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Opinion: John Kerry has legacy of lies and failure in Iran

David Harsanyi

It took approximately 20 seconds for former Secretary of State John Kerry to drop the first flagrant lie in his Democratic National Convention speech on Tuesday, when he claimed that the Obama administration's so-called Iran deal had "eliminated the threat of an Iran with a nuclear weapon." It didn't get any better from there.

Kerry knows well that sunset provisions in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action provided Iran's government with a pathway to building nuclear weapons in a few years. He knows well that Israel uncovered a giant cache of documents with instructions on how to jumpstart a program to build a nuclear arsenal, which undermined both the spirit and the rationale of the nonproliferation agreement Iran signed. He knows that Iran was developing ballistic-missile programs meant to deliver nuclear weapons.

Kerry's big accomplishment was to destroy a sanctions program that was working, thereby saving the Islamic Republic from economic ruin. This allowed the Islamist government to strengthen its proxies in Syria, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, Yemen and Iraq.

FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2020, file photo, former Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at a campaign stop to support Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden at the Biden for President Fort Dodge Office in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Now, Kerry says Trump "doesn't know how to defend the troops"? Well, I'm not sure that the man who oversaw the billions in direct cash payments to a government that had a hand in murdering and maiming hundreds of American troops has the moral authority to level that criticism. Kerry himself acknowledged that sanctions relief would likely end up in the coffers of Iran's Revolutionary Guard — now a designated terror group. Surely, then, he knew that the pallets of euros and Swiss francs he was shipping to Tehran in an unmarked cargo plane would also find their way to the groups triggering conflicts across the Middle East — not to mention subjugating people at home.

While many argued for a maximum-pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic, Kerry preferred the no-pressure route. The Iran deal, in fact, often seemed to be the Obama administration's top obsession. Nothing would stand in the way. And while the media echo chamber was misleading the public at home, Kerry was placating Russia and allowing a humanitarian disaster to unfold in Syria in an effort to save the deal.

Around the time the Obama administration was chasing an Iran deal, the Syrian government, backed by the Islamic Republic, was crossing the president's "red line" and gassing civilians. Michael Doran, a former senior director of the National Security Council, noted that from the beginning of the crisis Obama "showed deference to Iran on the nuclear front" and "the same deference to the Iranian interest in Syria." Even when the Unites States began funding rebel forces in Syria, the administration reportedly wouldn't allow Iranian's ally to be touched.

When pressed on the matter by some Syrian civil-society workers in London, then Secretary Kerry snapped, "What do you want me to do, go to war with Russia?" Obama officials — led by Kerry — long peddled this false choice: the Iran deal or war. Well, we are no longer a party to Iran deal, and there is no war. Meanwhile, there is a highly weakened Iran, and there are growing alliances among our Sunni allies and Israel.

Kerry would continue to entertain Iranian officials even after he was out of government. When Trump ordered a drone strike of the terrorist Qasem Soleimani, a man who masterminded the killing of American soldiers and thousands of Iraqi civilians, Kerry said the world was in "no way at all" safer, and claimed that Trump was risking an "outright war." All Iran did was launch a performative counterstrike.

Kerry was wrong about Iran. Kerry was also wrong about Israel — a nation he doesn't ever seem to consider an "ally" in his speeches about Obama's alleged foreign-policy successes. And when the U.S. embassy was about to be moved to Jerusalem, Kerry warned it would lead to "an explosion" in the Middle East — more specifically, "an absolute explosion in the region, not just in the West Bank and perhaps even in Israel itself, but throughout the region." Moreover, Kerry declared, it would have a serious and negative repercussions on relations between Israel and the Arab world, making peace far less likely.

Of course, outside of some typical Palestinian noise, the opposite has happened. Only recently, Israel and the United Arab Emirates agreed to a historic deal that normalized relations between them. They were no doubt partly brought together by the Obama administration's unprecedented coddling of the mullahs. Other Arab Gulf states are expected join the UAE, though it is well-known that many of them already have clandestine working relationships with Israel. This week, Sudan, the third-largest Arab nation, announced it was close to reaching its own peace deal with the Jewish state.

All of this seems pretty significant. It would surely have been massive news if the Obama administration had helped forge the pacts. Right now, though, Obama has one more Nobel Prize than he does a peace agreement. And time keeps proving John Kerry wrong.

David Harsanyi is a senior writer at National Review and the author of the book "First Freedom: A Ride Through America's Enduring History With the Gun."

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