NO HOLDS BARRED: American shame and the Iran nuclear deal

I grew up in 1970s and ‘80s America. It was a time inspired by soaring declarations of America as guarantor of liberty and guardian of freedom, best captured in JFK’s unforgettable inaugural address: “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

Kennedy’s declaration was not only followed by Reagan’s declaration of the Soviet Union as an evil empire, but even led Jimmy Carter to withdraw from the Moscow Olympics in protest at the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. America as a guarantor of liberty was echoed by George H.W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq to liberate Kuwait, and by his son’s invasion of Iraq to unseat a dictator.

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We can debate the pros and cons of these presidential actions, but what cannot be disputed was the image of America as the great citadel of liberty.

Then came president Barack Obama and Iran nuclear deal. Few things have shamed America more. The Obama administration is history, but its dishonorable deal lives on.

The Iran agreement betrayed America’s core values by emboldening a regime that was guilty of the full trifecta of being at once the world’s foremost sponsor of terrorism, a brutal oppressor of its own people and aiding and abetting genocide in Syria while promising a genocide of the Jews in Israel.

It’s now clear just how disastrous the deal was. Iran has not moderated its behavior in the slightest and has in fact become much more belligerent. Iran is a party to the deployment of poison gas against children in Douma and Aleppo. It is fomenting unrest and civil war in Yemen and Lebanon and destabilizing the entire Middle East.

In short, president Obama’s deal provoked the opposite response of what he promised. Iran has gone more rogue.

It gives me no comfort to attack the government of a country where my ancestors lived for generations. My father is from Isfahan and Iranian culture, food and music is central to his life to this day. I would never have believed that a nation that harbored a Jewish community for millennia would foster a regime that is the most antisemitic since Nazi Germany.

The Khameini regime is a blight on Persian history and on decency itself. It’s sickening to see a government comprised of vile men who have no shame in threatening a nation that suffered a holocaust just 70 years ago with another one today. Is this really what Iran has come to? But while we often focus on what the Khameini regime says about Iran, we don’t focus enough on what Obama’s deal says about America.

Since when does America do deals with governments that regularly threaten to annihilate a persecuted ethnic minority? Since when does America pay billions to regimes that slaughter their own people and bullies their neighbors? I lost many friends over the Iran nuclear agreement, people I loved who were elected officials and who had the opportunity to do something about the deal but succumbed to president Obama’s pressure instead. I was amazed that congressmen and senators who voted for the deal could not even muster the decency to demand that their vote be contingent on Iran ceasing to threaten the Jews with annihilation. Seeing Iran’s murderous behavior, especially in Syria where so many innocent Muslims have been slaughtered and gassed to death, I wonder how those lawmakers feel today? Now, President Donald Trump has the chance to kill the Iran deal once and for all. It would be a historic event should he choose to do so.

Obama was a moral man with an amoral foreign policy.

He turned a blind eye to repeated threats of genocide against Israel and even sent plane-loads of cash to the mullahs, knowing full well that some of that untraceable money would be used to murder innocents.

Obama also chose to do absolutely nothing in Syria, failing even to pass a UN resolution condemning the slaughter because Russia and China blocked him.

President Trump, by contrast, is accused by all his critics of having an amoral personal life. I wonder if those same critics will acknowledge his highly moral foreign policy.

Trump has twice attacked Assad for gassing Arab children. US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has reversed decades of anti-Israelism and antisemitism at the UN. Trump’s special adviser on Israel Jason Greenblatt and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman have held the Palestinian Authority accountable for grotesque antisemitism, especially the speech by PA President Mahmoud Abbas last week where he said that Jewish usury and banking was the cause of the Holocaust.

The administration has shown North Korea that bark as it might, America will not concede to bully tactics.

Aggression and mass murder is no longer being overlooked by the United States of America.

Now, it falls on President Trump to continue with a moral foreign policy by killing the Iran nuclear agreement once and for all. It deserves to die not just because of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s disclosures of boldfaced Iranian lies, for years, about developing nuclear weapons. Not just because Iran has violated the agreement repeatedly with ballistic missile tests – often with antisemitic slogans and threatening messages written on the missiles.

No, it deserves to die because it was a farce to begin with. Iran never needed a nuclear program for domestic energy or scientific purposes. Iran is an oil superpower and needs nuclear energy as much as I, a rabbi, need a ham sandwich.

That president Obama and his secretary of state John Kerry – whose legacies have been marred by Syria and Iran – could not see this clearly speaks to how badly their administration needed a single great foreign policy success and what they would do to achieve it.

The Iran nuclear agreement is immoral and dangerous.

It rewards a genocidal regime with billions and billions of dollars, much of which will go to further foment Middle East mayhem. Its sunset provisions allows an ideological and expansionist regime to build nuclear weapons in about a decade and threaten the peace not just of the a region but the world. It legitimizes a vile regime which stones women to death, hangs gays, shoots citizens in the street and exports terrorism.

It’s time to kill the deal and save the peace of the world.

President Trump, history is calling.

The author, “America’s rabbi,” whom The Washington Post calls “the most famous rabbi in America” is the international best-selling author of 31 books, including his most recent, The Israel Warrior. Follow him on Twitter @ RabbiShmuley.