Protests against Iran’s theocratic regime enter their seventh day today. The country's chief cleric, who dominates the violent and oppressive regime, has tried to blame foreign agents for the courageous public display of dissent. But the truth, as the old tyrant well knows, is that the government that he and his fellow mullahs oversee has created woeful economic conditions, fostered corruption, and unintentionally nurtured a desire among young people (who account for the majority of the Iranian population) for freedom.
Iranians have seen more than enough of their nation’s wealth poured into terrorism abroad while their own needs are neglected.
The incompetent, insecure, and malevolent government has, characteristically, resorted to shooting protesters. It is unsurprising, just as it is nevertheless shocking, that a regime which operates a global network of murder, and which foments and funds terrorism throughout its neighborhood, should lack compunction about mistreating and, if it thinks it efficacious, killing its citizens.
These events invite retrospection here in America. They demand further scrutiny of the nuclear deal that former President Barack Obama struck with Tehran in his hapless attempt to build a legacy of foreign policy competence. The deal, sold to the public with optimistic falsehoods, looks worse each day.
As Iranian public protests gather momentum, it throws a glaring light on the fact that Obama appeased a tyranny that lacks legitimacy in the eyes of its citizens. Obama took taxpayers' dollars, loaded them on to pallets, and sent them to the mullahs to supplement the sanctions relief he also secured for them. He helped buy the bullets that have killed some protesters and terrorized others.
The protests were sparked by economic privation, which continues despite the boatload — actually, the planeload — of money our former president sent to Iran. Under their oppressors, Iranians cannot sustain themselves, let alone achieve the standard of living that a young generation craves and the abilities of this talented and inventive people could easily produce. In retrospect, then, Obama's nuclear deal has also thrown Iran’s rulers a lifeline when what was needed instead was an American government that could help Iranians sink them.
Obama's record of failure in Iran begins with his tepid response to the Green Revolution of 2009 — he said nothing and certainly did nothing to prevent the mullahs' murderous crackdown — and ends with his notorious shipment of greenbacks.
In bending over backwards to make the deal and overlook Tehran's human rights violations, Obama sent Iranians the message that Ronald Reagan 50 years ago warned should never be sent to the world’s oppressed: "Give up your dreams of freedom, because to save our own skin, we are willing to make a deal with your slave masters."
Obama never lost faith in his own powers of persuasion. He carried throughout his presidency a naive belief, despite abundant evidence to the contrary, that all regimes are ultimately driven by the desire for prosperity, peace, and security.
That the Iranian regime’s desires are nothing of the sort is now on full display. The whole world is watching, and President Trump would do well to learn from his predecessor’s appalling errors.