As I predicted some weeks back, the Iranians did not sign on to the Grand Bargain negotiated in Vienna. They don’t want to make a deal with the Great American Satan, even though they do want the American concessions, above all the huge sums of money we’ve promised them.
Now comes Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, talking as if the agreement itself is in question.
In an (sic) speech at a Tehran mosque punctuated by chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel”, Khamenei said he wanted politicians to examine the agreement to ensure national interests were preserved, as Iran would not allow the disruption of its revolutionary principles or defensive abilities.
An arch conservative with the last word on high matters of state, Khamenei repeatedly used the phrase “whether this text is approved or not”, implying the accord has yet to win definitive backing from Iran’s factionalized political establishment.
Concurrently, the head of the Revolutionary Guards announced that the Grand Bargain was unacceptable, and would be rejected.
A UN Security Council resolution endorsing Iran’s nuclear deal that passed on Monday is unacceptable, the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps commander Mohammed Ali Jafari was quoted as saying by the semi-official Tasnim News Agency.
“Some parts of the draft have clearly crossed the Islamic republic’s red lines, especially in Iran’s military capabilities. We will never accept it,” he was quoted as saying shortly before the resolution was passed in New York.
When Jafari talks about Iran’s “red lines” it is at least in part a reference to a law, passed in the Majlis and approved by the Guardian Council, that forbids the government from agreeing to inspections at military sites (and other restrictions). Foreign Minister Zarif is to brief the Majlis tomorrow, the 21st, at which time we may see just how serious they are.
I know this is dramatically counter-intuitive, since the Grand Bargain is so lopsidedly pro-Iranian. Why on earth would they even think of rejecting it? And yet, two of the most powerful tyrants in Tehran are warning they may do it. Why?
Because they hate us, and want to destroy us, and believe they are divinely empowered to do it. Hence, Khamenei does not want a formal pact with the devil, even a very favorable one. He does not want to be known as the ayatollah who made a pact with Satan. And he has two fixed principles: no new, improved relationship with America, and no abandonment of the nuclear program.
Indeed, Khamenei actually claimed that the Grand Bargain has nothing to do with nuclear weapons:
“The Americans say they stopped Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” Khamenei said.
“They know it’s not true. We had a fatwa (religious ruling), declaring nuclear weapons to be religiously forbidden under Islamic law. It had nothing to do with the nuclear talks.”
This is dubious. No one can find any such fatwa, and serious scholars have concluded that no such religious ruling was ever issued. As for his other basic principle–eternal enmity for us–Khamenei has repeatedly led “Death to America” chants and reiterated the mission of the Islamic Revolution to fulfill that call. Indeed when Khamenei spoke at Friday prayers in Tehran, the podium had a banner reading “we will trample America.”
Of all the outrageous statements gushing from the lips of President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and their associates, one of the worst is the claim that rejection of the Grand Bargain entails war. As if there were no war today!
The war between America and Iran is ON, but for most of the past 35 years it has only been waged by the mullahs. It is long past time for an appropriate American response, and the most appropriate is active support for those Iranians–a huge majority–who wish to be rid of the Islamic Republic, who wish to be free. That would (finally) bring policy into harmony with traditional American values, and confront Khamenei and his cohorts with the righteous rage of their own people.
The Grand Bargain adds to the urgency of this policy. Just ask the American hostages and their families and friends. They know. Obama knows, too. That’s why he blew up when he was asked about it at the last press conference.