"Just because Iranian hardliners chant 'Death to America' does not mean that that's what all Iranians believe. In fact, it's those hardliners who are most comfortable with the status quo. It's those hardliners chanting 'Death to America' who have been most opposed to the deal. They're making common cause with the Republican Caucus."
Well, of course not all Iranians want “Death to America.” The problem is that the ones who don’t aren’t allowed much choice in who they vote for.
The result is that Iran is run by people who routinely chant “Death to America.” People who make it dangerous to say anything in praise of “the Great Satan,” who deny the Holocaust, and who think much of Asia and parts of Europe should be under Islamic rule.
They’re not great people. But that’s who Obama is lumping Republicans in with.
In this handout photo provided by the White House, President Barack Obama speaks with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran during a phone call in the Oval Office September 27, 2013 in Washington D.C. Getty Images
This isn’t the first time Obama has accused the GOP of making “common cause” with Iranian hardliners. He did it last March while rebuking Republican senators for the letter they sent to Iran’s leaders. For anyone still laboring under the misconception that Obama limits his arguments to logic and evidence and is above resorting to name-calling, this baseless guilt by association rhetoric should puncture that mythology.
Let’s look at how many levels the “common cause” accusation fails on:
First, yes, it’s true that many members of the Republican Party agree with many Iranian hardliners that this nuclear deal should be rejected. To clarify, “Iranian hardliners” refers to people pulling the levers of power in the Iranian theocratic military dictatorship. This authoritarian regime oppresses its own people and exports terrorism overseas by supporting groups like Hezbollah and Hamas.
That in mind, it is laughably false to think that the GOP – in taking the same position as Iranian hardliners on the nuclear deal – is also in agreement with Iranian hardliners in their support for Islamist dictatorship and terrorism.
Second, just because Republicans and Iranian hardliners both oppose the nuclear deal doesn’t mean they oppose it for the same reasons. Republicans have complained that the deal’s inspection regime isn’t tough enough, while Iranian hardliners say just the opposite: They view the inspections regime as a violation of Iranian sovereignty.
Again, the two groups are hardly reading from the same hymnal.
Finally, what would happen if we applied precisely the same reasoning to President Obama himself? Notice that, in reaching this deal, Obama arrived at an understanding with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin. Just this summer, Obama also reached an understanding with Cuba to reestablish diplomatic relations with the U.S.
Does that mean we get to deride President Obama for “making common cause” with such despicable personalities as Khamenei, the guy who gives Iranian hardliners permission to chant “Death to America”? And with Putin, and Fidel and Raul Castro? It’s guilt by association, right?
No, of course not. And if we tried, Obama himself would chide us for making such a silly argument.
Feature Photo: AP
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