Kyle Wingfield

Political commentary and opinion from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's conservative blogger

Iran shows (twice!) it's not going to change its ways


What a partner we have in Iran !

First this (via CNN ):

"Iran has successfully test-fired a new precision-guided, long-range missile, state-run media reported on Sunday.

"The Emad (Pillar) surface-to-surface missile, designed and built by Iranian experts, is the country's first long-range missile that can be precision-guided until it reaches its target, said Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehqan, Iran's defense minister.

"'To follow our defense programs, we don't ask permission from anyone,' he said, according to state-run news agency IRNA.

"The new rocket is 'capable of scrutinizing the targets and destroying them completely,' IRNA reported.

"The Emad would be Tehran's first precision-guided missile with the range to reach its enemy, Israel."

Then this (via the Washington Post ):

"Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, imprisoned in Tehran for more than 14 months, has been convicted following an espionage trial that ended in August, Iranian media reported Monday. The verdict — belated and opaque — was strongly condemned by the journalist's family and colleagues, as well as the U.S. government.

"State-run TV and the Iranian Students' News Agency both quoted Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejei, a spokesman for Tehran's Revolutionary Court, as saying Rezaian, 39, had been found guilty. But ­Mohseni-Ejei offered no specifics on which charges were involved or whether a sentence had been imposed.

"'He has been convicted, but I don't have the verdict’s detail,' said Mohseni-Ejei, a hard-liner and former prosecutor who criticized Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for shaking hands with President Obama during a chance encounter at the United Nations last month, comparing the gesture to consorting with the enemy.

"Rezaian faced four charges — the most serious being espionage. The judge who heard the case is known for handing down harsh sentences, and Rezaian potentially faces a sentence of 10 to 20 years."

As a Wall Street Journal editorial notes, "The timing of (Rezaian's) conviction won't escape students of history. Friday was the 444th day of his captivity. That was the number of days U.S. diplomats in Iran spent as hostages following the 1979 Islamic Revolution."

So we have a country whose regime is a sworn enemy of ours and Israel's that, having received tens of billions of dollars of previously frozen assets and greater flexibility regarding conventional weapons in exchange for (maybe) putting off its nuclear-weapons ambitions by a decade, responds by unveiling a new and improved ballistic missile and convicting an American citizen. That's an American citizen whose freedom couldn't be won by American negotiators even as they gave away the farm to Tehran. But hey, we "strongly condemned" the conviction! Watch out, Iran: A hashtag campaign may be next!

If you have stood by President Obama's role in this deal, tell me how these developments don't make him look foolish for having trusted Iran enough to agree to such a deal. If your counter is the weak "but other countries did it, too!" that only makes him a foolish primus inter pares.

Finally, if you accepted the deal as a least bad outcome that would at least delay some kind of catastrophic war involving Iran, tell me whether you're still naive enough to believe that.

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About the Author

Kyle Wingfield joined the AJC in 2009. He is a native of Dalton and a graduate of the University of Georgia.