May 05, 2019

New Op-Ed: Trump’s the only one making sense on Iran

Trump’s the only one making sense on Iran

Originally published by Washington Examiner.

The Trump administration is set to halt waivers for countries that are still importing Iranian oil, a move expected to deal another significant blow to the regime in Tehran. This decision comes nearly a year after Trump decided to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal and slap biting sanctions back on Tehran.

As a result, Iran’s economy is teetering on the verge of collapse and protesters have swarmed the streets in Tehran demanding change. Make no mistake: this positive outcome is a direct result of President Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran, not the failed policies of the past.

Predictably, the Left has sought to flip the script by painting Trump’s policies as a disaster. Ben Rhodes and John Kerry, equipped with a legion of pundits from the “echo chamber" they created to deceive when they were in office, have successfully misled Americans about the results of the Iran deal and its intentions.

We were told that the deal would lead to greater prosperity and peace in the Middle East; that Tehran would moderate and wouldn’t pursue nuclear bombs; and that rebalancing power away from our traditional regional allies was the right thing to do. We were even told that the only alternative to the Iran deal was another bloody war in the Middle East.

Inside of the Obama administration’s reality distortion field, these misguided claims may have sounded dandy, but the facts on the ground present a far different picture.

The deal, which sent over $100 billion back to the Islamist state, failed to curb its malign activities and support for terror. Ayatollah Khamenei and his mullahs used their newfound piggy bank not for development or humanitarian projects, but to fund proxy wars across the region.

Funds flowed to a host of bad actors, including Syrian strongman Bashar Assad, the Houthis attempting to overthrow the government in Yemen (whose motto consists of “Death to America! Death to Israel!”), and the Hezbollah terrorist organization in Lebanon. Iranian cash helped fuel bloody civil wars in Syria and Yemen, which have left hundreds of thousands dead and caused regional destabilization and catastrophe.

Even if Obama and his advisers could brush this off, the deal even failed to stop Iran from its long-term goal of developing a nuclear weapon. Because of the "sunset clauses" in the deal, Iran can still build a nuclear bomb in due time.

In summary, the Iran deal was a disaster and the public was misled. “Leading from behind” produced more bloodshed, not less. Appeasement led to chaos, not peace.

That’s why it’s been refreshing to see Trump execute a necessary course-correction and confront Iran. For starters, Trump did the world a favor by withdrawing from the Iran deal and slapping sanctions back on the Islamist regime.

Tehran’s oil exports have plummeted from 2.8 million barrels per day in May 2018, to approximately 1.3 million — a huge blow to the Iranian regime and its ability to keep the economy above water. Inflation is also soaring, hitting nearly 40% according to estimates from the IMF.

In addition to a crippled economy, the regime’s coffers are expected to take a major hit, considering Iran collects almost 80% of government revenues from its energy sector. Less government revenue means fewer dollars to be spent on terror and buoying the regime’s cronies.

Don’t forget: this data is from before the administration’s decision to halt waivers. Exports are sure to decrease even further after countries face the threat of sanctions for doing business with Iran.

Trump has also worked to restore crucial relationships with America’s traditional allies in the region. Nowhere is this better illustrated than Israel’s military operations to combat Iran and its terror groups in Syria. Israel has worked diligently to stop Iran from developing a permanent presence in Syria. Hundreds of airstrikes have been conducted against Iranian fortifications and proxy groups.

Still, don’t expect any public praise for Trump’s bold policies from his critics anytime soon. The pundits will continue to be shocked that their predictions were utterly wrong and that Trump's supposedly unilateralist strategy is proving effective. Sure enough, Trump seems to be the only one making sense on Iran.


-- Alex Titus 


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