Please bear in mind that Zarif is not talking about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — the “unalienable Rights” set forth in the American Declaration of Independence. He is talking about the ingredients of a nuclear weapons program: uranium, plutonium and ballistic missiles. But he is doing it in language effectively poached from the Declaration of Independence — warping and twisting the concept to apply not to the principles of human freedom, but to provide a propaganda gloss for the nuclear ambitions of the murderous, despotic regime that he serves.

Surely the likes of Zarif, Khazaee and Rouhani — professional mouthpieces of the Iranian regime — know exactly what they are doing, in pounding home this phrase about an “inalienable right.” In America, and among free societies that have looked to America as leader of the free world, it’s a phrase surely calculated to resonate as something that cannot be questioned. Which is what Tehran needs, because as soon as you start asking questions, Tehran’s tall tale of a “peaceful” nuclear program falls apart.

Iran’s talk about its nuclear “right” is agitprop, on a par with the worst of the old Soviet formulations about “peace” and “liberation.” It is also plagiarism of a most mocking kind, insulting to human dignity everywhere, and to America in particular. There are inalienable rights to liberty, not to manufacturing projects that can lead to nuclear weapons in the hands of predatory, malign and murderous regimes.

This is not merely a matter of what might or might not be in technical compliance with the nonproliferation treaty. The basic issue here is the defense of freedom in our time, which depends not least on the honest use of words. It would be a very good thing to hear officials of the U.S. government, all the way up to the president, speaking up loud and clear to explain to the public what’s so profoundly pernicious about these glib Iranian claims that the production of fissile material is an “inalienable right.” ¬†America’s diplomats, in their eagerness for a nuclear deal with Iran, have been most unbecomingly deferential to the likes of Rouhani and Zarif. It is high time that America’s authorities exercised their inalienable right to tell these nuclear con men to shut up.