President Donald Trump holds up a signed executive order to...

President Donald Trump holds up a signed executive order to increase sanctions on Iran, accompanied by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, left, and Vice President Mike Pence, in the Oval Office of the White House, in Washington on Monday. Credit: AP/Alex Brandon

President Donald Trump recently did a wrong thing, then a right thing, then another right thing, then another right thing and a wrong thing in trying to keep the evil, terroristic, conniving leaders of Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Of course, President Barack Obama had helped give these plotters a surefire means of achieving their Hiroshima-end: the hopeless Iran deal. Concerning their murderous Middle East ambitions and preparations for war, they received a Joe Biden-like hug. However, to the disappointment of much of Europe, profitably trading with the Islamists, Trump opted out of the deal. The purpose was to try to save millions of lives, more important than money.

This forever belittled man in the White House immediately called for new negotiations and began imposing sanctions of the kind that got Iran to the table in 2015 for talks with its pals, Russia and China, and also the European Union, France, Germany, Britain and the United States. The resulting agreement was the answer to everything, leftists and European officials have insisted, failing to mention that Iran violated it 32 times in trying to buy prohibited nuclear technology from Germany.

Iran got caught and the Obama administration said the violations were therefore not violations. That’s a strange incentive to keep trying, but stranger still is that the deal did not require Iran to get rid of facilities capable of enriching uranium that could help turn cities to dust. Right now, it is enriching again, but wait, say defenders. It sent most of its highly enriched uranium to Russia. This buddy has already sent some back.

Obama said we would be able to inspect when and where we wanted but Iran said no on military bases, and here I turn to a Harvard Kennedy School scholar who cautioned that these bases provide “an enormous sanctuary for clandestine nuclear weapons work” and that this was “the largest loophole in arms control history.”

Additionally, the United States took billions in frozen Iranian assets and told Iran the money is yours again and we’ll watch as you build your economy. What we watched was Iran shipping the money to homicidal Hezbollah and other terrorist proxies. Despite U.N. resolutions, Iran has been testing ballistic missiles, and The New York Times carried a story about its building what looked like a long-range missile that could hit the United States.

Trump, always asking for new negotiations, has tightened sanctions to the extent that the Iranian economy is hobbling and the regime looks shaky. It recently made some military maneuvers that caused a U.S. general to order more ships and troops and then Iran unconvincingly claimed it did not fire on oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz. When it shot down a U.S. drone, Trump ordered retaliation that could have killed 150 people (bad), backed down (good), ordered a cyberattack (good), ordered sanctions on leaders (questionable) and warned that an obliteration party would take place after any hit on anything else American (bad).

Drawing red lines can put you in an impossible situation, such as risking war for next to nothing or looking like a measly coward if you don’t. But Trump, who campaigned against the Iraq war and aimed to get us out of Syria and Afghanistan, is absolutely right in saying NATO should be guarding the Strait of Hormuz and that a unified Europe on the side of ending the Iranian threat could well end it.

If Obama had heeded the Constitution and made this a treaty requiring two-thirds approval by the Senate, we would either have ended up with no deal or a much better deal with Trump unable to scotch it. Now we get other Democrats, presidential candidates, telling us with qualifications that they would reenter the old deal if elected, thereby signaling Iranians to give up on nothing until Nov. 3, 2020.

Thanks so much.

Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service.

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