President Obama condescendingly blasted opponents of the Iran deal as war-mongers who inflate threats and have "made common cause" with Iranians chanting "Death to America" who also oppose the deal. Well, guess what the Iranian leaders who support the deal saying?
"Death to America."
Here's what President Obama said on August 5:
"In fact, it's those hardliners who are most comfortable with the status quo. It's those hardliners chanting 'Death to America' who have been most opposed to the deal. They're making common cause with the Republican Caucus."
These inflammatory lines are an insult that imply two dangerous falsehoods: One, that there are moderate Iranian regime leaders who don't chant "Death to America" and, two, that these moderates—like President Obama—are being challenged by political extremists.
If the deal's supporters are so concerned about the "Death to America" chants of the deal's Iranian opponents, let's take a look at what the deal's Iranian supporters say—those who, by President Obama's standard, have made common cause with his administration:
"Saying ‘Death to America’ is easy. We need to express ‘Death to America’ with action." – “ Moderate” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, May 2013; deal supporter.
"Of course, yes, Death to America." — Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, March 2015; deal supporter.
"Our policies toward the arrogant government of the United States will not be changed at all." –Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei, July 2015, (statement made after the deal was announced).
"If a day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the arms Israel has in possession, the strategy of colonialism would face a stalemate because application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in Israel but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world." –"Moderate" former Iranian President Rafsanjani, December 2001; deal supporter.
Democracies require voters and their leaders to have honest— even if heated — dialogue about the issues. The dialogue must include facts and logic from different points-of-view. The entire country suffers when policy is influenced by consciously-crafted falsehoods like the one above and undue accusations of malice and idiocy.
The debate about the Iran deal has intelligent, well-meaning advocates on both sides. It should be passed or rejected based on its true merits.
Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s national security analyst, a fellow with Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio. Read more, contact or arrange a speaking engagement.