The diplomatic talks over Iran’s nuclear program have culminated in a deal. The particular terms—at least those that have been disclosed—are predictably ominous. Despite stringent-sounding limitations and inspections, the deal effectively clears the path for the Islamic Republic of Iran to cheat and game its way toward nuclear capability. For more than a decade, deception has been the hallmark of Iran’s quest for nuclear technology; why expect that to change now? Clearly, this is a bad deal, but the debate over what a “better” deal should look like ignores the underlying problem: to engage Iran in diplomacy is to disregard and downplay that regime’s vicious character and goals.
For decades Iran has been at war with us, but our intellectual and political leaders pretend otherwise. Tehran is a leader of the Islamist movement, the cause animating al Qaeda, the Taliban, the Muslim Brotherhood and kindred groups. It’s a regime that tramples on the rights of its own citizens, and it seeks to kill and subjugate beyond its borders. Through subcontractors like Hezbollah, Iran has committed many acts of aggression against the United States and other Western interests, going back three decades. Iran was behind the 1983 bombings of the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon and later bombed the barracks of U.S. Marines, killing 241. In Iraq, Iran supported insurgents who murdered American troops. It is aiding the Taliban in Afghanistan, and it has supplied weapons and rockets to Hamas in Gaza. Simply inviting it to the negotiating table is to confer on Iran an undeserved legitimacy.
Understanding Iran’s character is a necessary condition for defining a sound policy response. Since the 1980s, we at the Ayn Rand Institute have been calling attention to Iran’s actual character. The articles, talks, blog posts, and books listed below help explain how Iran is central to the Islamist totalitarian movement; what a proper, retaliatory response looks like; and how America’s irrational policies have crippled our ability to eliminate that menace.