By Michael Goodwin
The assassination of Iran’s top nuclear scientist counts as a rare piece of good news from the mad mullahs’ gulag. It eliminates a key player in the bid to get nuclear weapons and creates a safer world.
The event is being celebrated by the Trump administration, which has been relentless in bringing Iran to its knees. Israel, which likely carried out the bold hit, is delighted by the demise of a man whose weapons threatened to wipe the Jewish state off the map. Also cheering are the Sunni Arab nations whose governments are targeted by Iran.
In short, the death of Moshen Fakhrizadeh is an unmitigated good thing to millions upon millions of innocent people. Yet to read The New York Times or listen to Joe Biden, the death is a bad thing because it complicates Biden’s plan to persuade Iran to rejoin the nuclear pact that President Trump wisely scuttled.
“Iran Pact’s Fate Dealt New Blow By Assassination,” read a mournful piece in the Times last Sunday.
Biden said it is “hard to tell” how much more difficult it will be now to get Iran to back to the deal, but remains determined to try.
Welcome to a bizarro land ruled by nostalgia for a past that never was.
In the real world, Fakhrizadeh’s death is a gift to Biden, and if he has any sense, he will recognize it as such. The next president might even whisper, “Thank you,” to Trump and the Israelis.
That Biden is instead complaining and trying to woo Iran illustrates how stuck in the past he is. The Mideast has changed dramatically for the better since he left office in 2016, or maybe he hasn’t noticed that Israel and Arab states signed historic accords of mutual recognition, trade and tourism and are united in opposing Iran. Kosher food is now available in Dubai!
The shifting sands of alliances were underscored last month when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Arabia’s crown prince met, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also there.
And Jared Kushner was in the region last week trying to heal a breach between Qatar and Saudi Arabia in hopes of widening the anti-Iran coalition before the Trump administration leaves office.
Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh’s death was much needed in deterring Iran’s threats to Israel and America’s allies in the Middle East.
Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP
These are remarkable developments signaling that a generational realignment is taking place. For Biden to endanger it by courting Iran is beyond foolish.
The core problem is that he and the Democrats’ media handmaidens continue to fetishize the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran as a triumph of diplomacy and believe in Iranian “moderates” the way children believe in Santa Claus. In fact, the terms of that deal, negotiated by John Kerry and approved by the Obama-Biden White House, were a surrender that paved the way for the mullahs to get nukes in due course.
Why would anyone want to go back to that time, especially when subsequent events weakened Iran and put it on defense?
The Trump breakthrough started with his first overseas trip as president, in May of 2017, with a stop in Saudi Arabia. Some 54 Arab and Muslim nations attended a summit there designed to create a unified front against Iran and the spread of terrorism.
A year later, Trump made good on a campaign promise to pull out of the nuclear pact and reimpose harsher sanctions than those Obama lifted in 2015, putting pressure on the Iranian economy and its ability to finance murder and mayhem.
Trump later underscored his intent to keep Iran boxed in by droning Qasem Soleimani, the military mastermind responsible for killing many American soldiers in Iraq. Recall that Biden said he would not have carried out that strike.
Israel also played key roles. It brazenly stole Iran’s nuclear archives to reveal how the mullahs had deceived the world, and repeatedly bombed Iranian proxy Hezbollah in Syria and Lebanon. In addition to the hit on Fakhrizadeh, Israelis, or Farsi speakers working with them, carried out other assassinations and sabotage at military sites.
Although Iran’s leaders responded by exceeding the uranium-enrichment limits called for in the 2015 deal, they mostly appear stunned by the nonstop assaults. So much so that Ray Takeyh, an Iranian-American Middle East scholar, wonders whether the ayatollah’s grip is slipping, writing that “the Islamic republic today suffers from persistent intelligence failure, an ominous sign for a regime that rules through fear.”
These changes add up to an enormous opportunity for Biden, but instead of seizing it, he’s already invited Iran to rejoin the deal and brought back Kerry and other retreads to set the stage for another round of failure.
Biden said the mullahs must adhere to the enrichment limits before he removes sanctions and wants to expand talks to include the proxy wars and missile production. In response, Iran, sensing that Biden seems desperate, demands that he simply drop all sanctions and says no talks are needed.
However he frames it, Biden is negotiating against himself. Iran is weaker than it’s been for a long time and would use sanctions relief to ramp up its aggression and nuke program, just as it did before. Why give it another chance to do the same thing?
Netanyahu, in an interview with Michael Doran of the Hudson Institute, cited the Iranian pattern in urging Biden not to rejoin the flawed pact, saying it would be a “mistake.”
Left unsaid is that in the last 40 years, Israel destroyed two nuclear reactors built by its enemies, in Iraq and Syria. Biden and Iran should remember that history.
‘Elex Fix’ is logical
Reader George Molé concedes it is difficult for Trump lawyers to prove the election was stolen, but still believes “widespread fraud is responsible for the supposed Biden victory.”
He adds: “Can we really believe that, with safeguards for the integrity of the voting process removed, the same hatred that led Democrats to persecute President Trump for four years would not also lead them to cheat to remove him?
“Whether or not the fraud is provable, I am among the half of the country who will continue to believe Biden’s victory was illegitimate.”