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We are much better off if Obama stays silent.

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Obama’s Phony Iran Dilemma

We are much better off if Obama stays silent.

The Washington Post headline said it all: “U.S. Struggling for Right Response to Iran.” The report posed a mythical dilemma (probably thought up by the White House), to which the Post lent its furrowed brow.

“The political unrest in Iran presents the Obama administration with a dilemma: keep quiet to pursue a nuclear deal with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s supreme leader, or heed calls to respond more supportively to the protesters there — and risk alienating the Shiite cleric.”

There are three parts to that leading graf, which combine Obama’s ignorance of Iran with the Post’s puppy love for their president. Each in turn, please.

The political unrest in Iran doesn’t present a dilemma: it presents an opportunity. If, as it appears, there is a more significant rebellion against the kakistocracy that runs Iran than there has been since it took power in 1979, this is a time for America to do everything it can to cause that regime to be replaced by one that will not be a sponsor of terrorism. Remember, dear reader, that even our somnolent State Department labels Iran the principal terror sponsor on the planet.

It is President Obama’s duty — to America and to the world — to encourage the demonstrators to change their nation and empower themselves.

The false dilemma posed is to pretend that if we don’t say anything unkind about Khamenei and his lot, they might think more kindly toward us and negotiate themselves out of their nuclear weapons program. (Even Mohammed el-Baradei, the recent head of the U.N.’s purblind nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, said Wednesday that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons technology. Presumably, under waterboarding, el-Baradei might admit that the reason Iran wants “nuclear weapons technology” is that it wants to build nuclear weapons.)

And both the Post and Obama are willfully ignorant of the past eight years, most of which were wasted by the “EU-3” — Britain, France and Germany — in negotiations with Iran designed to get them to give up their nuclear program. At every turn, even the EUnuchs — desperate to gain an agreement at any price — were unable to make progress.

If Obama or the Post cared, they could do a little research on Iran’s diplomacy. If they did, they’d find that none — zip, zero, zilch — of the Western powers that have tried to engage Iran have succeeded in changing its behavior one whit in the last thirty years.

And if the President believes that he can gain political chips with Ali Khamenei by being nice to him, he should read this. It’s an excerpt from a speech he gave in March 2005 to thousands of high schoolers gathered as members of Islamic student associations.

"You can see that some 26 years after the revolution, the Iranian people still chant the slogan of ‘death to America’. This is because they know that if they become neglectful of the plots being hatched against them by the global arrogance, they will surely suffer from those plots.

“In fact, the ‘death to America’ that is chanted by our people is similar to the phrase “I seek the protection of Allah against the cursed Satan,” which is recited at the beginning of each Qur’anic chapter before “In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.” What is the reason for seeking the protection of Allah from the cursed Satan? It is for the believers not to forget the presence of the Satan, not to forget even for a single moment that the Satan is ready to attack them and destroy the spiritual fortifications that protect their belief.

“In the same manner, ‘death to America’ is also meant for the Iranian nation not to forget that the world’s hegemonic powers who formerly had great interests in this country and who lost those interests because of the Islamic Revolution are always trying to once again secure those interests and increase their wealth at the cost of hindering our country’s progress and destroying the bright prospects of our talented youngsters.”

(If you think that’s an aberration, please see my book, In the Words of Our Enemies, for more than you’ll be able to stomach.)

So President Obama thinks he’s going to gain the confidence and friendship of a man who believes it is a religious duty to shout “death to America” and teaches that hatred for America by requiring his people to shout along with him.

Just what would lead Obama to that conclusion? Why will he succeed with a smile when the EUnuch-3 failed by offering huge international bribes?

Sorry, Mr. President. Ali Khamenei is your enemy and you can’t charm that snake.

Finally, and most importantly, what nuclear deal remains to be done? In his Cairo speech, Obama said that the United States will not object to Iran’s “peaceful” pursuit of nuclear power:

I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons. That is why I strongly reaffirmed America’s commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons. And any nation — including Iran — should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

In Obama’s Lennon-like airy, dreamy world with no nuclear weapons, there would be a competent, trustworthy inspector of nuclear sites, no nuclear secrets and no despots lying and refusing to cooperate — as Iran has, consistently, since 1981 — about their nuclear programs. If Obama charms him enough, maybe Ali Khamenei will join him in a chorus of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”

Who, Mr. Obama, will ensure that Iran is telling the truth and cooperating comprehensively with nuclear inspectors? No one can, of course. Obama has green-lighted Iran’s nuclear weapons and effectively said that we’ll do nothing to prevent its success.

Perhaps it is better for him to remain silent and not help the Iranian protesters, because his message is entirely inconsistent with theirs. He is happy to appease the mullahs and let them go their merry nuclear way regardless of how they threaten our security or how they oppress the people of Iran.

The protesters want to be free. Obama doesn’t care whether they are free or slaves to the world’s principal sponsor of terrorism. There’s no dilemma here for our president. If only there were.  If Mr. Obama were able to see what history, culture and the regime’s ambitions make Iran, he might be able to see how the protestors’ and our interests coincide, and act on that conclusion.

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Written By

Mr. Babbin is the former editor of Human Events and HumanEvents.com (Jan 2007-Mar 2010) and served as a deputy undersecretary of defense in President George H.W. Bush's administration. He is the author of "In the Words of our Enemies"(Regnery,2007) and (with Edward Timperlake) of "Showdown: Why China Wants War with the United States" (Regnery, 2006) and "Inside the Asylum: Why the UN and Old Europe are Worse than You Think" (Regnery, 2004).

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