April 11, 2016 | Quoted by Mosaic Magazine

Trade Won’t Lead to Iranian Moderation

Last week, it became evident that the U.S. was planning to allow the Islamic Republic to make financial transactions through American banks, using American currency—in direct violation of a promise made by the secretary of the treasury to Congress last year. The White House has now suggested a workaround that does little to allay concerns about money-laundering and financial support for terror. Why so much eagerness to aid the Iranian economy? Clifford May explains:

It could be because Obama sees the Iran deal as an important part of his legacy [and] he fears that Ayatollah Khamenei will walk away from the deal as soon as the stream of benefits stops flowing. It could be because Obama wants to bolster the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, whom he regards—incorrectly, I’d argue—as a moderate. It could be all of the above. . . .

[But] consider this possibility: he believes in the power of commerce to transform the regime, to convert its theocrats into tycoons more eager to make money than war, more focused on building nest eggs than spreading the Islamic Revolution. . . .

[This strategy’s] most obvious flaw: Iran’s theocrats are already filthy rich—and they’ve never been overly concerned about the deprivations suffered by the average Iranian. “This revolution was not about the price of watermelons,” Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran’s first “supreme leader,” famously stated. Not a shred of evidence suggests that his heirs see things differently.

Read the full article here