The United States, Germany, Russia, France and the United Kingdom entered into an agreement with Iran in 2015, which has been effective in keeping Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

Iran had agreed to limit sensitive nuclear activities and allow scrupulous international inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency in return for the lifting of crippling sanctions.

Because the six-nation accord had been successfully negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry under the aegis of President Barack Obama, it was almost predictable that President Trump would pull out of the agreement. He did so in 2018, even though the UN’s certified monitors advised that Iran was in full compliance with all the terms of the deal, and all the other signatories and the European Union were highly pleased with it.

Trump unilaterally abandoned the deal, and reimposed sanctions on Iran and the nations that trade with it. After Trump ordered the assassination of two of Iran’s military leaders, the country announced it considers the deal dead. Thus, Iran will probably resume production of highly enriched uranium, something all nations to the deal and the UN strongly oppose.

By Trump unilaterally breaking this important international nuclear agreement without cause, America’s powerful reputation in the world for honoring international agreements was significantly damaged, just as it was badly wounded when Trump abandoned the Paris Climate Accords, which will officially occur on Nov. 4.

It is not in America’s national security interest to have in office a president who goes out of his way to curry favor with traditional enemies while offending NATO allies.

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the president a moron for repeated reckless behavior, and former Defense Secretary James N. Mattis resigned when he realized that the president would not listen to sound advice and was a threat to world peace. Mattis and Tillerson were proven right, when on Jan. 3 the president ordered the assassination of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani in Baghdad. That would probably never have happened if the prudent Tillerson and Mattis were advising him. U.S. officials knowledgeable of the Middle East knew what such an assassination might trigger.

It happened because Trump is now surrounded by the likes of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has always favored an aggressive stance with Iran. The most immediate effect of the Suleimani killing was a vote in the Iraqi Parliament to demand U.S. troops leave the nation. Because the president has threatened to destroy over 50 cultural sites in Iran, the United Nations may be asked to censure the United States (for committing war crimes).

Are Americans safer today because Suleimani and his assistant were assassinated? Universal opinion is that the United States is now at far greater risk of attack, both at home and around the world.

How may the Iranians react to the assassinations? It has been suggested that cyber attacks may be expected, or terror attacks against our troops, who are stationed all over the world. Perhaps the Iranian leadership may take a more nuanced and personal view of matters and decide not to attack U.S. interests, but to target Donald Trump directly.

They know of his megalomania and obsession for his vaunted name. They know of his passion for money. Might the Iranians limit their actions to perhaps just attacking his properties around the world? Its leadership knows that he has been impeached by the House of Representatives and realize that he is unpopular with millions of Americans, who abhor his policies and immoral behavior.

The Persians, who have dealt with tyrants for centuries, may elect to not act against U.S. forces or civilians, but instead limit their attacks to just Donald Trump, his family and corporate interests. Indeed, the government of Iran may simply encourage a legal authority (mufti) to issue a fatwa, as Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomeini did in 1989 against Salman Rushdie for publishing “The Satanic Verses.” It called for Rushdie’s assassination. Such fatwas can remain in effect for decades.

Whatever happens cannot have a happy ending for the average American or the average Iranian. One remembers the words of Samuel Butler, who warned, “As the ancients say wisely, have a care o’ th’ main chance, and look before ere you leap; For as you sow ye are like to reap.”

Paul R. Dunn lives in Pinehurst. Contact him at

(12) comments

Peyton Cook

There is too much in this article that is not accurate. First of all, Iran has been at war with the United States since the unprovoked occupation of our Embassy in Tehran and holding hostage the occupants for over 400 days in 1979. Since then it has been nothing except referring to the United States the “Great Satan” and calling for “death to America”. Secondly, Iran has been the major supporter of radical Islamic terrorist organizations. These include Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen among other. Third, General Soliemani, Commader of the Quds Force, lead the terror operations. This included the develop and deployment of IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) in Iraq against our Armed Forces. These devices are responsible for over the death of over 600 servicemen and women and the maiming of many others. General Petraeus said that Soliemani never came to Iraq where he could have been taken out. Fourth, the Quds Force had organized and armed several Iraq militia units. Fifth, Soliemani was under a UN travel ban. When he entered Iraq, President Trump correctly ordered his well deserved demise. Sixth, Iran has engaged in several provocative acts against the United States to include seizing a Naval vessel and humiliating the crew and shooting down a drone. Seventh, the nuclear agreement engineered by Kerry and signed by Obama was personal and not submitted to the Senate. It gave the US nothing except a ten year promise from Iran to suspend nuclear activities for 10 years. The sanctions on Iran were lifted, but continued missile development. Finally, there has not been a declaration of war since World War II, yet we have engaged in military operations in Vietnam, against Iraq in 1991 to remove them from Kuwait, and in both Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. The War on Terror is a generational conflict in which is a major participant. The United States has used only ever restrictive sanctions to the pursued Iran to cease their bad behavior. Don’t believe that the Iranian regime is universally supported by ordinary Iranians.

ken leary

From the Guardian, May 23, 2015: "Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, thanked the US secretary of state, John Kerry, for blocking an Egyptian-led drive on a possible Middle East nuclear arms ban at a United Nations conference, an Israeli official said on Saturday."

