Under President Obama’s Iran deal, sanctions will be repealed and $100 billion to $150 billion will promptly flow into Iran’s coffers. We and many others have argued that this infusion of cash will allow the mullahs to 1) expand their support for Hezbollah and other terrorist groups around the world, and 2) cement their domestic control over Iran–control that at times has been shaky because of the economic damage inflicted by sanctions.
On PBS, John Kerry tried to answer this criticism of the deal. His answer showed, definitively, that the administration has no reply. First he said that Iran won’t use the money to support terrorism because it isn’t “allowed” to do so. He then clarified that there is nothing about this in the nuclear deal, but that existing U.N. resolutions prohibit Iran from supporting Hezbollah and other terrorists.
But wait! Existing U.N. resolutions also prohibit Iran from producing nuclear bombs. If all it takes to stop Iran is a U.N. resolution, why does the administration think we need the current agreement?
Kerry’s answer is silly, of course. As President Obama admitted in his press conference, Iran is already violating those U.N. resolutions by providing financial and material support to Hezbollah, militias in Iraq, rebels in Yemen, and others. Giving Iran’s rulers $100 to $150 billion with no strings attached obviously will allow them to step up that support for terrorism to the extent they desire to do so.
Kerry went on to add that Iran has significant domestic needs, including rebuilding its oil infrastructure. He suggested that the mullahs will put the money to such peaceful uses. I agree that some of the windfall will no doubt be spent domestically. But that is the other half of the problem: the billions in cash, plus the economic relief that will continue to flow from the removal of sanctions, will validate the mullahs’ policies and entrench their power. We should be trying to get the mullahs turned out, not helping them to perpetuate their rule.
Let’s go to the tape:
This is the argument for which the administration has no answer. It is not technical or in any way hard to understand. In my opinion, Obama’s deal would be a bad one, even if it actually delayed Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons by ten years (it won’t), because it will preserve the mullahs’ power for the foreseeable future and will enhance their ability to promote terrorism around the world.