Iranian president Hassan Rouhani celebrated the lifting of sanctions with a message on Twitter that read: “#ImplementationDay — I thank God for this blessing and bow to the greatness of the patient nation of Iran. Congrats on this glorious victory!”
Iran has good reason to celebrate. It has pulled off quite the triumph. It has behaved belligerently, destabilized the Middle East, and defied its international obligations, but nonetheless retained its nuclear know-how, earned praise for its upstanding international citizenry, and been rewarded with $100 billion in sanctions relief.
For the past year, the P5+1 has peddled the notion that a deal with Iran will make the world safer and more secure. It stuck to this message even as Tehran financed terrorist groups, such as Hezbollah, spent billions of dollars arming Yemen’s Houthi rebels, and bankrolled Shiite guerrillas to fight alongside Syrian government forces. Now that sanctions have been lifted, terrorists the world over have hit the jackpot.
From the outset, it was clear that decades of Iranian lies, cheating, and deception would be swept under the Persian rug. Negotiations were barely underway and the West had already conceded an Iranian ‘right’ to enrich uranium. It has long been clear to Tehran that nothing would stop the deal from progressing. The appeasement served only to encourage the regime’s aggression.
In October, Tehran test-fired a ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead. This showy and blatant violation of UN Security Council resolutions had zero ramifications. In November, Iran again tested the international community’s resolve by conducting a second ballistic missile test. The half-hearted response that followed reinforced the message that closing a deal was far more important than enforcing a deal.
In December, Iran brazenly conducted live-fire exercises into the Strait of Hormuz. One of its rockets was launched just 1,500 yards from an American navy vessel. That act of aggression didn’t even earn the Ayatollahs a slap on the wrist.
It is little wonder that the Iranians treated the 10 U.S. Navy sailors they detained not long ago as a propaganda prize. Proponents of the nuclear deal touted their swift release as proof of warm relations between Iran and the West. Suffice it to say that it is difficult to imagine a country with even tepid relations with the U.S., forcing American servicemen to their knees.
Proponents of the deal argue that the grandstanding and belligerence is merely the regime’s way of saving face and preserving its honor. Indulging Iran’s foreign policy formula of, “the more we shame, the more we gain,” doesn’t earn us their respect. Just the opposite.
Our willingness to ignore, excuse, and exonerate has left Iran dangerously richer and bolder than ever before. The world’s tyrants and terrorists have taken note. Now tell me again how the world is safer and more secure.