Stop radical Iran strike force, Joe

Many years ago — way back in the 20th Century — there was a thing called the three-strike rule. As readers know, today, a criminal can have a hundred strikes and still be happily walking the streets. Still, although it may no longer work on the streets, I do wonder why the three strike rule can’t apply in foreign affairs.

A week ago today the author Salman Rushdie was almost killed onstage by a young assassin. The novelist suffered appalling injuries — his throat, kidney, face and other parts of his body were hacked. He is exceptionally lucky to be alive. But as The Post found out when speaking to the alleged assailant, the motivation was obvious. Twenty-four year old, New Jersey born Hadi Matar praised the late Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini and his 1989 fatwa on Rushdie. For a third of a century the Iranian authorities have kept their fatwa in place, with various Iranian politicians, businessmen and foundations making sure that a bounty remained on the author’s head for the “crime” of writing a novel.

For 33 years, Rushdie has managed to survive multiple assassination attempts. But none came so close to killing him as what happened in New York state a week ago today. The free world’s media might have reported what happened to Rushdie with horror. But Iran’s state-run press reveled in the attack, using their front pages to show Rushdie burning in hellfire, decapitated or with his head in a noose.

Matar praised the late Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini.
Hadi Matar is accused of stabbing Rushdie to fulfill the fatwa.
AFP via Getty Images

But it isn’t just novelists that the Iranian authorities are after. Last week we also learned more details about a thwarted assassination attempt against two former US government officials. This was the highly developed disrupted plot in which Iranian agents were attempting to kill former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former National Security Advisor John Bolton. The Department of Justice has indicted a member of Iran´s Revolutionary Guard Corp for the attempted killings.

The Iranians appeared to be targeting Bolton and Pompeo as revenge for the 2020 killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani who was killed as he was plotting against American forces in Iraq. Soleimani had a blood-soaked career across his whole region, so of course he was a great hero of the Mullahs. He was their best killer and America was right to take him out of the arena.

But the fact that the Iranians thought they could retaliate by killing former US government officials on US soil? How dare they even think about it? How dare it even cross their minds that they could be able to send cells of assassins onto US soil to murder senior US officials?

Yet you don’t have to be a high level official or a world famous author for the Iranian authorities to think they can kill you on American soil. In recent days there was information on yet another attempt to kill a critic of the regime who lives here in Brooklyn. The brave young critic of the Ayatollahs, Masih Alinejad, has survived a previous attempt a year ago to kidnap her and smuggle her back to Iran via Venezuela. This month police noticed a man — now identified as Khalid Mehdiyev — loitering outside her house. He turned out to be waiting for her with a loaded assault rifle.

So it seems that the Iranians think that the US — and New York in particular — is somewhere where they can carry out assassinations and murder people with impunity. And what is the current US government doing?

Well if you study the responses of the White House and State Department to this trio of outrages you will see something very curious. They condemn the attack on Rushdie as “appalling.” President Biden rightly praised Rushdie as someone who “stands for essential, universal ideals.” Which he does. But why no pointing of fingers? Why no clear calling out of the Iranian regime for its incitement and assassination plots?

The answer is that the current administration is in a difficult position because while this rash of assassination plots are going on the American government is busily trying to cosy up to the Iranian regime. All because the Biden administration is desperate to fulfil its campaign promise of getting into the P5+1 nuclear deal.

Men in front of a portrait of Ayatollah Khomeini.
Matar praised former Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini and his actions.
AFP via Getty Images

The whole thing is purest folly — even before you take recent events into account. When America was in the nuclear deal with Iran, the UK, EU, Russia and China it was meant to restrain Iran’s nuclear ambitions. But amazingly enough the Iranians lied. Even when everyone including America was in on the deal the Iranians hid parts of their nuclear program. They continued to enrich uranium and develop other technologies that could only be intended to create nuclear weaponry.

President Trump of course pulled out of the deal and was right to do so. But Biden desperately wants back in, partly because that is common Democrat wisdom and partly just so he can reverse one of Trump’s strongest foreign policy moves. So America is in a very strange position.

Qassem Soleimani was an Iranian general praised for his ability to kill.
The Iranian government reportedly tried to kill Mike Pompeo and John Bolton for the killing of Qassem Soleimani.
Getty Images

Iran is a self-declared foe of the United States. It repeatedly incites the murder of this country’s citizens and the citizens of our allies, including Israel. Now it is plotting and carrying out the most brazen attacks imaginable on US soil.

So what precisely does the Biden administration think can be gained from getting Iran “on side.” They’re not on our side. They haven’t been since the Revolutionary Islamic government took over in 1979. And far from preventing Iran getting the bomb, a nuclear deal of the kind the US signed up to before could be one of the fastest ways to see them get one.

Of course that would be a disaster. If you like how Iran is behaving without nukes, you’ll love what they’ll be able to do once they have them.

In the last month alone Iran has been found committing three strikes against the US. Instead of sucking up to them is high time this country changes and calls them “out.”

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