“This deal will both threaten us and threaten our neighbors.”
— Benyamin Netanyahu
The Iran deal has rightly received scrutiny from all aspects of the political spectrum in the United States and Israel. However, the root reason why members of Congress and opinion elites have come out against the deal is pretty much one and the same. Whether one cites the 24-day wait period, sanctions relief, weapons ban lifting, or no demand for change in Iranian behavior, the underlying reason that opponents give goes something like this: The deal is bad for Israel (on which I cringe when the media reports of the lobbying efforts made by “Jewish-Americans”) and/or the deal is bad for America. I would like to introduce a third, moral, underlying reason on why this is a bad deal…It is bad for Iran.
Framing is key to how politics is played. Every major media outlet has used a variation of the phrase “nuclear agreement with Iran”. This is false; this is a nuclear agreement with the Ayatollahs. Of all the stakeholders that this deal is harmful to, it is most harmful to…Iran!
Ayatollah Khamenei is not Iran. Iran is a well-educated, vibrant, advanced nation ready to prosper at the chance for freedom. For the last 36 years, Iranians have been under the theocratic, apocalyptical control of two religious zealots who call themselves “Supreme Leader”, from 1979 to 1989 it was Ayatollah Khomeini and since then it is Ayatollah Khamenei. Under their rule, Iran has topped the list of per capita executions, tortured political prisoners, and imposed their beliefs on its people.
Ayatollahs Khomeini and Khamenei adhere to an apocalyptic perversion of Shia Islam stating that if they can create chaos in the world, the “12th Imam”, also known as “The Hidden Imam” or “Mahdi” will come down with Jesus (as a Muslim) and create righteousness in the world. This righteousness includes the extermination of all people who do not accept Mahdi. This worldview has put Iran not only at odds with the West but also their Sunni Gulf neighbors such as Saudi Arabia.
I would highly recommend Reza Kahlili’s book A Time to Betray. Mr. Kahlili is a pseudonym for an Iranian turned spy for the CIA. In this heart-wrenching book he recounts how he has seen his country transform to something unrecognizable. He heard girls being raped in Evin prison; He witnessed the coordinated storming of the American embassy, and he experienced fear for his wife and child as his country turned to something he could not comprehend.
This unrecognizable Iran would remain for the millions of Reza Kahlilis in Iran today. Here is how:
1) The Secretary of State of the world’s greatest representative government sitting down with the Ayatollah’s puppet and treating him as an equal has squashed any hope of another Green Revolution upending the Ayatollah’s dictatorship anytime soon.
2) The lifting of sanctions to “Iran” really means the pocketing of money by Khamenei and his henchmen.
3) Since this deal likely will likely create more conflict by an emboldened Iran through their proxies, who do you think will fight Iran’s current conflicts in Yemen, Syria and Iraq when an emboldened West tries to stop them, Khamenei himself?
It is obviously vital for opponents of this deal to argue that it is a bad deal for America and our allies, but I believe it is also vital to make the case, a moral case to the world, a case that the Iranian people themselves cannot make: this deal is bad for the true Iran.