Propaganda Won’t Make the Iran Deal Any Better

Following the election of Republican candidate Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States, Iran, its lobbies and its economic partners are weighing in and trying to hedge the windfall earnings of an eight-year-long rapprochement campaign against a possible shake-up of U.S. foreign policy.

And they’ve taken to mainstream U.S. media, making their case through lopsided reports and op-eds that misrepresent the nuclear deal signed with Iran or to defame Iran appeasement critics who will likely find their way into president-elect Trump’s cabinet.

But the disasters of the nuclear deal and the broader appeasement policy toward Iran are just too harsh to be covered up through dishonest journalism.

New York Times report that appeared a few days after the elections cited “76 national security experts” urging Trump to reverse his hostility toward Iran, claiming “the nuclear agreement has reduced the threat of war in the Middle East.”

The truth, however, is that post-JCPOA, turmoil and chaos in the Middle East has only escalated, which is in no small amount due to the economic incentives that are allowing Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) to pursue its expansionist agenda in the region.

Testament to the fact is the tragic situation in Syria’s Aleppo, increasing sectarian violence in Iraq, and more hostility and clashes in Yemen and the waters off its coast.

CNN polemic penned by a renowned Iran lobbyist picks up the same argument and suggests that Iran can play a key role in defeating ISIS, and that Trump should “build on the Iran nuclear deal to resolve remaining tensions with Iran and help stabilize the Middle East.”

Again, the argument falls short of the truth. The Iranian regime’s relation with ISIS and its precursor, al-Qaeda Iraq (AQI), has always been one of symbiosis. The entities aid and abet each other through the propagation of fundamentalism and terrorism in the region. In fact, one of the greatest contributing factors to the emergence of ISIS was Tehran’s sectarian meddling in Iraq and its violent intervention in Syria -- and incidentally, Obama’s nonintervention.

Others warn against the threat of Iran walking away from the deal to the U.S.’s detriment and racing toward developing nuclear weapons, pushing the U.S. toward military engagement. But as history has proven, the Iranian regime backs down in the face of firm and decisive policy and leniency only provokes it into becoming aggressive.

And when the proponents of the Iran deal and its parent policy run out of arguments, they resort to unearthing old lies and debunked theories to criticize former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, a secretary of state hopeful and a vocal critic of the Iran deal, for his support of the Iranian opposition group MEK, which happens to be the first party to shed light on Tehran’s illicit nuclear program.

While the articles vehemently defend the Iran deal by overstating its achievements and insisting Tehran has kept its side of the bargain, they surprisingly fail to go into the essence of the deal itself and its many inherent flaws, including among others Iran retaining the right to enrich uranium -- which used to be a nonstarter -- and to deny IAEA inspectors access to military sites. In fact, Iran effectively remains a nuclear threshold state for the next ten years, after which it can resume its weapons building activities with renewed fervor.

Neither do they mention that following the signing of the deal, Iran has breached the terms on at least two accounts, fails to uphold the spirit of the deal by continuing to develop ballistic missiles, and contrary to expectations, has grown more hostile toward U.S. nationals and the U.S. military presence in the Gulf region.

Hitler's propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels once said, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” In this case, I beg to differ.

Regardless what President Trump does with the Iran deal, he had it right when he called it a foreign policy disaster. And that is something that no amount of fake news and propaganda will change.

Amir Basiri is an Iranian human rights activist and political analyst. He tweets at @amir_bas