Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Photo: Handout via Reuters
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Photo: Handout via Reuters

Another damning revelation was recently brought to light over the deal former US president Barack Obama negotiated with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The latest discovery revealed that Iran will soon launch two brand-new domestic satellites into space, which is likely cover for the test-firing of advanced intercontinental-ballistic-missile (ICBM) technology that could be used as part of Iran’s nuclear program, according to US national-security insiders.

Not surprisingly, Iran continues, in defiance of the P5 +1 nuclear agreement, to test ballistic-missile technology, tests that coincide with North Korea’s provocative moves. Tehran and Pyongyang have allegedly been partners in illegal sales of missile technology and arms on the black market for years, but now they are mirroring each other in their advancement of ICBM capability.

Obama should be asked under oath why he made a nuclear deal with Iran knowing that country’s dubious history. Further, if he and his national-security officials knew there was collusion between Iran and North Korea, why continue a so-called nuclear deal while implementing “strategic patience” with the North Koreans? This is when conspiracy theorists come out of the woodwork, but no one is asking these questions of the former US president. Instead, he should be called in front of Congress and made to testify over the consequences of Iranian actions.

Ironically, sanctions against Iran were working: It was getting desperate for hard currency, its oil industry was in shambles, and the economic situation for most of the Iranian people was in a free fall until Obama came to the rescue. But why would he do this, knowing that history would judge him on these actions that could see the sponsor of Hezbollah, Hamas and other terrorists across the world acquire ICBMs capable of hitting the US or, at the very least, Israel?

Now Iran is flush with billions in post-sanctions relief from the US to “engage in an unprecedented military buildup meant to transform the Islamic Republic’s fighting force into an offensive juggernaut”, according to conservative publication the Washington Free Beacon. President Hassan Rouhani announced in late April that the Iranian military’s budget had increased by 145%. Iran now has the ability to project power outside of its borders for the first time since the Islamic Revolution. The consequences are frightening. To believe Obama didn’t know dealing with Iran could backfire defies reason.

The Harvard-educated, erudite president must have had a briefing from national-security advisers giving plausible reasons for how this could happen. The point needs to be reiterated: Should Obama be held liable for treason over the Iran nuclear deal? Because under the current Iranian regime, there is no way this ends well, and Rouhani is seen as a moderate.

The most troubling aspect of the entire agreement and now its ramifications are that the Iranians got to stay on their weapons-grade-enrichment path while economic sanctions were lifted. Iran keeps its nuclear program, recoups billions in frozen assets, and never has to enter peaceful existence with the US and its allies. This is the equivalent of Japan and Germany being able to be rebuild after World War II, but never having to change. That scenario played out after the First World War, which led to the second.

Iran can use this false deal for as long as it’s strategically useful, because it does not have to change. With the world’s leftists trying to undo Brexit and the election of US President Donald Trump, the Iranians are laughing all the way to nuclear weapons and a revived economy. Meanwhile the Germans stood by and did nothing to deter the Iranians before or after the deal and other Europeans reaped billions in economic benefits from the P5 + 1 deal without having to make any hard changes, compromises or security overhauls.

Yet many still believe Obama knew nothing at all while believing it is in the best interest of the US and its European and Asian allies to allow Iran to flourish while hiding an ICBM program, growing its military and booming economically. The former president should be made to testify to what he strategically and tactically thought when he put the world on this path of appeasement with Iran.

Expect Obama as he re-engages in domestic and international politics to double down on the virtues of the agreement while Iran strengthens Hamas and Hezbollah – both allegedly Iranian war-making proxies – instead of owning his disastrous mistake. Shiite Iran will use its unvarnished diplomatic recognition to “fund more terrorism [and] offer more provocations to Israel and the Sunni Gulf States”, as historian Victor Davis Hanson wrote in 2013.

Saeed Ghasseminejad, research fellow and expert on the Iranian regime at Washington-based think-tank the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, believes the Trump administration should impose new sanctions on Iran in specific industries related to its military buildup and nuclear program. These sanctions should target the country’s petrochemical, mining and metallurgy, telecommunications, automotive, oil and gas and electronic industries, Ghasseminejad has been quoted as saying.

The world learned the lesson of appeasement when Obama backed down to the Iranians in Syria, which only reinforced President Bashar al-Assad’s violence toward his own people. While the US begged for restraint and asked the feckless United Nations for assistance, Iran (after the nuclear deal) along with Russia swooped into Syria and the US lost influence and deterrence capability and projected weakness. The North Koreans were certainly watching and capitalized on this feebleness.

Former US secretary of state George Schultz has called the relationship between the US and Iran “troubled”, and given the lies that predicated the nuclear deal, it is staggering not even to consider launching an investigation into Obama, John Kerry and the US negotiating delegation. Even some in the French administration reportedly thought Obama was naïve and that the US Congress should scuttle the deal.

The lesson to be learned is  that once you capitulate to a foe, your foe dominates. Restraining the Iranians will be as hard as regaining the deterrence lost under the presidency of Barack Obama.

Todd Royal

Todd Royal has a master's in public policy from Pepperdine University and has worked for Duke University. He is published by the U.S. Library of Congress on hydraulic fracturing and the geopolitical implications of expanded US oil and gas production. He is a consultant and writer on international geopolitical strategy, energy, and US state and local government.

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