Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, accustomed to pacifism from the White House, stirred a hornet's nest when warned against further U.S. sanctions due to take effect next week. Rouhani is said to have told a meeting of Iranian diplomats: "America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars."
President Donald Trump responded via a tweet:
"To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!"
When Hassan Rouhani was selected to follow hard-liner president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran's new leader, he was thought to be a more moderate candidate. In truth, for 35 years, Rouhani had served as an unswervingly loyal Islamic cleric and a close aide to the Ayatollah Khamenei. Rouhani was only one of six presidential candidates. After an incredible 678 candidates had been disqualified by the regime as being ideologically unsound, Rouhani was the final choice.
Under the continued leadership of Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Rouhani, Iran now exerts domination over a number of proxies: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, Yemen and Afghanistan. Iran has revolutionary guards stationed in Syria and Yemen. Iran is said to be shipping weapons and military advisers either directly to Yemen or through Somalia. And it has long been known that Iran funds both Hamas and Hezbollah, two terror organizations that sit in close proximity to Israel. The Shia nation has quickly become this decade's version of al-Qaeda.
For several years, I interviewed a number of Iranian leaders when they traveled to New York City for meetings at the U.N. One of the more memorable encounters was with Ahmadinejad. When I arrived at the Fox News Network interview in New York with the former Iranian president, his spiritual adviser and I discussed the belief in the Mahdi by some Iranians. He related to me that Ahmadinejad travels often to a well in Jamkaran, Iran, to pray to the Mahdi, whom Iranians believe is the last descendant of Muhammad and will one day dominate a world under an Islamic caliphate.
Just before the Fox interview, all Iranian politicians were asked to leave the room as a group of mullahs entered. They sat side by side in a line of chairs facing Ahmadinejad and, I suppose, prayed to the Mahdi.
The spiritual adviser said that when Ahmadinejad had previously spoken at the U.N., the power of the Mahdi came upon him, and a green light filled the hall where they sat. According to Ahmadinejad, nobody blinked for 28 minutes. I was assured that he was not exaggerating; it actually happened. Apparently, the hypnotic effect was credited to the mesmerizing presence of the Mahdi on those assembled.
Trump has stated that the Iranian regime supports terrorism and exports violence, bloodshed and chaos. The chaotic mix is a toxic poison combining apocalyptic fanaticism with terrorism. One of Trump's initial objectives as president was to reverse President Barack Obama's nuclear deal with Iran. From his first day on the job, Trump was determined to ascertain that Iran was in total conformity with all edicts handed down by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal terms. Trump needed to be certain that all ambiguities regarding site inspections, enrichment levels and other issues were addressed and rectified.
Nixing the deal with Iran would mean restoring massive crippling sanctions until Iran fully dismantled its nuclear weapons capabilities. From the beginning, Trump called the Iran deal the worst deal ever.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: "The president isn't looking at one piece of this. He's looking at all of the bad behavior of Iran. Not just the nuclear deal as bad behavior, but the ballistic missile testing, destabilization of the region, No. 1 state sponsor of terror, cyber-attacks, illicit nuclear program."
When the Obama administration marketed the JCPOA to senators and representatives in 2015, he declared to his constituents that the agreement was limited in scope; that only nuclear sanctions would be affected. President Obama assured the American people the U.S. would remain a wary adversary of Iran's regional avarice by reestablishing sanctions and other measures if needed. What did the West reap from the deal with Iran? Several things:
A suspension, albeit temporary, of that country's nuclear pursuits seemingly increased openness regarding Iran's stockpiles, centrifuges and research facilities. When the plan was approved by former president Obama, his jubilant remarks were broadcast in Iran. He boasted, "This deal offers an opportunity to move in a new direction. We should seize it."
The "new direction" could be a signal to all terrorists worldwide that if you can outwait the United States, it is proof that crime really does pay. It was a clear call that the former administration was fearful of the results of standing firm against terrorism and terror states. This was likely the largest terror bonus in American history.
With President Trump's definitive tweet, it seems we finally have a president with the moral courage to stand up to the Iranian threat, something no previous U.S. president has seemed willing to do.
Mike Evans is a No. 1 New York Times best-selling author with 89 published books. He is the founder of Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem, of which the late president Shimon Peres, Israel's ninth president, was the chair. He also serves on the Trump Evangelical Faith Initiative.
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