As a career intelligence officer I understand that the world around us in often seen in shifting shades of gray partially obscured by a fog of uncertainty and ambiguity. I also know that sometimes that fog lifts, and all is revealed in the crystal clear light of day. Such was the moment, late last month, when we learned that two agents of influence working on behalf of the Iranian regime, Seyed Mousavian and Trita Parsi, had visited the White House no fewer than thirty-three times during the critical period when the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was being negotiated.
Mr. Mousavian is a former Iranian diplomat and head of Iran’s national security council. He served as Iran’s spokesman during negotiations with the international community on the Iran deal. Mr. Mousavian was also Iran’s ambassador to Germany during the 1990’s at a time when a series of high-profile assassinations of Iranian dissidents were carried out by Iranian intelligence all across Europe. Mousavian visited the White House at least three times and according to the White House visitor logs, assisted in helping the White House craft its pro-Iran messaging and talking points in favor of the JCPOA.
Mr. Parsi is the head of an organization known as the National Iranian Council. While Mr. Parsi attempts to cast his organization as one working on behalf of the Iranian people, it is in fact a mouthpiece for the regime in Tehran. Parsi visited the White House thirty times and met privately with President Obama’s advisor Ben Rhodes, Vice-President Biden’s national security advisor Colin Kahl, the National Security Council’s director for Iran, legislative liaisons and other officials.
Ever since the outlines of the JCPOA became clear I have struggled to understand how an American government could agree to its terms. Having imposed crippling sanctions on the world’s largest sponsor of terrorism and brought it to its knees, how could we end those sanctions, dismantle the coalition that supported them and turn the Iranians loose to enrich themselves and spread chaos across the Middle East? How could we agree to terms so weak and unenforceable as to give us no reasonable expectation that we would be able to prevent the Iranians from acquiring nuclear weapons? How could we enter into negotiations in the first place without ever requiring the Iranians to come clean regarding decades of lies and secret WMD programs?
The answers to all those questions are now clear. We did not negotiate a deal with Tehran. A negotiation involves two parties with differing interests. It involves compromise. It involves the balancing of considerations, some degree of give and take and an effort to find middle ground acceptable to both parties.
The “negotiations” regarding the JCPOA were nothing of the kind. This was rather an elaborate stage play, put on for the benefit of the public and the Congress, and the Iranians wrote the lines. Our White House did not serve the interests of the American people and save us from war, as Obama would have us believe. It took its direction from Tehran and it sold an agreement to the American people who served only the interests of the mullahs in Tehran.
The Iran nuclear deal will not stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. God willing President Trump, understanding that, will either abrogate its terms or force a major renegotiation of them. If not, we will likely learn five or ten years down the road that the Iranians have nuclear weapons when one is detonated at a remote test site and a public announcement is made.
We do not have to wait that long, however, to begin to feel the catastrophic effects of this disastrous agreement. Already, freed from sanctions and flush with cash, the Iranians are spreading chaos across the Middle East. Iraq is rapidly becoming a client state of Tehran. Lebanon has long since become a puppet of Hezbollah, a creature of Tehran. Yemen has been set ablaze by Houthi rebels armed and trained by Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Nor are the Iranians content with this degree of influence. Afghan officials have reported in recent days that rockets being fired by the Taliban, which were recovered after failing to detonate, bore clear markings indicating that they were recently manufactured inside Iran. Those same kinds of rockets will no doubt be fired in the near future at the hundreds of Marines being surged into Helmand province to try to stabilize the deteriorating security situation there. Unless we are remarkably lucky, some of those rockets will find their mark, and some of those Marines will be coming home to military funerals courtesy of the Tehran regime.
I have thought since the signing of the JCPOA that it was a terrible, almost incomprehensible, agreement. I realize now, that determination was purely a matter of perspective. The JCPOA was a very good deal for the people who wrote it, the Iranians.
Featured image courtesy of BBC