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Phares Book Exposes the Deal Behind the Iran Nuclear Deal


Commentary

Middle East strategist, expert, and author Walid Phares explains why the United States went from slamming Iran as part of the “Axis of Evil” in former President George W. Bush’s 2002 State of the Union Address to a nuclear deal that Iran had no intention of honoring in 2015 with the signing of the the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

His new book “Iran: An Imperialist Republic and U.S. Policy” provides an incisive look at what the late radio personality Paul Harvey used to call “the rest of the story.”

The rest of the story is how and why the Obama administration threw an olive branch at Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei in June 2009. Iran’s opposition, which received modest support from George W. Bush’s administration, was abandoned in favor of the rhetoric fueled by American pro-regime academics, think tanks, corporations, and lobbyists. Phares calls this coalition of American apologists for the Iranian regime the “Iran Lobby,” which proved extremely effective during the Obama years and with Joe Biden’s accession to the presidency in 2021.

“Companies that are fishing for sizeable multi-million or multi-billion sub deals would become the natural lobbies for passing the agreement in the United States and worldwide. Many interested entities in the deal, such as media consultancies, outreaches, lobbying firms, academic institutions, and online resource groups would seek to receive funding in return for promoting and legitimizing the accord,” Phares writes.

Academics also had a strong influence promoting regime disinformation in Washington.

Until Barack Obama became president in 2009, Republicans and Democrats held a general consensus that the Islamic Republic of Iran was a nefarious force in the Middle East since the 1979 revolution.

The Iranian regime adopted a propaganda campaign. It created a false front of “moderation” beginning with former President Mohammad Khatami, who Phares notes was described as the “Mikhail Gorbachev of Iran.” Iran played the “Good Cop”/”Bad Cop” game with Khatami as the “Good Cop.” This distracted attention from what Iran’s regime did in the face of the 1999 protests against its rule and continued support for terrorism.

The Clinton administration listed the Mohajdeen al-Khalq (MEK) as a State Department-designated terrorist organization due to this propaganda campaign. However, the official stance against Iran remained unchanged overall.

The Iranian regime created a strategy prior to the Iraq invasion of building a Shiite empire stretching westward from its borders through Iraq, Syria, and into Lebanon under the control of its proxies. The U.S. decision to invade Iraq proved fateful because it gave Iran the upper hand in achieving this long-term goal. Iranian allies replaced Saddam in Baghdad, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force achieved a foothold in Iraq where it trained Shiite militias controlled by Iran. The Assad regime, belonging to the Alawite Shiite sect, remained closely aligned to Tehran. And both provided support to Iran’s Lebanese proxy Hizballah.

The seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979 along with the ensuing 444-day hostage crisis as well as the 1983 Beirut Marine barracks bombing by the Iranian-backed Hizballah militia left policymakers wary. Americans in Iraq came under attack by Iranian improvised-explosive devices following the 2003 invasion.

After Obama’s election the bipartisan consensus that Iran was a menace that had to be confronted dissolved. The 2009 Green Revolution went ignored in Washington by an administration desirous of obtaining a nuclear deal at all costs. These costs included steps like alienating Israel, letting Hizballah’s terrorist and drug enterprise off the hook, and demonizing anyone who dared to oppose the deal as enemies of peace.

Phares contrasts the Obama administration’s support of the brutal theocratic regime during the 2009 Green Revolution with the support it gave the Muslim Brotherhood during and after the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings. In contrast, the Obama administration condemned the human-rights abuses of the largely secular regimes of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt; Muammar Gaddafi in Libya; Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen; and Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

Phares notes that the “Iran Lobby” began during the Bush years with a push to pressure that administration to disarm armed resistance against the Tehran regime. The Iran Lobby poisoned the well for the anti-regime resistance by spreading the trope in Washington that they were too divided among themselves to offer a credible alternative. They were divided among monarchists, the MEK, nationalists, liberals, and other exiled factions, Phares writes.

U.S. government media Al-Hurra-TV, Radio Sawa, and Radio Free Iraq had to refrain from criticism of the Iranian regime. Obama’s CIA Director John Brennan spoke of “moderates” in Hizballah that were distinct from what he called its “terrorist core.”

Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes helped create an “echo chamber” to sell the deal to inexperienced reporters at mainstream media outlets. Rhodes and his assistant Ned Price, now Joe Biden’s State Department spokesman, spoon-fed propagandistic talking points. Consequently, the Obama administration brought the mullahs in from the cold and ended their isolation.

Phares writes the “Iran Lobby” and its connections with the Iranian regime became clear during the P5+1 nuclear talks in Geneva, Switzerland, in June 2015.

The mullahs won a major propaganda victory following the rise of ISIS as it positioned itself and its terrorist armies as antidotes to ISIS, which occupied an area the size of the United Kingdom at its height in 2015.

Iran’s regime won control over Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon along with commitments that it would receive all or part of the Iranian asset frozen worldwide; a commitment that Hizballah would be delisted from the American terror list; and a commitment that it could keep its nuclear technology.

The Obama administration let Tehran get away with allowing 6,000 nuclear centrifuges to keep spinning for 10 years.

The Iran nuclear deal also paved the way for the abandonment of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in their war against Iranian-backed Houthi Shiite militias, a policy shift endorsed by the Muslim Brotherhood and its Western supporters. Iran used the $150 billion it received to fund its terror activities in the Middle East and subversion elsewhere.

Former President Donald Trump killed the Iran deal after becoming president, but the deal’s supporters were out for blood. Trump particularly outraged the “Iran Lobby’ with the strike that killed Quds Force commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani, which it condemned because he was a “prominent military commander and a hero in Iran.”

He argues the latest uprising is unique because it’s led by Iran’s women. He calls on the Biden administration to stand on the side of the people of Iran against their oppressors.

Phares concludes by saying that fantasies about being able to work with the Iranian regime should be abandoned and that the world should get behind the oppressed and suffering people of Iran.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

John Rossomando

John Rossomando is a senior analyst for defense policy at the Center for Security Policy and served as senior analyst for counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years.



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