Skip to content
Opinion
Eli Lake

Iran Wields a Stick. Obama Offers Carrots.

Don't forget the regime uses terrorism to get what it wants.
"Never threaten an Iranian."

"Never threaten an Iranian."

Photographer: KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images

"Never threaten an Iranian." Iran's foreign minister, Javad Zarif, is reported to have said this to his European Union counterpart this week in the overtime negotiations over a nuclear deal in Vienna.

Lucky for Iran, it is not being threatened in these talks. President Obama has shown little interest in reining in the regime. Indeed, as the Wall Street Journal reported last month, Obama has in recent years tried to entice Iran by urging U.S. allies to release convicted Iranian arms smugglers. Obama writes Iran's Supreme Leader hopeful letters from time to time.  In his recorded messages celebrating Nowruz, the Persian New Year, Obama has emphasized that he approaches Iran with respect.  In December, the president even mused that after a nuclear deal with Iran, the country may go on to become a "successful regional power."