In 2015, President Obama announced an agreement with Iran on their expanding nuclear program. The President considered it his crowning achievement but there was much controversy over the terms. So much so that the President declared that it wasn’t a ‘treaty’ and therefore didn’t have to go to the Senate for approval as the Constitution says must happen with all treaties.
Years later, and almost a year since President Obama left office, we are still discovering the price we had to pay.
With Iran exporting terrorism, and its radical leader threatening to destroy Israel, several nations joined together—led by the United States—to negotiate a deal with Iran to stop their nuclear program—a worthy goal. Yet one that became almost an obsession for President Obama, who likely saw an Iran deal as part of his ‘legacy’.
The first deal negotiated, was rejected by France as being too lenient and favorable to Iran, so Obama went back to the table. Another agreement, along with the UN resolution implementing it, was agreed upon and attempted to limit nuclear development and also continued development of Iran’s ballistic missile program. The final deal was also controversial in certain circles for similar reasons, both domestically and among key allies as diverse as Israel and Saudi Arabia.
New revelations continue cast the cost to the US in even more concerning terms. As we saw the atrocities used by the Syrian government in the civil war there, including the repeated use of chemical weapons, there had long been a question why President Obama did not take strong action after he had (in)famously warned Syria that using chemical weapons would be a ‘red line’. As we remember the images of men, women and children in Aleppo who had been gassed by the government, we find out that President Obama backed off his threats to take action in Syria, because Syria was backed by Iran. And Iran’s close ally, the terrorist group Hezbollah, was providing troops to help the Syrian government in its war. Possibly the most egregious crime against humanity in decades was put on the back burner because President Obama did not want to offend Iran and risk not getting a deal.
About the same time the Department of Justice dropped charges and international arrest warrants against fourteen people associated with Iran’s terrorist efforts, variously charged with spying, trying to smuggle arms and other crimes.
And Monday Politico reported that Hezbollah, the Iranian backed terrorist group has been dramatically expanding its drug trade in the US over the last few years. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) had formed a task force to combat Hezbollah using the drug trade to raise money for weapons. Project Cassandra, as the effort was called, began to close in on Hezbollah’s budding smuggling operations in 2014-2015 but they were stifled by the Justice Dept. who stalled efforts for warrants. Oddly enough, after the Iranian deal was signed, the task force was dissolved, the staff reassigned. As a result, Politico reported that Hezbollah’s drug smuggling operations into the US have increased almost 500% in the last two years.
We are only slowing learning how high the price was that we paid Iran for a nuclear deal. President Obama sacrificed all of his other priorities to secure the Iran nuclear deal that he felt would be his legacy. Let us hope that it turns out to be worth all that he mortgaged for it.