Listen closely. Listen carefully. Almost all the arguments against President Donald Trump’s takedown of Iran’s evil Quds Force leader, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, focus on the idea that Iran is a boiling pot and that America’s response to that heat should be, should always be, to tread carefully, cautiously and diplomatically — as if Iran were the hot-tempered bully you just don’t want to make angry.
But America doesn’t take its marching orders from Iran. America isn’t the younger, weaker, sissier brother in this relationship.
America is the righteous one. Iran is the terrorist regime. How far must America go to appease evil?
Maj. Gen. Hossein Dehghan, the military leader to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said in an exclusive interview on CNN that Iran’s response to President Donald Trump’s fatal drone strike against Soleimani will “for sure be military.”
He then added this: “It might be argued that there could be proxy operations. We can say America, Mr. Trump, has taken action directly against us — so we take direct action against America.”
This, from the country that still figures as one of the world’s biggest sponsors of terrorism, according to a recent report from the State Department.
In the Country Reports on Terrorism 2018, released in November, U.S. officials found that Iran has spent almost $1 billion to “support terrorist groups that serve as its proxies and expand its malign influence across the globe.” For example: Hezbollah. For another example: Hamas. For yet another example: Islamic Jihad.
It’s not as if Iran’s leaders were sitting quietly in their leadership seats in Tehran, gently guiding and governing the country into the 21st century. They’re out and about. They’re out and about and spreading their anti-West, anti-Israel, terrorist-clanging messages as far and wide as they can.
“In January,” the report read, “German authorities investigated 10 suspected Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [Quds] Force operatives. In the summer, authorities in Belgium, France, and Germany thwarted an Iranian plot to bomb a political rally near Paris, France. In October, an Iranian operative was arrested for planning an assassination in Denmark, and in December, Albania expelled two Iranian officials for plotting terrorist attacks.”
Then, of course, there were the direct hits against America.
On Dec. 27, Iran-tied Hezbollah forces attacked a military base near Kirkuk in Iraq with rockets, killing an American contractor and injuring several other U.S. and Iraqi individuals.
On Dec. 31, suspected Iran-backed terrorists stormed the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, setting fires and damaging the building.
That was after Iran spent the summer attacking oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, attacking U.S. ally Saudi Arabia’s oil tanker in the Red Sea, shooting down a U.S. drone. On that last, the Revolutionary Guard said it shot an “intruding American spy drone” that had invaded Iranian air space; America, however, said the drone had been traversing international space over the Strait of Hormuz.
And that has pretty much been Iran’s record of response to every act of terror and aggression its forces have been implicated in over the years — “who, me?” If that doesn’t play, it’s this: America started it.
In other words: Iran is innocent. America is guilty. Now America must pay.
But let’s remember who America is — and what Iran does.
“The Iranian threat is not confined to the Middle East,” said Nathan Sales, the State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism, in a news briefing in November to discuss the terrorism report, Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty reported. “It’s truly global.”
America, in this relationship with Iran, holds the moral high ground. There’s just no good reason to believe otherwise.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE.