By Ed Royce



We’ve reached peak farce. On Friday, while signaling yet another extension of the Iran nuclear negotiations, Secretary of State John Kerry struck an optimistic note: “I think it’s safe to say that we have made progress today.” “The atmosphere,” he added, “is very constructive.”

But while Secretary Kerry haggles over “constructive” Iranian demands at the Vienna negotiating table demands of a different sort were playing out at Iranian regime orchestrated rallies on the streets of Tehran.

Friday was “Quds Day,” an annual spectacle of racist propaganda promoted by the Iranian government, where tens of thousands of regime-sponsored supporters march through the streets chanting “Death to Israel” and “Death to America.” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is promising to “continue combating the arrogant power,” –that is, the U.S.– no matter the results of the nuclear negotiations. Meanwhile, everyday Iranians supportive of true reform are on the run, abandoned by the administration.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry called for ‘resistance’ as the only way for the Palestinians to ‘liberate their motherland.’ It doesn’t take much to figure out that Iran is once again calling for the annihilation of Israel. After all, Iran’s elite ‘Quds Force’ has transferred funds to Hamas to rebuild a network of tunnels from Gaza to attack Israel and replenish the terrorist group’s medium-range missile arsenal.

But it’s not just rank-and-file regime supporters who march in these parades, which feature burning American and Israeli flags, and caricatures of Jews reminiscent of 1930s Germany. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani joined in the fun. It was the New York Times that captured the disconnect between the Obama administration’s focus on the negotiating table and the true nature of the Iranian regime: “Mr. Rouhani, joining a crowd that carried placards saying, ‘Death to Zionism,’ told reporters that the negotiations were in a delicate state but that the ‘future is bright.’”

What worries me is that President Rouhani might be right. The future does indeed look bright if you consider it from the perspective of Iran’s mullahs and their terrorist proxies Hamas and Hezbollah. The future, however, looks a lot darker for the United States, Israel, and our Middle Eastern partners.

Even if the Obama administration wins every concession it claims to want in these final moments of the negotiation, the deal is already stacked so far in Iran’s favor that the outcome, for the mullahs, is irresistible.

Tehran gets more than $100 billion in cash from unfrozen sanctions, and in return it does not need to dismantle its nuclear infrastructure. Even Iran’s underground nuclear facility – which was built under a mountain to hide its development from international inspectors – will be allowed to stay open.

The Obama administration has already conceded that Iran will be allowed to continue research and development of its nuclear program for the next 10 years, building its capacity as a threshold state, and by the time critical provisions of the agreement expire; Iran will emerge flush with cash to wreak havoc across the region. Even President Obama concedes that only 13 years after the deal is signed, Iran’s “breakout times will have shrunk almost down to zero.” And that’s without North Korean style cheating.

But emboldened, Iran is pressing for more concessions. The Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, says he won’t let international inspectors onto his military sites. That’s convenient, seeing as we know from past behavior that those are the very places Iranian scientists conduct their illicit weapons development. Without ‘anytime, anywhere’ inspections, the deal means nothing.

Not only that, but Iran – with the enthusiastic support of Russian President Vladimir Putin – is demanding that the final deal includes the immediate lifting of all U.N. restrictions on its arms trade and ballistic missile program.

If you want to know how dangerous that demand is, consider the words President Obama’s Defense Secretary: “The reason that we want to stop Iran from having an I.C.B.M. program is that the ‘I’ in I.C.B.M. stands for ‘intercontinental,’ which means having the capability of flying from Iran to the United States.” The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Martin Dempsey added, “Under no circumstances should we relieve pressure on Iran relative to ballistic missile capabilities and arms trafficking.”

But relieving pressure is exactly what the Obama administration has been doing.

We’ve now reached the farcical stage where the president of Iran can march in a ‘Death to Israel, Death to America’ rally and on the very same day our own Secretary of State John Kerry can issue a statement saying: “The atmosphere is very constructive.” It sounds like a farce, but the danger is real.

Republican Ed Royce represents California’s 39th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.


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