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August 22, 2016 3:41 pm

Former Pentagon Analyst: As in Past, Iran Seeking to Humiliate US With Accusations of Nuclear-Deal Violations (INTERVIEW)

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Middle East expert and former Pentagon analyst Harold Rhode. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Middle East expert and former Pentagon analyst Harold Rhode. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Recent accusations by top Iranian officials that the US has violated last year’s nuclear agreement merely represent a continuation of a longstanding Iranian policy of “humiliating” the US, a Middle East expert and former Pentagon analyst told The Algemeiner on Monday.

Harold Rhode, an expert on Islamic culture who worked for the Pentagon for 28 years, was referring to the latest Iranian claims that America is not abiding by the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), reported by Iranian regime-aligned news agency Tasnim on Sunday.

According to the report, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, an adviser to the speaker of the Iranian parliament, said, “Iran proved its honesty to everyone, but the US reneged (on the agreement) as usual and like (it did) in the past.”

Last month, as The Algemeiner reported, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani threatened that Iran would withdraw from the JCPOA if the US did not live up to its commitments.

“Without understanding Iranian culture, it is impossible to understand what is going on,” Rhode said. “Nothing is in and of itself. The way negotiations work among Iranians is that an agreement as we understand it means nothing. It is nothing more than a step along the way to getting what they want.”

Rhode continued: “In the Middle East, you never take responsibility for anything yourself; you always push whatever it is onto somebody else. You blame others. And the problem is that both President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry, I don’t know whether willfully or unwillfully, refuse to understand Iran in the Iranian context. And the Iranian context is that the agreement means nothing, except as a way to shame America into doing what Iran wants, which is to push further and further.”

Rhode, who studied at a university in the northeastern Iranian city of Mashhad in the late 1970s and speaks Farsi, pointed to the 1979 taking of US diplomats in Tehran hostage for 444 days as a past example of this behavior.

“From an Iranian cultural point of view, at all times there is a balance — ‘Are you giving it or are you getting it?’ And this has nothing to do with women,” Rhode said. “It’s simply domination; it’s simply power. That is what happened with the hostage crisis under Jimmy Carter.”

According to Rhode, the Iranian students who took over the US Embassy in Tehran in November 1979 at first “figured they could get something small out of America.” But, he noted, when America “gave in and tried to negotiate with the new regime over the hostages, the Iranians said, ‘Hey, we’ve got a good thing going,’ so they kept pushing more and more and humiliated America. And each time America gave in, the humiliation got stronger. Throughout the Middle East, it showed that America was weak and either unwilling or unable to do what was necessary to stop the whole thing.”

The fact that the American hostages were released on the very day that Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president in January 1981 was very significant, Rhode said.

“When Reagan became president — and this has something to do with Donald Trump as well — the Iranians were petrified he’d nuke them,” Rhode said. “The exact moment the plane carrying the hostages home left Iranian airspace was when Reagan raised his hand to take the oath of office. Now the question is why. Because the Iranians were afraid of Reagan.”

Turning to the handling of the Iran nuclear issue by the current administration in Washington, Rhode said, “When you don’t want to learn from what has happened in the past, the saying is, ‘Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.’ For Obama and Kerry, the nuclear agreement is exactly in that context. The Iranian leadership is playing them, constantly humiliating them.”

Rhode, whose detailed analysis of Iranian negotiating behavior for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs can be found on the think tank’s website, said a proper American approach to Iran would entail ensuring that “the Iranians understand it is not in their interest” to defy the United States.

“In the Middle East, there is no such thing as public opinion; there is survival. I saw how people in Iran went overnight from being pro-Shah to pro-Khomeini,” he said, referring to the Islamic Revolution that ousted Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi and ushered in the reign of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Rhode concluded: “We’re in a situation today in which it’s not just the Islamic world, but the entire world, which is seeing America as a paper tiger. Two things are always necessary in a power relationship — the ability and the willingness to impose your will. Lacking both, it’s as if you have no power and no ability. You could be the strongest country in the world, but if you have no will, it’s as if you have no power. The Iranians know that Obama has no will, and therefore they can say and do whatever they want.”

Meanwhile, Reuters reported on Monday that German exports to Iran jumped 15 percent in the first half of 2016 compared to the same time period last year, thanks to the removal of international sanctions in the wake of the nuclear agreement.

