Did you ever make peace with someone only to find out they were bad-mouthing you behind your back? Most of us leave these petty squabbles behind when we trade high school for adulthood, but we remember the lessons well. When an individual is saying one thing to your face and something else when you aren’t around, that individual is not to be trusted.
You can’t always map human behavior one-to-one with the machinations of nation states, but it makes for an interesting way to view the nuclear deal between Iran and the United States. After lengthy negotiations in which the U.S. apparently gave in to Iranian demands again and again, the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader has shown no interest in pursuing a real diplomatic relationship with the West. Unlike that slimy character you might have known in high school, though, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei isn’t bothering to hide his true feelings about the United States.
In an unverified tweet, Iran’s spiritual commander said, “US president has said he could knock out Iran’s military. We welcome no war, nor do we initiate any war, but…”
To finish the thought, Khamenei included a picture ostensibly showing President Obama holding a gun to his own head. Written on the picture is the conclusion of the quote: “…if any war happens, the one who will emerge loser will be the aggressive and criminal U.S.”
Whether the Twitter account in question actually belongs to Khamenei or not, the sentiment at least appears consistent with the Islamic leader’s previous declarations. Only a few days after negotiators announced the finalization of the deal, Khamenei gave a speech while holding a rifle in his hands. He promised his followers that U.S. policies were “180 degrees” opposite those of Iran’s. Throughout the speech, he was interrupted by chants of “Death to Israel” and “Death to America.”
A Friend Indeed
This is the country for whom President Obama has compromised our relationship with Israel, eh? A country led by Islamic radicals only different from actual terrorists by virtue of a successful coup in the 1970s. Obama claims that the alternative to a nuclear deal was war, but it’s not clear whether he has avoided that grim scenario with the deal. Postponed it, maybe. The problem with that is that by the time war arrives, Iran may be equipped with a nuclear bomb.
“I don’t know how to interpret it at this point in time,” John Kerry said following Khamenei’s offensive speech, “except to take it at face value, that that’s his policy. But I do know that often comments are made publicly and things can evolve that are different. If it’s the policy, it’s very disturbing. It’s very troubling.”
If that’s the policy? If that’s the policy? This administration is willing to give the Iranians the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their negotiations, but they don’t know whether or not their public speeches are indicative of policy? What do we know about this government? Do we have any idea what we’re dealing with?