The Perils of Not Listening to Iran

  • The Iranian firing of a missile within 1500 yards of U.S. aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman in December, and the kidnapping and photographing of a U.S. Navy ship and crew (the photographs were a violation of the Geneva Convention) were test cases. Other than an apparent temper tantrum by Secretary Kerry, there was no American response. Oh, actually, there was. Mr. Kerry absolved his friend Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif of responsibility.
  • The Iranians were confident that the Americans could be counted on not to collapse the whole discussion over violations along the edges. Their model was American behavior in the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process.” The Palestinians violate agreements and understandings with impunity because they know the Administration is more firmly wedded to the process than the specific issues on the table.

Supporters of President Obama’s Iran deal (JCPOA) are starting to worry — but that is because they believed him when his lips moved. They heard “snapback sanctions” and pretended those were an actual “thing.” They are not, and never were. They heard Treasury Secretary Jack Lew say the U.S. would never allow Iran access to dollar trading because of the corruption of the Iranian banking system and Iranian support for terrorism — and they wanted to believe him. And sanctions? The administration said that sanctions related to non-nuclear Iranian behavior — support for terrorism, ballistic missile development, and more — would be retained.

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