On Wednesday morning, Earth Day no less, when any responsible president would have been hectoring people about global warming, President Trump had other concerns on his mind. “I have instructed the United States Navy,” he tweeted, “to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.”
Predictable scorn ensued from the Left. Writer Nick Jack Pappas was just one of the many who focused on Trump’s choice of words, tweeting, “Trump is giving the order to shoot down boats. I didn’t realize Iran had flying boats now.” They ignored the fact that one can shoot a man down without his being able to fly, but anything will do for a dig at the President. Iranian freedom activist and journalist Heshmat Alavi was more focused, tweeting: “The mullahs’ regime ruling #Iran harasses UN [sic] Navy ships for propaganda purposes. Thank you, President Trump, for reminding this regime that the Obama years are gone. And BTW, this regime does not represent the Iranian people.”
Alavi was right. The Iranian mullahs, apparently having forgotten that Barack Obama is no longer President, were at it again just last week. According to Business Insider, “nearly a dozen Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy vessels sailed out Wednesday to harass a collection of US Navy and Coast Guard vessels conducting operations in international waters.”
The U.S. Navy stated that eleven Iranian boats of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Navy (IRGCN) “conducted dangerous and harassing approaches,” and added that “the IRGCN’s dangerous and provocative actions increased the risk of miscalculation and collision.” The Iranians, said the Navy statement, were violating the “rules of the road.”
This was not, however, a simple traffic dispute. Leftists will no doubt ascribe it to an increase of tensions over President Trump’s targeting earlier this year of Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani. However, all those who are blaming Trump for ramping up tensions with Iran are ignoring the fact that Iran has been working toward a war with the U.S. for decades, as The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Iran demonstrates in detail.
On November 2, 2015, a commanding majority of the Majlis, 192 of its 290 members, agreed to a statement saying that “Death to America,” which continues to be chanted at every Friday prayer in Iranian mosques as well as at anti-American protests, was not just a slogan: it had “turned into the symbol of the Islamic Republic and all struggling nations.”
A communal desire to destroy the United States and commit mass murder of its citizens is the Islamic Republic of Iran’s very identity.
As Obama (who stopped Israel from going after Soleimani) concluded their nuclear deal with Iran, Iranian political analyst Ali Wambold, pointed out that the Constitution of the Islamic Republic “proclaims ‘the ideological mission of jihad,’ which it defines as ‘extending the sovereignty of God’s law throughout the world,’ through Iran’s Army and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.” Thus, he said, “to treat with the Islamic Republic over the particulars of its weaponry while failing to address the very purpose of its bellicosity is delusional. The so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action does nothing to change the fact that, in plain Farsi, Iran is committed to world conquest by Islam, with its clerics as warlords. Those to be conquered include America (the ‘Great Satan’), Israel (the ‘Little Satan’) and the Sunni-led Gulf States.”
Back in July 2005, then–Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said essentially the same thing: “The message of the Revolution is global, and is not restricted to a specific place or time. Have no doubt … Allah willing, Islam will conquer what? It will conquer all the mountain tops of the world.”
Was this just a pious hope for the success of Islamic proselytizing? Hardly, given Ahmadinejad’s reference to the Islamic Revolution, the violent movement that had brought the Islamic Republic of Iran into being in 1979. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has emphasized that Iran’s foreign policy was “based on Islam and stems from the aspirations and goals of the Revolution.” No less an authority than Khamenei’s predecessor, the Ayatollah Khomeini, had said from the beginning that the goals of that Revolution were global: “We shall export our revolution to the whole world. Until the cry ‘There is no god but Allah’ resounds over the whole world, there will be struggle.” And the Iranian politician Mohsen Rezaei once told a cheering Iranian crowd: “We will build a force that will demolish the enemies of Islam, continue the path of our great prophet Muhammad, and raise the flag of Islam in all corners of the world.”
A neon sign in Tehran’s Mehrabad International Airport reads, in English, “In future Islam will destroy Satanic sovereignty of the West.”
Iran’s commitment to world conquest in the name of Islam—and to the defeat of America in particular—precludes lasting peace with the United States. Iran’s Brigadier General Qolamhossein Qeib-parvar of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has declared: “There are only two things that would end enmity between us and the US. Either the US president and EU leaders should convert to Islam and imitate the Supreme Leader, or Iran should abandon Islam and the Islamic revolution. If they are not going to turn Muslim, we are not going to abandon Islam or the revolution either. But I do not know why some people believe that some day we will make peace with the US and start relations with them.”
On September 23, 2015, two months after the nuke deal was finalized, Khamenei published an article entitled “The Idols Will Be Shattered,” illustrated with a drawing of the Statue of Liberty shattered in pieces. In it he declared, “The idol of the soul, the idol of pride, [and] the idol of sexual lust; the idol of tyranny and subservience; the idol of global tyranny [that is, the U.S.]; the idol of sloth and irresponsibility; and the other idols that shame the precious human soul—a plan that will spring forth from the depths of the heart will shatter them.”
In January 2014, the Chief Commander of the IRGC, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, boasted that “Islam’s leaders have long ago prepared us for a great and decisive confrontation….The sun of America’s imperialist civilization is nearing its setting.” He claimed that “the US will never understand the Islamic Republic of Iran’s offensive scope.” Offensive, not defensive.
The deputy commander of the IRGC, Hossain Salami, said in May 2015 that Iran actually wanted war with the United States: “We have prepared ourselves for the most dangerous scenarios and this is no big deal and is simple to digest for U.S.; we welcome war with the U.S. as we do believe that it will be the scene for our success to display the real potentials of our power.”
All this was well before Trump became President, and also well before Soleimani was killed. Much of it came while the nuclear deal that the Left so loves was being negotiated, or after it was signed. Those who are claiming that Obama had brought peace with Iran and that Trump destroyed it are banking on the American people not knowing the true intentions and activities of the Islamic Republic. But those intentions were made clear again when the Iranian vessels harassed the U.S. Navy ships.
The Iranians may soon come to regret behaving as if Obama were still putting his feet up in the Oval Office.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 19 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Palestinian Delusion: The Catastrophic History of the Middle East Peace Process. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.