Earlier this week, President Trump refused to certify that the Iran nuclear deal was in the national security interests of the United States. The reasons revolved around Iran’s repeated infractions of the nuclear portion of the deal and their failure to abide by other UN Security Council Resolutions, particularly UNSCR 2231 which forbids Iranian development of ballistic missiles.
Since that time, the media, most of whom were eager participants in the infamous Iran “echo chamber” set up by failed novelist and Obama deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes has befouled itself in the attempt to defend this part of the Obama legacy. CBS took the incredible step of conducting an interview with one of the leaders of the “death to America” caucus in Tehran. I use the word “interview” advisedly as what they actually did was give Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif a platform to attack the administration without any pushback whatsoever.
FOREIGN MINISTER JAVAD ZARIF: This is not a bilateral treaty between Iran and the United States. So whatever domestic politicking he wants to do, that’s his business. You know, the United States is a permanent member of the Security Council. And if it’s not going to uphold a resolution, that not only it voted for but it sponsored, then the credibility of the institution that the United States considers to be very important would be at stake.
Nobody else will trust any U.S. administration to engage in any long-term negotiation because the length of any commitment, the duration of any commitment from now on with any U.S. administration would be the reminder of the term of that president.
He’s right. This is not a “bilateral treaty.” In fact, it is nothing more than the personal deal Barack Obama cut with Iran. At the time it was finalized, 47 GOP senators sent Iran a letter warning them that the deal could be revoked by any future president.
As an aside, I’ve always been puzzled at exactly what the Iran deal was supposed to accomplish. Iran was already a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty in which they gave their word they would not develop a nuclear weapon. Why anyone would make another treaty–a treaty that Iran is obviously cheating on as we speak–to enforce something that Iran has already agreed to, is beyond me.
ELIZABETH PALMER: Are you thinking of any country in particular right now?
FOREIGN MINISTER JAVAD ZARIF: No, I’m thinking of the entire international community.
ELIZABETH PALMER: Not North Korea?
FOREIGN MINISTER JAVAD ZARIF: Well, including North Korea. But I believe the entire international community. You see, this administration is withdrawing from everything. Somebody called it withdrawal doctrine for this administration. It’s withdrawing from NAFTA. It’s withdrawing from Trans Pacific Partnership. It’s withdrawing from UNESCO. It’s withdrawing from everything. So people cannot trust anymore the word of the United States. You see, in order to bring United States on board on many of these international agreements, a lot of people make a lot of concessions. Now nobody is going to make any concessions to the United States because they know that the next U.S. president will come back and say, “It wasn’t enough, we’re not satisfied.”
I really like the way Palmer tries to coach Zarif to bring North Korea into this…as though North Korea was even a member of the international community. The real question in that regard is what sane person tries to make a deal with North Korea when you look at their history of violating deals. The other thing that is curious is how Zarif’s language today looks exactly like Ben Rhodes’s language last week:
With Trump withdrawing from Paris, TPP, UNESCO and threats to KORUS, NAFTA, and Iran Deal why would any country trust US to keep agreements
— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) October 12, 2017
ELIZABETH PALMER: Have you spoken to the supreme leader since President Trump’s speech?
FOREIGN MINISTER JAVAD ZARIF: No. It’s been late last night. He spoke late last night, and we know his views about it. We had briefed the leader about what he was going to say. Because–
ELIZABETH PALMER: What was his reaction?
FOREIGN MINISTER JAVAD ZARIF: Pretty much everybody knew. And he said, “I expected it.”
ELIZABETH PALMER: So, there was a little bit of I told you so, because he had been against the deal from the beginning–
FOREIGN MINISTER JAVAD ZARIF: No, no–
ELIZABETH PALMER: –and has never trusted the United States. Did he say, “You see? I was right all along.”
FOREIGN MINISTER JAVAD ZARIF: None of us ever trusted the United States. This deal was not based on trust. It was based on mutual mistrust. And I think that was the strength of this deal. It’s not something bad about the deal. It’s the strength of the deal, but unfortunately, the way President Trump is handling it, it’s widening the mistrust, not only between Iran and the United States, but between the global community and the United States where the U.S. is no longer not just unpredictable but unreliable.
ELIZABETH PALMER: Have you given up for the moment on trying to establish better relations with the Trump administration to try and dial back the rhetoric?
FOREIGN MINISTER JAVAD ZARIF: Well, I believe the Trump administration is closing its eyes on the realities of our region. And it’s getting into a quagmire that would harm U.S. national interests and would harm, because of the significance of the United States as a global player, will harm our region. We believe it would be important for the United States for the Trump administration to exercise a reset in its cognitive disorder with regard to our region.
Actually, just the opposite is true. The Trump administration is clearly focused on the region and realizes that Iran’s nuclear ambitions and its geopolitical ambitions run hand-in-hand. They are engaged in confronting Iranian influence and rolling it back where they can. This is why the IRGC was targeted for its terrorism.
All in all, this was an amazing example of “collusion,” if you will, with the Iranians to allow them to push their talking points without any challenge whatsoever. What’s next? Kim Jong Un?