The Obama Administration has failed to budge the Islamist dictatorship in Tehran on a wide variety of issues, after one year in office. Iran has made a mockery of the Obama Administration’s engagement effort. It not only has rejected any compromise on the nuclear issue but it stubbornly resists moderating its hostile foreign policy as well. To its dismay, the Obama administration has discovered that apologies and professions of good intentions are not enough to sway the ruthless regime in Tehran.
Iran remains the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism and continues to provide arms, training, and financial support to a wide variety of terrorist groups, including Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Tehran also supports groups that are killing U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Moreover, Tehran continues to hold Americans as hostages, some of whom it threatens to prosecute as spies. The Iranian government announced on December 14 that it will prosecute three American hikers, who inadvertently strayed over its border with Iraq last spring, on espionage charges which could be punished with the death penalty. New charges also were announced in November against Iranian-American scholar Kian Tajbakhsh, who previously had been sentenced to at least 12 years in prison for “espionage.” Tehran also has stonewalled American efforts to locate Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who disappeared on a 2007 trip to Iran.
In addition to these unfortunate Americans, the increasingly radical regime in Tehran essentially has taken Iranians hostage, by dropping the façade of democratic elections after Iranians rejected the results of sham elections in June, and mounting a brutal campaign of repression to choke off dissent. The regime has beaten and killed protesters, thrown them in jail where many are tortured or raped, and staged show trials to discredit their reform movement. Meanwhile, President Obama was slow to criticize the regime’s crackdown and has only belatedly and hesitantly criticized the regime’s human rights abuses, hoping to reach a nuclear deal with a weakened dictatorship.
But this hope of improved relations with the odious regime has been revealed as wishful thinking. There has been little progress on the administration’s efforts to diplomatically defuse the nuclear standoff. Instead, Iran over the last year has spurned western proposals for resolving the nuclear issue, firmly insisted that it will continue to expand its nuclear program, installed hundreds of more centrifuges to enrich uranium, been caught secretly constructing another uranium enrichment facility, and pledged to build ten more.
On top of all this bad news from the last year, the Washington Times reported yesterday that U.S. intelligence agencies now suspect that Iran never halted work on its nuclear program in 2003, as a controversial 2007 National Intelligence Estimate had concluded.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration continues to reassure the murderous regime in Tehran that Washington has good intentions regarding future relations. Unfortunately, the road to hell is often paved with good intentions.