Nowruz, the Persian New Year, started around 3,000 years ago. Linked to Zoroastrianism, it is celebrated by millions in Asia from the Caucuses to the Black Sea and even in the Balkans.
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So, it is no surprise that the White House and Department of State issued similarly benign messages for a Happy New Year.
US President Joe Biden called it a time “to give thanks for loved ones” and to “reflect on your blessings,” while Secretary of State Antony Blinken wished “all our friends across the world” a new year filled “with hope and renewal.”
But, make no mistake, their Nowruz blessings were primarily aimed at the Iranian Mullahcracy, and their blessings were surely celebrated by pro-Khamenei lobbyists in Washington. Those same lobbyists frequently urge the US government to send these olive branches whenever they can straight to Tehran, always without any controversy or criticism.
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei apparently never got the memo ahead of his own Nowruz message.
The crazed religious extremist spoke as he is this close to a bonanza of billions of dollars in sanctions relief while also being able to affix nuclear weapons to his cache of ballistic missiles.
President Biden’s efforts to forge a bromance with Tehran has been met, not with olive branches, but ever escalating threats and violence against the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
This weekend alone his International Revolutionary Guard Corps [IRGC] signaled Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi terrorists to sling missiles from Yemen toward Aramco facilities in Jeddah. Then, in his Nowruz message, Khamenei invoked Department of State spokesperson Ned Price who in January falsely claimed Iran's destabilizing activities took place during the previous administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign. Price refused to acknowledge the truth: Iran’s rapid nuclear enrichment has taken place since the current administration began to loosen pressure on Tehran.
“One of the sweetest events [of the last year]” Khamenei, gushed this weekend “was the Americans admitting they suffered a ‘humiliating defeat’ in their maximum pressure policy against Iran.”
Who can blame the supreme leader for celebrating what he called “the correctness of the path” of Iran?
It appears that Khamenei is about to get everything he could have wished for and much more: the United States is widely reported as to be considering removing the majority of Iranian sanctions, giving the terrorist regime billions in cash, and even – incomprehensibly – removing the terrorist designation from the IRGC.
It must enrage millions of suffering Iranians, and those with historic links to the region, that the terrorist regime in Tehran hijacks their new year’s celebration of peace and hope every year by desecrating it to promote more death and destruction.
This Nowruz we think of people of different faiths and those suffering within Iranian borders. We think of the Bahai and Christians, along with Jews, Hindus, and Muslims whose beliefs don’t match the Mullahs. We think of the millions who live within reach of Iranian blackmail and terrorism and who now must live in fear lest the Holocaust-denying-regime is empowered to unleash a nuclear Holocaust.
Instead of caving to Tehran, millions of Americans, of all faiths, want the United States to infuse suffering Iranians with hope for their future during Nowruz. The State Department should be standing with Iran’s real dissidents and its diaspora and should be working to pull together an alliance of moderates from Rabat to Tashkent, including moderate Shia from Manama to Baku. We should be standing with brave lonely, voices in cities like Beirut who dare to denounce the likes of Hezbollah.
Otherwise, it will all get worse.
Do you have to live outside the Washington Beltway to see the list of unchallenged horrors grow?
Last week, it was a rocket attack conducted from Iran on Erbil targeting the home of a businessperson adjacent to the US Consulate. Then there was Iran’s successful procurement of a 530 million British pound payout for releasing two British citizens it had held for years. A third hostage released was promptly returned to the infamous Evin prison.
Iran has shown time and again it only changes its behavior when the United States squeezes the regime, relentlessly.
If a super majority of democrats and republicans in Congress currently working to stop the White House from signing an Iran deal in Vienna do not succeed, then the new deal will surely guarantee escalating bad behavior from Tehran, everywhere.
As we have all prayed these last three weeks for the annihilation of Ukraine by Russia to stop, we have also all been given a front row seat to the devastation wrought by ballistic missiles.
Well, Iran could soon become a nuclear state with at least 3,000 ballistic missiles.
With or without the nukes, every state in the region, and beyond, could suffer the same fate as Kiev.
Israel and Saudi Arabia as well as their neighbors will not stand idly by. Energy security will become more perilous. Inflation will rise even more. The dream of reform, peace, and prosperity will be in the very center of Tehran’s apocalyptic bullseye. Diplomats from the United States, Israel, and our allies, including Gulf Arab allies, will be targeted for assassination. More hostages will be taken.
Reckless panicking? No.
It is the stone-cold truth. Don’t take our word for it. Hear it directly from the architect of the Iran Nuclear deal himself, Rob Malley. He told a reporter in 2018 exactly what he thought about Iran changing its behavior after a deal, “it is an illusion to imagine that in exchange for lifting US sanctions Iran is going to change a foreign policy that is deeply ingrained, they feel has helped ensure Iran’s continued influence in the region.”
No Wonder that this Nowruz, the supreme leader, with help of “the Rob Malleys,” is celebrating our Nuke deal follies.