Sympathy for the mullahs

Iran has been at war with the United States since the ascent of the mullahcracy in 1979. They held American hostages for 444 days in 1979-81, until Ronaldus Magnus was sworn in. On Reagan’s watch, however, the mullahs upped the ante, dispatching their Hezbollah subsidiary to murder 242 Marines in Beirut in 1983. The Iranians have kept right at it, murdering and maiming many of our fellow Americans in the Middle East and plotting to conduct terrorist operations on our doorstep in Washington, DC.

Nevertheless, the Obama administration has now arrived at a farcical Joint Plan of Action with Iran in Geneva. Obama’s long dash to appeasement is on the verge of fruition.

Obama talked about the putative agreement at his year-end press conference this past Friday with the usual ratio of verbiage to truth (White House transcript here). Obama expressed hostility to Congress’s imposition of sanctions to kick in at a date certain down the road if things don’t work out. Obama sympathizes with the mullahs’ purported frame of mind:

I’m not surprised that there’s been some talk from some members of Congress about new sanctions — I think the politics of trying to look tough on Iran are often good when you’re running for office or if you’re in office. But as President of the United States right now, who’s been responsible over the last four years, with the help of Congress, in putting together a comprehensive sanctions regime that was specifically designed to put pressure on them and bring them to the table to negotiate — what I’m saying to them, what I’ve said to the international community, and what I’ve said to the American people is let’s test it. Now is the time to try to see if we can get this thing done.

And I’ve heard some logic that says, well, Mr. President, we’re supportive of the negotiations, but we think it’s really useful to have this club hanging over Iran’s head. Well, first of all, we still have the existing sanctions already in place that are resulting in Iran losing billions of dollars every month in lost oil sales. We already have banking and financial sanctions that are still being applied even as the negotiations are taking place. It’s not as if we’re letting up on that.

I’ve heard arguments, well, but this way we can be assured and the Iranians will know that if negotiations fail even new and harsher sanctions will be put into place. Listen, I don’t think the Iranians have any doubt that Congress would be more than happy to pass more sanctions legislation. We can do that in a day, on a dime. But if we’re serious about negotiations, we’ve got to create an atmosphere in which Iran is willing to move in ways that are uncomfortable for them and contrary to their ideology and rhetoric and their instincts and their suspicions of us. And we don’t help get them to a position where we can actually resolve this by engaging in this kind of action.

To Obama, expressions of sympathy toward these murderous bastards come naturally. They roll off his tongue. His sympathy for the mullahs is to be contrasted with his disdain for homegrown politicos allegedly consumed with “the politics of trying to look tough[.]” Obama stands above all that.

The thought that Obama must move the mullahs beyond their comfort zone to deal with him is almost funny. They have his number.

In Geneva on Sunday, according to the AP, Iran foreign minister Mohammad Zarif urged the world powers to avoid “troublemaking” issues as expert-level talks continue over its contested nuclear program. Looking like a guy well inside his comfort zone, Zarif made the comment in a joint news conference with Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino (photo below).


Zarif also expressed hope the talks will conclude “sooner or later,” though he said the current expert-level talks in Geneva are “slowly” moving forward. “All parties should avoid addressing issues that could be troublemaking,” Zarif said. Let it be noted that Obama and Zarif are on the same wavelength.


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