For those of you who follow woke Twitter, you know Wednesday dawned with new promise for so many:
Donald Trump was out of power. Democrats would presumably never lose another election. Doves encircled the White House, children around the world clapped their hands in unison, church bells rang out the good news (in a wholly secular way, of course). It was like a political Xanax for everyone on the left side of the political aisle.
It wasn’t just woke Twitter who greeted Inauguration Day with glee, either. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism that bans Twitter, there was also much merriment.
In a statement reported by Iranian state media outlet PressTV, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Trump was a “stupid terrorist” and said he expected President Biden to erase “the black stains” of the Trump years.
Trump, of course, pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA. The subsequent sanctions have crippled the Iranian economy and Tehran has been violating the agreement by stockpiling enriched uranium — even though Rouhani insisted in his statement Wednesday that “the JCPOA is alive.” They just don’t follow it.
Rouhani also used the occasion to blast Trump’s strike of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, one of the top-ranking figures in the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps. The IRGC is listed as a terrorist organization by the State Department, mostly because it’s the main organ by which Tehran sponsors international terrorism. As Breitbart noted, Soleimani is believed to be responsible for hundreds of American deaths through the years.
According to PressTV, Rouhani claimed “outgoing American president, Donald Trump, registered state terrorism on America’s official record by openly accepting responsibility for the assassination of top Iranian anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in a third country.”
“We had [never before] seen a US president explicitly announcing that he had assassinated a senior military commander who was a guest in a third country,” Rouhani told a cabinet meeting, the outlet reported.
Rouhani was by a drone strike at Baghdad International Airport in January 2020.
“With what this stupid terrorist did, ‘state terrorism’ was inscribed on the forehead of the United States. Today is the end of the political life of the individual who violated international law and [US] obligations for four years,” Rouhani said, according to PressTV.
The outlet went on to report that “Rouhani said Iran expects those taking office in the US to return to the rule of law and work to erase all ‘the black stains’ recorded in US history over the past four years.”
“If they [American statesmen] sincerely return to the law and show their honesty in practice, we will also fulfill our own commitments,” Rouhani said, according to PressTV.
That’s going to be problematic on both sides. Biden has said he would seek to rejoin the JCPOA, although Tehran and the new administration have — at least on paper — vastly different views in terms of where they want to go from there.
In a September piece published by CNN, Biden wrote that “[i]f Iran returns to strict compliance with the nuclear deal, the United States would rejoin the agreement as a starting point for follow-on negotiations.”
Those follow-on negotiations would presumably be to fix the problems the original JCPOA had when it was signed under the Obama administration in 2015. That deal didn’t limit the Iranians’ ability to develop missiles or engage in proxy wars like the protracted conflict in Yemen. It also merely kicked the can down the road, allowing Iran to re-pursue its nuclear ambitions unchecked a decade into the future. Presumably, then, the Biden administration would seek to fix those loopholes.
That’s very much not what Iran wants, though. The Iranians like the terms of the original JCPOA, thank you very much. They have intimated, however, that they would like some form of compensation for the Trump administration leaving the table.
“Now, an opportunity has come up for the next U.S. administration to compensate for past mistakes and return to the path of complying with international agreements through respect of international norms,” Rouhani said in November after the presidential election, according to The Associated Press.
Whether Rouhani wants to keep that line is another question entirely. Iran’s GDP reportedly contracted 7.6 percent in 2019 — that’s before the world’s economies ground to a halt because of the coronavirus pandemic. Under that kind of pressure, Iran has been lobbying the other so-called P5+1 signatories to the deal — China, France, Russia and the United Kingdom, plus Germany — to get the United States to sign back on.
Perhaps Rouhani’s government, now that the “stupid terrorist” is out of office, really is willing to comply with the original terms of the agreement and use it as a starting point for negotiations.
The problem is that Rouhani doesn’t have much time left in office; there are elections in June and Rouhani is term-limited. As much as he might not sound like it, Rouhani is considered one of Iran’s moderates, and the moderates are expected to lose the election to the hardliners. That means we’re going to hear language that’ll make “stupid terrorist” sound positively quaint.
Will Joe Biden want to make a deal with Iran then? How will he deal with the hardliners — by shaking his fist and telling them to cut the malarkey?
The new president wants foreign policy wins, and it’s clear he sees returning to the flawed JCPOA as one of them. He’s already said he wouldn’t have taken out Maj. Gen. Soleimani, one of the chief cogs in the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. That’s basically what Iran wants to hear.
The designation of Iran as a terrorist state isn’t a recent matter or an invention of the Trump administration, either. As the State Department notes on its website, Tehran was officially named a state sponsor of terrorism in 1984, five years after the revolution that birthed the Islamic Republic.
Best known for its sponsorship of Hezbollah, Iran also sponsors “Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, and various terrorist groups in Syria, Iraq, and throughout the Middle East,” according to the State Department.
Maybe, then, that “stupid terrorist” that just left 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. had the right idea after all.
That’s why, along with woke Twitter, Tehran was celebrating on Wednesday, as well.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.