Last summer, the United States, Iran, and other world powers, minted the so-called Iranian Nuclear Deal. After which, at this time last year, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani triumphantly told the U.N. General Assembly in New York City that the deal was “a brilliant example of victory over war” that “sets a strong precedent” and would “serve as a basis for foundational change in the region.” I’m sure we’ll hear much of the same when Rouhani addresses the UN again on Thursday.
As he did a year ago, Rouhani will no doubt talk about peaceful intentions; he’ll make the case that Iran is complying with the term of the nuclear deal; and he’ll declare Iran open for business. And, in each case, he will employ the deceptive and dangerous Iranian double-speak Tehran trades in reflexively. Iran talks peace—but promulgates terrorism and radical Islam, while an uncritical American press and feckless international class turns a blind eye to ongoing UN violations. All the while the Iranian regime uses recent cash infusions and new business to expand their radical ambitions.
This week Iran will use the grandeur of the U.N. to gain further credibility; but, to quote candidate Barack Obama, “you can put lipstick on a pig…but it’s still a pig.” Make no mistake about it: despite the foolish efforts of the current American administration to put lipstick on the Iranian nuclear deal, the regime there remains our avowed enemy. Iran wants to kill Americans. I’ve seen them do it in Iraq. They might even wait 10 years (cue, sarcasm) for the means to do it on a much larger scale…the timeframe after which our current “deal” expires. Just ask our friends in Israel.
Military veterans like me opposed the Iranian deal in the first place because, as we saw first-hand on the battlefield, Iran is an active enemy to American, our allies, and the West. The post-revolutionary Iranian regime was literally founded on opposition to American and the West, with their lodestar being “Death to America.” From death squads to powerful IEDs, regime-backed Iranian agents have targeted and killed Americans and our allies wherever possible. “Death to America” literally means dead Americans.
In fact, the so-called “moderate” who will stand at the UN podium today personifies this Iranian mantra. In 1995 he stood before a group of pro-regime students and proclaimed, “The beautiful cry of ‘Death to America’ unites our nation.” Just three years ago, the so-called moderate Rouhani said during his campaign, that “Saying ‘Death to America’ is easy. We need to express ‘Death to America’ with action. Saying it is easy.” Rouhani has taken action, and history is checkered by countries who didn’t take radical words like this seriously.
Not surprisingly to those who understand the nature of Iran’s regime, the signing of a piece of paper has not changed this entrenched view—only accelerated it. Before the ink was dry on the deal, Iran was using their newfound military, financial, and international legitimacy to flex their radical muscles. In direct contradiction to terms of the deal, Tehran actively violates UN resolutions by testing multiple ballistic missiles, defies the UN Security Council by ordering fighter jets without permission, and is continues to reward the families of Palestinian martyrs with cash payments. Not to mention the deceptive way they have administered their nuclear sites.
Economically, there is also a dangerous misconception that because of the deal, Iran should somehow be viewed as a global economic partner. The truth is business flowing back into Iran will quickly transform Iran from a relatively weak, overstretched economic backwater into a hulking economic and regional power with vast means to support its political and military ambitions, terror proxies, and the eventual realization of the regime’s dream to build a Shia empire. Businesses contemplating Tehran as a new investment opportunity should contemplate enabling such geopolitical consequences.
We’re already seeing this newfound muscle-flexing shape. In the past year, Iran has boldly captured American sailors for use in propaganda videos, and continues to actively swarming our ships in international waters—arrogantly violating international norms. Not to mention fanning the flames of extremism and chaos in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel to name a few. All the while, the Obama administration equivocates, backs down, and apologies; a cycle of appeasement interpreted as sheer weakness by the Iranians.
Bottom line, New York City—the city we love that, as we saw last week, remains an active terror target—should not open its arms to the leader of a regime that remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.
When the enemy comes to town, we should give them what they deserve: the cold shoulder and condemnation.
The Iranian deal has not changed the nature of the Iranian regime; instead, it has only made that regime more powerful, more legitimate, and more dangerous.
The next president will confront this scary reality.
Pete Hegseth is the former CEO of Concerned Veterans for America and the former executive director of Vets for Freedom. A Fox News contributor, he is an infantry officer in the Army National Guard and has served tours in Afghanistan and Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay.