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Worse than Benedict Arnold, Obama in League with the Enemy

A lump sum of $1.7 billion from assets frozen under President Jimmy Carter went straight into the budget of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard to help it upgrade its adventures in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

By Amir Taheri | New York Post

For more than a year, pundits have wondered what the “once-in-a-lifetime” deal that President Barack Obama claims he has made with Iran was really about.

It now seems certain that there really was no deal: Obama merely danced around the nuclear issue.

What he wanted was a smoke screen behind which he could help the Iranian theocracy negotiate its way out of a severe political and economic crisis in exchange for endorsing Obama’s claim that he had prevented “yet another war” in the Middle East. He wanted a photo op with another long-time enemy of the US, another Nobel Prize — or at least justification for the one he already has.

He failed on all fronts.

“Iran’s nuclear program remains intact,” asserts Ali-Akbar Saleh, the man who heads the Iran Atomic Energy Agency. “We have done nothing that could not be undone with the turn of a screw.”

To hammer in the point further, Iran recently tested a new generation of missiles which, because of their long range and small payload, only make sense if they carry nuclear warheads.

In exchange for vague promises, Obama has solved the Islamic Republic’s cash-flow problem by releasing unknown quantities of frozen assets. At least some of those assets took the form of hard cash flown to Tehran via Beirut in sealed safes, all in secret. Part of the cash, the Wall Street Journal revealed, appears to have been $400 million for the release of four hostages held by the mullahs — disregarding United States policy not to pay ransom. Iran wasted no time seizing six new American hostages.

In fact, since its inception in 1979, the mullahs’ regime has not spent a single day without at least one American hostage.

A lump sum of $1.7 billion from assets frozen under President Jimmy Carter went straight into the budget of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard to help it upgrade its adventures in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.

This time last year, President Hassan Rouhani was talking of “the greatest diplomatic victory in the history of Islam” while Islamic Security was busy organizing “spontaneous demonstrations” to mark the triumphal moment. Rouhani’s entourage was spreading rumors that he may be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, while his brother, Hussein Fereidoun, supervised the erection of the president’s bust in their native village of Sorkheh.

For its part, the Obama administration conducted an elaborate hoax to sell the Congress, the media and, beyond them, the public at large a bill of goods which was to be exposed by the president’s own advisers a few months later.

This year, of course, there were no “spontaneous demonstrations” and, if the reports we get are correct, no one is even cleaning the graffiti left by pigeons on the president’s triumphal bust in Sorkheh.

Rouhani had promised that the “deal” would mark the start of a new era of economic prosperity and international acceptability. To keep that myth alive, he traveled to a dozen capitals, some in the West, and played host to dignitaries from some 60 different countries, who rushed to Tehran as if it were the new Eldorado. To give the hyped comings and goings a simulacrum of substance, Rouhani and his entourage announced putative trade agreements with 30 countries worth more than $400 billion. A year later, not a single one of those “announcements” had been elevated to the level of a real contract.

Instead, Tehran has signed a series of contracts to buy more weapons from Russia. Rouhani is preparing to meet Vladimir Putin on Aug. 8 to discuss “joint efforts to stabilize the Middle East,” according to Tehran media.

However, not everyone fell for the elaborate hoax worked out by Obama. Some of us noted right from the start that the only deal made was about the method of circumventing the US Congress and the Iranian ersatz parliament (Majlis).

Once the hoax was exposed, Obama and his “New York Boys” in Tehran — Iranian politicians who were largely educated in the US, many of whom served at Iran’s UN office in New York, and were considered to be “reformers’’ — tried to promote a new narrative. They were going to transform Iran from an international pariah into a “constructive partner” for the United States.

The second act was to produce a crushing victory for the New York Boys, their strings pulled by former President Hashemi Rafsanjani’s faction, giving them control of the Assembly of Experts and the Islamic Consultative Assembly.

When elections did take place, the hoped-for second act turned out quite differently. While there were signals that many voters were fed up with the whole caboodle of the Khomeinist regime, there was no indication that the New York Boys had secured a constituency of their own.

The third act was supposed to see the New York Boys reining in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and starting to change the Islamic Republic’s behavior. John Kerry, the US secretary of state and one of the most totally clueless diplomats I have seen in 50 years of journalism, believed that his 100-plus meetings with Muhammad Javad Zarif, one of the “New York Boys” acting as foreign minister for the mullahs, would transform the Khomeinist wolf into a lamb.

A year after the hyped-up “deal,” what was known in Western chancelleries as “The Iran Problem” remains intact. In Tehran we have a regime that cannot liberate itself from its dangerous illusions and continues to behave like a rebellious teenager who refuses to grow up.

It tries to make the rest of the Middle East like itself because it is afraid of being forced to become like the rest of the Middle East.

Obama simply kicked the ticking can down the road for his successor.

Obama’s trompe-l’oeil “deal” was to open the way for a photo-op blitz-visit to Tehran in his last year as president, the same way he visited Cuba.

That is not going to happen. “Barack in Iran” isn’t the new “Nixon in China” — “A Tale of Two Liars” is more accurate.

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