President Obama’s loose-lipped Energy Secretary has struck again. Physicist Ernest Moniz got in trouble earlier this year when he promised that any nuclear deal with Iran would include “anytime, anywhere” inspections, a pledge that he had to walk back once the U.S. signed off on a pact that, at best, provides Tehran with a 24-day warning period for any visits by the International Atomic Energy Agency. That earned Moniz some scowls from Secretary of State John Kerry who claimed that such a thing was impossible. But Moniz may have really stepped in it yesterday when he told a webcast audience that the administration anticipates an increase in terrorism as a result of the agreement with Iran. Moniz’s admission provides critics of the nuclear deal with a startling admission that backs up their claims that the massive influx of cash into the ayatollahs’ coffers will enable it to increase their support of Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists who are preparing for a war the nation Iran has targeted for elimination: Israel. Most importantly, it debunks the notion that Iran is moderating and won’t take advantage of the pact to undermine the interests of the U.S. and its allies.
Moniz is a strong supporter of the deal whose scientific credentials have been used to bolster its arguments that it retards Iran’s progress toward a bomb. But while he has the talking points about the technical aspects of the pact down pat, he strayed off the administration reservation when asked in a webcast sponsored by the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs about terror.
We are concerned about some possible escalation in their support for terrorism, meddling in the region in terms of stability. Obviously Hezbollah terrorism is an example.
Secretary Kerry has denied that this is the case and President Obama has similarly ignored the certainty that Iran will use what is anticipated to be at least $56 billion in frozen assets that will be released to it to fund terrorism. Iran’s government and its Revolutionary Guard will also grow richer from the massive influx of foreign investors and businesses interested in profiting from the end of sanctions. But, if, like Obama and Kerry, you believe that Iran’s leaders are too pragmatic to act on their ideology that mandates that they seek Israel’s elimination and to assert hegemony over neighboring Sunni Arab states, then rewarding them with vast sums of money is not a problem. The same is true for the administration’s lackadaisical attitude about Iran’s ballistic missile program, a factor that potentially puts the U.S. and Europe in as much peril from their nuclear program as Israel.
Curiously, Moniz’s faith in the nuclear pact leads him to think that foreclosing the path to a bomb will free up the U.S. to take a more aggressive approach to Iran’s adventurism in the region. But that runs counter to what we’ve been hearing from President Obama. According to the president, Iran’s hateful ideology isn’t an important factor in determining the value of the nuclear deal because he believes it is too self-interested and too fearful of U.S. actions and the re-imposition of sanctions.
How then do we square that kind of optimism with Moniz’s admission?
The obvious answer is that we can’t.
There is no reason to believe that anything is about to change in Iran. To the contrary, by facing down the U.S. in the negotiations and emerging with their nuclear program intact and the end of sanctions, the Islamist regime’s legitimacy has been strengthened. Only two years ago, the theocrats were in trouble with the country’s economy in ruins from sanctions and with seemingly no choice but to surrender their nuclear dreams. But Obama’s zeal for a deal changed all that. Iran now finds itself in a position to give even more assistance to their allies in Syria and Lebanon. As we noted on Wednesday, it is already playing a pivotal role in helping to prepare Hamas for another war against Israel as its funds and equipment have been put to work digging more terror tunnels and strengthening Gazan fortifications.
Moniz told an unfortunate and inconvenient truth about the nuclear yesterday. It remains to be seen whether any of the wavering Congressional Democrats were listening and prepared to draw the only possible conclusions about the nuclear deal from what he said.