Iran is mocking President Barack Obama and the United States at the same time that Obama is attempting to stop Congress from imposing new sanctions, according to Elliott Abrams' Pressure Points blog:
But what is Iran doing while the president woos legislators? Laughing at us all. Yesterday, Iran’s foreign minister–one of the reputed moderates in the Rouhani camp–was in Beirut and laid a wreath at the grave of Imad Mughniyeh.
Mughniyeh was the Hezbollah terrorist who had killed more Americans than any other man until the attack on 9/11. Mughniyeh was involved in bombing the Marine barracks in Beirut, the bombings of US embassies, the torture and killing of CIA station chief William Buckley in Beirut, the hijacking of TWA 847 and the murder of Navy diver Robert Stethem–among other acts of terror. He was also indicted in Argentina for the bombing of the Israeli embassy and Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.
Abrams suggests Iran is holding the administration hostage to the nuclear negotiations.
This dishonors those whose lives were taken by Mughniyeh, but it does more: it suggests to Iran that the administration is now hostage to the nuclear negotiations. For the Obama administration, the talks MUST succeed and nothing will be permitted to get us off that track. This is dangerous, freeing Iran not only to honor a terrorist who murdered Americans and to give greater backing to terrorism today, but ultimately to cheat on the nuclear deal as well–under the logical assumption that the Obama administration will not see evidence it does not want to see and that would turn its diplomatic achievement into dust.
National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden condemned the decision to commend the Hezbollah terrorist.
"The United States condemns the decision taken by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif Khonsari to place a wreath at the grave of Imad Mugniyah, a former leader of Lebanese Hezbollah responsible for heinous acts of terrorism that killed hundreds of innocent people, including Americans," said Hayden. "The decision to commemorate an individual who has participated in such vicious acts, and whose organization continues to actively support terrorism worldwide, sends the wrong message and will only exacerbate tensions in the region."
Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, is critical of the toothless White House response.
"Like all Obama administration tough talk, it's talk without action, condemnation without consequence," writes Kristol. "We will do nothing in response to Zarif's gesture of contempt. Which is itself contemptible."