Michael Tockuss, the head of the German-Iranian Chamber of Commerce, was quoted by Reuters as saying exports to Iran were expected to rise by as much as 25% for the whole of 2016, and by 30% in 2017.

“The sanctions against Iran were built up over several years and it now will take some years to reverse them and establish new business ties,” Tockuss said.

On Sunday, as reported in The Algemeiner, Iran released images of its first domestically built long-range missile defense system — called the Bavar 373.

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  • Yale

    Iran has never had any intention of abiding by the agreement. Their objective, from the beginning, was to end the sanctions, get as much money as they could and then find a basis for abandoning their commitments. Accusing the US of not abiding by the agreement, even after the sanctions regime was destroyed and they got their billions, is a little rich. The only remaining question is whether Obama and Kerry are just stupid or whether they wanted this result.

  • sidney sands

    It was forecast, there was no doubt, that the Iranians would TWEEK the nose of Obama, they knew he is WEAK bends over backwards not to offend the Muslim’s, he closed his eyes with the deal he made with Iran, they could not believe their luck, they now have the money, they now have the long range rockets, and they still have the means to make an atomic bomb, they lie, they cheat, they still hate America and would do it harm, wake up WORLD if we don’t, our way of life will finished.

  • Yves

    excellent article, learned something here

  • Stan Nadel

    “The exact moment the plane carrying the hostages home left Iranian airspace was when Reagan raised his hand to take the oath of office. Now the question is why. Because the Iranians were afraid of Reagan.” This is nonsense–they let the hostages go because the Reagan campaign had made significant promises to reward them for keeping the hostages during the campaign and until Carter was out of office so Reagan could win and get credit for their release. Once he was President the hostages were released, Reagan claimed the credit and Reagan paid off the Iranians–as we learned during the Iran-Contra affair.

    • Peter Anthony

      U are worse than the problem
      just like the vermin that did for Hitler what U are doing for Hussein Obama Clinton & the usual vermin!
      Unless Trump & Trumo ONLY can prevent the WWIII Nuclear Hollocast that Ue precious socialists [Clinton first then Obama & heaven forbid third the other Clinton vermin] have deliberately created, when the “mushroom clouds” form over you & your children’s heads, you can thank ONLY your deliberate ignorance\evil or both of those qualities!

  • Myron Slater

    Don’t trust them!

  • Herold you just hit the nail on the HEAD!!! When one deals with the lik’s like Iran or any other Arab Country and sit down to negotiate anything it is the same as HORSE TREADING and they are very good at it. America, OBAMA, Kerry have all been Sheared and taken to the cleaners and HILLARY is no better. For that exact reason America and the World needs a Qualified Horse Trader who knows and understand the art of negotiating like TRUMP!!!

  • Ephraim

    And, unlike with Reagan, they have a willing and active co-conspirator in the White House.

  • Jonah

    Irans not playing us Obamas playing intellectuals that attempt make sense out of his actions without the understanding that Obamas prime objective is to destroy Israel and America in that order. Obama has no will?…..I beg to differ with you. He has created a worldly helter skelter with the Arab Spring that was his will, he is playing the world like a fiddle when it comes to the :Syrian fiasco, while getting everything he wants, he has destroyed Europe with Isis infiltration and is well on his way in America, he duped the whole world and the American congress with the Iranisn deal. He has recruited Hillary and Bill along with Humus to carry out his will to the T. In the event he feels they may have an Achilles’ tendon he has fueled a ukranian conflict which could easily turn into WWIII keeping him in office by decree. The only ones being played are writers and intellectuals who attempt to understand him without the scriptural knowledge of knowing who he really is. He has left the intellectuals of the day so far in the dust that when they finally emerge from it their will be a mushroom cloud or a hoard of knife welding caliphate jihadists hunting them for sport.

    • Ted Crawford

      It’s spiritual warfare: the intellectuals are blind as bats! They need to repent(cataclysmic paradigm shift). For Obama… The Lake Of Fire awaits.

  • Hopefully, the next U.S. President has uncommon courage to confront Iran. If Mrs. Clinton wins, Iran will be further emboldened to humiliate America, and acquire nuclear weapons. And the current neo-détente initiative toward Iran is destabilizing the Middle East.