Wall Street Journal writer, Jay Solomon has just written a book titled, “The Iran Wars,” that documents Obama’s actions that favored the radical Islamic regime over the common people in Iran. It did seem a little bit odd that during the Arab Spring, Obama took the side of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Al Qaeda in Libya but refused aid to the revolutionaries in Iran, who had the regime within inches of collapsing. Then it came to me. In Egypt and Libya, it was secular regimes being replaced by extremist Islamists but in Iran it was secularists trying to unseat a radical Islamic regime.
Solomon disagrees with my view. Solomon believes that Obama was playing up to Khamenei in order to keep their secret negotiations intact. The disagreement I have with that theory is if the Khamenei government was overthrown, the nuclear plants would be easy to shut down. I’m not saying Solomon is wrong, I am just offering a different viewpoint on the matter.
At the time, people thought that Obama just refused to help but that isn’t true, he actively aided Khamenei by ordering the CIA to stand down from aiding the rebels with communications, money, and in extreme cases even arms. That is something they have done many times before.
Iran though is a very different story. Obama from the beginning of his presidency tried to turn the country’s ruling clerics from foes to friends. It was an obsession. And even though the president would impose severe sanctions on the country’s economy at the end of his first term and beginning of his second, from the start of his presidency, Obama made it clear the U.S. did not seek regime change for Iran.
It’s debatable whether the U.S. ever did support such a policy. But it’s striking the lengths to which Obama went to make good on his word. As Solomon reports, Obama ended U.S. programs to document Iranian human rights abuses. He wrote personal letters to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei assuring him the U.S. was not trying to overthrow him. Obama repeatedly stressed his respect for the regime in his statements marking Iran’s annual Nowruz celebration.
His quest to engage the mullahs seems to have influenced Obama’s decision-making on other issues too. When he walked away from his red line against Syria’s use of chemical weapons in 2013, Solomon reports, both U.S. and Iranian officials had told him that nuclear negotiations would be halted if he intervened against Bashar al-Assad.
We need to ask ourselves what would have happened if America had a president in 2009?