Photo Credit: Screenshot: The New York Times
Thomas Friedman interviews President Obama in the White House on Saturday.

One of the most frequent words Obama used in his interview with Friedman was “if”, as in:

— If in fact we can resolve these issues diplomatically, we are more likely to be safe.

— Witness North Korea, which is a problem state that is rendered a lot more dangerous because of their nuclear program. If we can prevent that from happening anyplace else in the world, that’s something where it’s worth taking some risks.

President Obama stated, “Iran has all these potential assets going for it and then added more “ifs”:

 –If it was a responsible international player;

— If it did not engage in aggressive rhetoric against its neighbors;

— If it didn’t express anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish sentiment’

— If it maintained a military that was sufficient to protect itself, but was not engaging in a whole bunch of proxy wars around the region.


After the “ifs,” came hope as in, “By virtue of its size, its resources and its people it would be an extremely successful regional power. And so my hope is that the Iranian people begin to recognize that.”

Obama “hopes” Iran, will change, just like he hoped Egypt would change, Iraq would change, Afghanistan would change, Libya would change, Yemen would change and Syria would change.

Yet, he declares, “We’re not naïve — but if in fact we can resolve these issues diplomatically, we are more likely to be safe, more likely to be secure, in a better position to protect our allies, and who knows? Iran may change.”

And why should Iran change? After all, it is behind some of the worst terrorist attacks in the world through its Hezbollah proxy? It is behind the Houthi rebellion in Yemen. It is arming Hamas with tens of millions of dollars to rebuilt terror tunnels in Gaza. It is sending weapons to Hamas through North Africa. It has deployed troops in Syria to fend off enemies to the Assad regime.

But Obama has an interesting reason why Iran should change. You see, it is America’s fault to a certain extent, and all America has to do is show that My Country ‘Tis of Thee has changed, and then Iran will change. Obama said:

Part of the psychology of Iran is rooted in past experiences, the sense that their country was undermined, that the United States or the West meddled in first their democracy and then in supporting the Shah and then in supporting Iraq and Saddam during that extremely brutal war.

But what if Iran does not change?

Obama literally shoots the emerging deal in the head with the statement, “It is a good deal even if Iran doesn’t change at all. … fact, you could argue that if they are implacably opposed to us, all the more reason for us to want to have a deal in which we know what they’re doing and that, for a long period of time, we can prevent them from having a nuclear weapon.”

President Obama is giving Prime Minister Netanyahu and Congressional Republicans, and some Democrats, ammunition to state, “The only objective of a deal is to have a deal and not to stop Iran from getting its hands on a nuclear weapon.”

The president also contradicted his own assumption that the United States will know if Iran is cheating because “we will be able to inspect and verify what’s happening along the entire nuclear chain from the uranium mines all the way through to the final facilities like Natanz”

That, of course, is based on the assumption that Iran will allow inspections.

After continuing that “we are going to be able to see what they’re doing across the board…and “we’re actually going to be setting up a procurement committee that examines what they’re importing, what they’re bringing in that they might claim as dual-use, .. and, yes, I.A.E.A. [International Atomic Energy Agency] inspectors can go anyplace,” Obama made an unbelievable admission:

Obviously, a request will have to be made. Iran could object, but what we have done is to try to design a mechanism whereby once those objections are heard, that it is not a final veto that Iran has, but in fact some sort of international mechanism will be in place that makes a fair assessment as to whether there should be an inspection, and if they determine it should be, that’s the tiebreaker, not Iran saying, ‘No, you can’t come here.

He is relying on an “international mechanism” although none of them have worked in Iran.


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Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.