Cooper: Remember, Iran is still Iran

Cooper: Remember, Iran is still Iran

September 4th, 2019 by Clint Cooper in Opinion Free Press

The Associated Press/Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, right, speaks to reporters last week, reiterating his country would not meet with the U.S. unless it ended economic sanctions against the country.

Photo by Vincent Thian

Iran is not a nation that shares similar values with the United States and does not have the best interests of its neighbors at heart. For some reason, some people in this country still want to treat it as if the differences in the two countries were minimal and easily solvable.

Forty years ago this fall, on Nov. 4, 1979, a group of Iranian college students supporting the Iranian Revolution stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took 52 American diplomats and citizens as hostages. An era of large-scale terrorism, from which the U.S. believed itself immune, had been born.

By the day the hostages were released, on Jan. 20, 1981, Iran was a different country, the Middle East was a more explosive region and the efficacy of diplomacy to diffuse tense, high-level disagreements among countries could no longer be counted upon.

Between then and now, the country has become the world's most prolific exporter of terrorism.

Today, many on the left are clamoring for the U.S. to return to a nuclear agreement like the one former President Barack Obama signed with Iran and five other countries in 2015.

When will they ever learn?

Not long after the Obama-era agreement was signed, Iran allegedly began violating two articles in it: Article II, which states nonnuclear-weapon states-parties shall not "manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices" or "seek or receive any assistance in the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices," and Article III, by not abiding by terms of the International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards "for the exclusive purpose of verification of the fulfillment of its obligations assumed under this Treaty with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices."

Subsequent 2018 revelations by Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also underlined ways in which Iran was not in compliance with the deal it signed.

President Donald Trump, who had campaigned that the deal was one-sided and never should have been made, said on May 6, 2018 the U.S. would withdraw from the agreement. The U.S. then returned to impose crushing sanctions on the country and said countries caught buying its oil also might receive sanctions.

However, the other countries involved said they had no intention of withdrawing from the agreement, in which Iran agreed to limit its nuclear activities in exchange for reduced sanctions.

Like a playground bully, though, the Middle East country now says it needs to change the rules since the U.S. has withdrawn from the deal and it has surpassed limits on nuclear enrichment set out in the agreement.

In other words, Iran says it will negotiate a new deal in which it agrees to stop enriching uranium at the level where it already has violated the agreement in exchange for the five countries buying oil from Iran and making sure the money reaches the country.

Who makes a deal like that? But that's what European powers are considering and is the type of agreement 2020 Democratic presidential candidates would love the U.S. to return to.

Even Trump, at the recent meeting of G7 leaders, seemed to be open to a meeting with the country.

But Iran's president, still not willing to admit his country is the bad actor, said no such meeting would occur unless the U.S. lifted all sanctions and would "bow your head [in respect] to the nation of Iran."

We don't see the U.S. agreeing to such ridiculousness and believe it would be better off keeping the crippling sanctions on the country. However, minus any preconditions, as with North Korea, we don't see downsides to simply meeting.

Should such meetings ever occur, our negotiators should understand something the Obama administration did not — that Iran needs a deal much worse than we do and that no agreement is needed just to say there is an agreement.

For now, Iran is still Iran. Nothing has happened in the last 40 years, including the previous administration's agreement, to change it. It continues to sow seeds of terror in the Middle East as its people starve. It continue to be a repressive regime. It continues to believe the U.S. is "The Great Satan."

We wish it were possible to view the country as we wish it could be, but history has taught us the fallacy of that notion.

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Chattanooga Times Free Press Comments Policy

The Chattanooga Times Free Press web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Times Free Press web sites and any content on the Times Free Press web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Times Free Press, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Times Free Press websites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Chattanooga Times Free Press
400 East 11th Street
Chattanooga, TN 37403
Phone: 423-757-6315