Bottom Line Up Front
As criticisms pile on President Trump, an Oct. 20 dialogue with former House of Representatives Speaker, Newt Gingrich, about the president’s Iran policy illuminates an ally who stands with the president in harsh times. It’s easy to stand with someone when times are going well. It makes the “brother” feel good, but it’s correctly viewed with suspicion by the target of the newly-found friendship.
Speaker Gingrich indeed is a friend of the president, not just on Iran but across a spectrum of issues.
Consider an annotated address by House Speaker Newt Gingrich to the Organization of Iranian American Communities (OAIC) on U.S. Policy toward Iran Friday, Oct. 20, 2017.
Gingrich started by saying, this is a very interesting time. The president’s UN speech of Sep. 20, 2017, to the United Nations and his Iran strategy speech of Oct. 13 in Washington and that of mine of Oct. 20. The president’s address concerned refraining from recertifying Iran’s compliance with terms of the July 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the Permanent Members of the Security Germany with Iran. Gingrich said the president’s address followed the right path: Trump didn’t break out of the agreement but communicated it was not viable.
Gingrich said Trump reminded us the accord is not only about nuclear weapons. Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 was written in such a way that decertification was a national interest consideration but not the only one. In this respect, the address is a “watershed event,” per Gingrich. For the president to say Iran’s actions are such that he is unable to certify it’s in our national interests to continue adhering to the nuclear agreement is huge. It is prudent to refrain from leaving the agreement now, but rather, it is time to say it should be revisited, rethought, and may well renegotiated.
The position of Gingrich, penned in FoxNews.com and as a newsletter during the week beginning Oct. 8, is titled, “Death to America.” This debate is not just about Iran’s nuclear program. It is about ending a dictatorship by the Iranian people, not by an outside invasion. How?
First, “the Iranian regime is a dictatorship with a façade of democracy.” You can’t pretend elections offer any serious choices to the Iranian people. Such pretense is fanciful.
Second, the regime routinely, consistently tells you who they are. When they have a missile, for example, on which they paint “Death to Israel” before they test it and they take a picture of the missile, so you can see that it says, “death to Israel,” there is some reason they’re giving you a hint.
Third, the regime also has other missiles that have “Death to America.” Tehran alternates which one it really wants to use first.
The Iranian regime is ultimately a mortal danger to the United States to the Iranian people in 1988, and to the world, Gingrich said. In 1988, Tehran assassinated 30,000 political prisoners, most of whom were prodemocracy members of the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran (PMOI), Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK), now the largest unit within the National Council for Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
It is fantasy to suggest the dictatorship would survive without repression. And so, you have a repressive dictatorship that projects power to and through the Mediterranean, has plans to build a port in Lebanon.
The IRGC dominates the Iranian economy, and if in fact we’re serious about isolating them and restricting them we’re going to have a huge impact that ripples back to the entire Iranian economy. [See the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI-US): IRAN: The Rise of the Revolutionary Guards' Financial Empire: How the Supreme Leader and the IRGC Rob the People to Fund International Terror.]
In referring to the Iranian regime’s operations in Washington, Gingrich said, “I also think that we must look at — and this is a real sea change — I’ve been actively involved in this, including involvement in trying to defend the good name of the National Council of Resistance of Iran and the MEK all the way back to when I was Speaker. Because basically the Iranian dictatorship ran a 'false flag' operation to set up a totally phony designation the State Department and bureaucracy accepted.” False flag terrorism occurs when elements within a government stage a secret operation whereby government forces pretend to be a targeted enemy while attacking their own forces or people. The attack is then falsely blamed on the enemy to justify going to war against that enemy.
So, for a long period of time we were willing to listen to the actual dictatorship while not listening to the resistance, even though it was trying to tell us the truth about the dictatorship, which was lying to us. And we’ve gradually worked our way back, the former speaker added.
Gingrich focused on the role of the leading Iranian opposition, “I do believe that in fact the NCRI has a tremendous potential, and I also want to say that I believe that Mrs. [Maryam] Rajavi has done an amazing job of leading an organization through a very long, very difficult period. And I would hope that at some point in the future that she would be given an invitation to officially visit the United States, and have a chance both to meet with American leaders in Washington, but also to go around the country. She is one of the examples of a symbol of resistance to the dictatorship that would have a huge impact across the whole country and would also send an important signal to Europe about the way in which our policies are moving.”
The Way Forward
These are dangerous times between the North Korean crisis and the Iranian challenge, particularly the Iranian challenge in Southern Lebanon and southern Syria, that we may well have — we may well be in the most dangerous since the Cuban Missile Crisis. It’s going to take a great deal of work and a lot of courage. The president began that process and that deserves a great deal of credit for having been willing, one, to insist on decertification and two, twice now both at the United Nations and in his speech on decertification, telling the truth, vividly and clearly and decisively, about the Iranian dictatorship in a way that no senior American political leader’s ever done before. So, I give the president real credit for starting to move in the right direction. This path of includes regime change from within lead by the National Council of Resistance of Iran.
Prof. Raymond Tanter (@AmericanCHR) served as a senior member on the Middle East Desk of the National Security Council staff in the Reagan-Bush administration, Personal Representative of the Secretary of Defense to international security and arms control talks in Europe, and is now Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan. Tanter is on the comprehensive list of conservative writers and columnists who appear in The Wall Street Journal, Townhall.com, National Review, The Weekly Standard, Human Events, The American Spectator, and now in Newsmax. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
Edward Stafford is a retired foreign-service officer; he served in Political-Military Affairs at the State Department, as a diplomat with the U.S. Embassy in Turkey and taught at the Inter-American Defense College. You can follow him @egstafford.
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