The sham conviction of an American hostage in Iran, Tehran’s new testing of long-range missiles and Russian military action in Syria are all negative consequences of the U.S. joining the nuclear deal struck in July, according to Middle East and terrorism expert Dr. Walid Phares.
The latest bombshell is Iran’s announcement that a court there has convicted Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian. The statement did not mention which charge or charges were ruled upon, offer any evidence of guilt or mention how much more time Rezaian would spend in a brutal Iranian prison.
Phares is convinced the conviction is part of Iran’s strategy to demand future concessions from the United States.
“It’s always to seek a trade, to seek an exchange. They do have some demands that we’re not aware of with regard to the United States and maybe some allied countries that they need to exchange Mr. Rezaian with these other persons,” said Phares, who is an adviser to the United States Congress on the Middle East and terrorism. He is the author most recently of “The Lost Spring.”
Phares says Iran has a long history of using hostages to get what it wants.
“The Iranian regime, since its inception in 1979 with the first hostage crisis in Tehran and again in Beirut with the Hezbollah hostage crisis, have made it very clear. On their policies, they will use hostages on major issues, not on minor issues. Now we’re experiencing this for the third time in three decades,” said Phares.
In addition to the quest for a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration claimed the deal would bring Iran closer to the community of responsible nations. Phares says by giving Iran everything it wanted in the deal, it only ratcheted up the ambitions of the mullahs.
“The Iran regime for many years has showed that once they obtain what they want from the United States, then they’ll move to the second stage which is to obtain more,” said Phares. “I have been monitoring the Iranian regime’s behavior for the last 30 years, since my days in Beirut and again after the Cold War. It has a constant policy of using one stage to get to the next stage.”
And what does Iran want next?
“I’m afraid now that the Iran deal has been signed that the Iranian regime is going to build further missiles. We have the crisis yesterday and today of these new tests. Then they are going to be expanding in the region, in Iraq and Syria, now that the Russians are expanding as well,” said Phares.
According to Phares, the baseless conviction of Rezaian is further proof that the Obama administration made a major error in negotiating the nuclear deal.
“The United States administration, in my view, made a mistake for not including the liberation of all American citizens held in Iran during the Iran deal talks,” he said, suggesting the Obama team grossly miscalculated how Iran would act in the wake of the agreement.
“Now the administration realizes that the Iran regime obtained everything they wanted, including the cash which they are going to be using for buying more weapons and exerting more influence and still using the influence they obtain from the fact they have American hostages in their hands,”said Phares.
Less than a month after the U.S. Congress failed to stop American participation in the Iran nuclear deal, Phares says it is no coincidence that missile tests, show trial convictions and Russian involvement in the Middle East is unfolding now.
“Days later the Russians started to deploy into Syria. They did not want to engage in any action that would allow the United States Congress to pressure the administration not to sign or not to execute a deal,” said Phares, lamenting that the deal is already reaping the exact opposite of its intended goals
He says Syria may never regain all of its territory but we’re guaranteed to see more chaos.
“All the areas between the Turkish borders and the Lebanese borders, which are mostly alawite would now be under Russian protection. Beyond that, the Iranians are going to try to introduce forces into Syria and along the borders with Iraq. So we are heading toward more wars not less wars because of the Iran deal,” said Phares.