An Open Letter to President Obama on Appeasing Iran

Three decades after the Islamic revolution, the West still fails to understand the political structure of Iran and the mentality behind it. That ignorance endangers the world, for the madmen who rule Iran in their iron grip are bent upon launching Armageddon.

Several U.S. presidents underestimated the crazed policies that the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini forced on the Iranian people beginning in 1979. If Barack Obama doesn't take this nightmarish threat seriously, Israel could very well be destroyed -- and that destruction could expand to Europe and America.

We only have to look at history to see all too clearly Washington's folly at trying to appease Tehran.

President Carter and his national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, began America's misguided policy toward radical Islam, Carter by calling Khomeini "a man of God" and Brzezinski with his plan to help Islamic militants confront the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, that policy of negotiation and hope for a moderate leader in Iran who would open the doors to the West continued under President Reagan.

While I was writing coded messages under dimmed light in the middle of the night informing the CIA about the mullahs' terrorist activities and the Revolutionary Guards' expansion in Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East, the U.S. government was meeting in private with the Revolutionary Guards in Geneva, Brussels, Frankfort, and Mainz during the mid-1980s. The Guards negotiators at these meetings, close associates of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, were assigned the names "the Engine" and "the Relative" and had met with U.S. negotiators several times, including Oliver North. The CIA facilitated a trip for "the Relative" to Washington, D.C., where he was even given a tour of the White House.

At the time, the CIA knew that the barracks bombing in Lebanon, which killed 241 American servicemen, was the work of the Guards under Rafsanjani, then the speaker of parliament; Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the president at the time; and Imam Khomeini, the supreme leader. The CIA was aware of all the kidnappings, torture, and killing of hostages, such as CIA agent William Buckley, who was executed by Islamic Jihad -- a front name for the Guards and their activity in Lebanon. But despite Iran's treachery, the U.S. government entertained a long list of demands by the Guards to clear the way for improved relations.

Washington's efforts resulted in securing the release of only a few hostages, and in return the Guards received many shipments of American weapons, some of which ended up in the hands of the terrorist group Hezbollah, based in Lebanon. Later, many more hostages were taken and more demands made.

Kazem, my then-commander in the Guards, had told me, "The dumb cowboys think we will help release their hostages in Lebanon and improve our relationship with them. They are giving us arms, lots of arms. Haj Agha Rafsanjani knows how to play with these bastards and how to milk them."

This shortsightedness continued with President George H.W. Bush, who ignored the Iranian involvement in the Pan Am bombing over Lockerbie (as I had reported to the CIA) in his secret negotiations with Rafsanjani, the Iranian president at the time, who had promised better relations. That effort also failed, just as President Clinton (who looked the other way at Iran's involvement in the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia) failed in negotiating with Mohammad Khatami, the next Iranian president, with another promise of cooperation while secretly purchasing parts for Iran's nuclear project.

The Revolutionary Guards recently performed multiple tests on surface-to-surface missiles fired from a ship. One needs to ask what the purpose is for such tests. Could it be that they intend to launch missiles against an enemy far from Iran, perhaps from a ship closer to that enemy's border?

With the help of North Korea, the Guards are working on long-range ballistic missiles in tests that are concealed by their space project. Other tests include expanding the reach of their Shahab-3 missiles to cover Europe, which currently are capable of targeting Tel Aviv, Riyadh, U.S. bases in Iraq, and the Fifth Fleet headquarters in Bahrain. The Guards now have more than 100 Shahab-3 missiles in stock while working to develop a nuclear warhead. At the same time, the Iranians are increasing the number of centrifuges (over 5,000 as of November 2008) for the enrichment of uranium while enough nuclear material has already been produced to make a nuclear bomb.

A nuclear-armed Iran under the thugocracy of the mullahs is near, maybe in a matter of months, and any misconception about their intentions will have grave consequences.