. sailors by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps earlier this year. The U.S. said later that its sailors had crossed into Iranian waters by mistake.
In Syria, the Iranian regime continued to face mounting losses of soldiers as Syrian rebels make gains against Iranian backed forces, including the reported capture of half a dozen Iranian soldiers.
According to the latest numbers, 13 defenders of the shrine were killed, 18 were wounded and five to six were captured,” Esmail Kosari, chairman of the Iranian parliament’s defense committee, was quoted as saying by the Mizan Online news agency.
The reversals on the battlefield, the admission of the untruths around the nuclear deal and the stalled Iranian economy have eaten away at the support for mullahs such as the top leader Ali Khamenei who finds it necessary to crackdown harder on internal dissent in order to snuff out resistance to his rule.
That toughened approach was echoed by Sayyed Yousef Tabatabaeinejad, who claimed in an interview with AhlulBayt News Agency that Muslims the world over should be emulating the events that brought about Iran’s own revolution in 1979 and called for more violence in pursuit of a revolutionary form of Islam.
Tabatabaeinejad currently serves as Khamenei’s representative in a province of Iran called Esfahan. He lashed out at the false idea that Muslims should accept oppression as a survival strategy without using violence in response.
For Tabatabaeinejad, this extremist view on Islam is baked into the Iranian constitution and is not just about praying and fasting. The warrior spirit also mandates fighting against “Islam”’s enemies.
By Michael Tomlinson