Exclusive: Obama’s Misguided Iran Policies

by CHRISTOPHER HOLTON February 14, 2009
Among the topics that President Obama covered in his first news conference on the evening of Monday, February 9th, was Iran.
The president made several troubling statements – which is hardly surprising, given that the new administration's entire approach to Iran is troubling.
President Obama used terms and phrases like “constructive dialogue,” “engage” and “mutual respect and progress.”
None of these expressions has any place in a conversation about Iran.
Iran has killed Americans for over 25 years, sponsored Hezbollah, HAMAS and al Qaeda and has repeatedly threatened America and our allies.
In 1979, Iran invaded the U.S. embassy in Tehran and held 52 American hostages for 444 days.
Iran was complicit in the Hezbollah Islamikaze attacks on the U.S. embassy in Beirut, Lebanon in April 1983 and the US Marine barracks there in October 1983. In the attack on the Marine barracks, 241 U.S. Marines, sailors and soldiers were killed. In fact, until September 11, 2001, Hezbollah had killed more Americans than any other terrorist organization.
During the balance of the 1980s, Hezbollah kidnapped and murdered Americans with impunity in Beirut, including CIA station chief William Buckley and Marine Colonel William Higgins.
Iran was then involved in the bombing of the U.S. Air Force Khobar Towers barracks in Saudi Arabia in June 1996, an attack in which 19 U.S. airmen were killed.
It should be pointed out that Iran is not just a sponsor of Hezbollah. Iran formed Hezbollah and has always trained and continues to train its operatives in Lebanon and inside Iran. Hezbollah basically operates as an Iranian foreign legion.
That’s why observers who have been watching Iran for years are particularly troubled by Obama's choice of the language "financing" and "funding" terrorist organizations to describe Iran’s involvement with terrorism.
Something tells us that this specific choice of language isn't an accident. Words are chosen carefully whenever a president speaks publicly on foreign affairs as the audience is not just the American people, but the world – and things can get lost in translation.
Iran has done much more than fund and finance terrorism. They have armed and trained Jihadist terrorist organizations and taken part directly in operations.
Just last week the U.S. Navy intercepted a ship that was headed from Iran to Gaza with missiles and rockets on board. Even more to the point, there is considerable evidence that Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) operate directly with Hezbollah in some operations and some IRGC members have been killed and captured in Iraq. That's why the U.S. designated the IRGC a terrorist organization in its own right last year.
Of course, then-Sens. Obama and Biden were two of just a handful of senators to oppose that measure when it came to a vote.
Unfortunately, President Obama's statements during the press conference also totally ignored Iran's role in the insurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan as detailed over and over by the U.S. military, as well as Iran's deep involvement with Al Qaeda, as detailed by the US Treasury Department within the last month.
Iran was the primary supplier of deadly EFP-IEDs (Explosively Formed Penetrator-Improvised Explosive Devices) to the insurgents in Iraq and operated training camps for those insurgents inside Iran.
Iran’s cooperation with Al Qaeda has long been the subject of much debate with naïve observers claiming that Shiite Iran would never cooperate with Sunni Al Qaeda (completely ignoring the fact that Iran and Sunni HAMAS work closely with eachother). When the subject came up in last year’s presidential campaign, I wrote an article detailing Iran’s longstanding ties to al Qaeda.
Iran’s relations with al Qaeda were brought into greater focus just four days before President Obama took office when the U.S. Treasury Department released a statement with regard to top al Qaeda operatives based out of Iran.
During the course of his presidential campaign, Mr. Obama insisted that Iraq was but a distraction in the war on terrorism and vowed to go after those who were truly responsible for September 11th.
If he was telling the truth, then why is he choosing to engage al Qaeda’s main state sponsor?
President Obama declared in his press conference that “there’s been a lot of mistrust built up over the years” between the US and Iran.
Given that Iran has made killing Americans its national sport and sponsoring Jihadist terrorist organizations its national pastime, why should America trust the Ayatollahs?
President Obama’s statements on Iran in his press conference do not make me feel better at all. I feel much worse...and all Americans need to understand.

The economy is bad right now to be sure and it necessarily dominates the headlines and airwaves. But one day, we are all going to wake up, turn on the TV news and discover that the Ayatollahs have The Bomb. Our children and our children's children will always wonder how we let it happen.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Christopher Holton is a Vice President with the Center for Security Policy. He can be reached at Holton@centerforsecuritypolicy.org. The information contained this article was derived from Sharia Law and Financial Jihad: How Should America Respond?, a special report co-sponsored by the Center for Security Policy and the McCormick Foundation.
 

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