I wonder why the USA did that?

Mark Hayes

With all due respect to the author of this fine piece, he has eliminated the fact that we as a nation are not beholding to any others, none have had terrorist fly jets into their high rise buildings, attempted bombings of their events, so until they do, their opinions mean little. It is better to be the victor than the victim. The top 10 providers of assessed contributions to the U.N. Peace Keeping Operations for 2019 were as follows. The US (27.89%), China (15.21%), Japan (8.56%), Germany (6,09%), United Kingdom, (5.79%), Italy (3.30%), Russian Federation ( 3.04%). Now NATO, the same, US funding is far more than others, so Mr. Dunn, do not worry about how the world sees the US, because we are the funding source for their security. I do agree , we should let these countries deal with Iran and all others that feel we have damaged their relationships, pull our troops out, but don't leave our equipment behind, maintain a strong Military within our own country, much like China, eliminate refugees coming to this country that come from that environment, let them fight for their own freedom, or succumb to being controlled by a religious fanatical government. These people are thankless for the sacrifices we have as a country made for them, let them perish or prosper, but not with our funding and aid. This has nothing to do with Trump or any others that you have mentioned in this psychobabble column, most of what you always contribute is the same repetitious columns, we get it, you have a disdain for Trump. Must be egotism that draws those like you to this site provided by The Pilot.

Dan Roman

Many countries other than the US have had actual bombing of events, not just attempted, as well as multiple acts of terrorism. The US contributes more because historically we have had more to contribute and much of the world, until recently much of the world looked to and admired the US as a big brother. Isolationism isn't the answer, the US isn't a snail destined to crawl into and live in a shell and prevent anyone else from entering despite the best efforts of the current administration. Didn't work after WW I, still a bad idea.

Mark Hayes

If isolation is not the answer, then why do you live behind security gate ?

Dan Roman

Security gate? Sorry, fresh out! A security gate in a residential community provides nothing but a false sense of security.

Mark Hayes

There are many forms of security that permits isolation, for many it is financial, able to avoid the presence of those they wish to avoid. I know what security gates are, I know what gated communities are, been in this area going on forty years, I have seen them pop up like weeds. I don't condemn those who live behind them, I ridicule those that are behind them, and then put on the facade of " everyone " is welcome in this country. I have seen many changes in Pinehurst and surrounding areas, I as of yet noticed a trailer park within those city limits, or a low income and government subsidized apartment complex within view of the " isolation " zone, and doubt I ever will. As for the terrorist attacks in foreign countries, you are correct, they have occurred, and mostly by those who were taken in as refugees, or are the off spring of those taken in as refugees, so I must correct myself on that issue. We are faced with the same dilemma when it comes to Latino gangs and there presence here, but since none have started gang tagging the Pinehurst area, yet, there is little concern.

ken leary

With all due respect to your opening sentence, it suggests a rather poor understanding of reality, and history. Or it suggests a willful subjugation of reality to accommodate one's mental stability. Some people just "can't handle the truth." It jars their foundation. I had such a moment about fifty years ago; like someone pulled the carpet out from under me. I came to understand that much of what I unconsciously believed about the world, the USA, was a lie. Surprising that you didn't experience that after coming home. You still prefer the lie . I must say though your sentence, "It is better to be the victor than the victim." says a lot about the fear and depravity people experience and act upon in this world.

Mark Hayes

Ken, my mental stability is just fine. In layman terms, you are an idiot, one that seeks attention with your outlandishness , a mindless individual with no thoughts of your own. You seem disappointed in your own outcome in life, so don't drag others into that dismal existence you seem so well adjusted in.

Richard Wright

One of Mr. Dunn's weaker arguments but as usual on the wrong side of history. The United Staes did not enter into an agreement but rather Obama did. The agreement was never put before the Senate for debate and ratification to have the power of a treaty. Iran could and did continue to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles needed only for the eventual development of nuclear weapons. The agreement gave Iran more than a billion dollars in cash and access to hundreds of billions more used to pursue terrorist activities throughout the middle east. The inspection regime touted by Mr. Dunn had severe limitations on access - no military facilities and none could be unannounced. Soleimani was responsible for the death of hundreds of uS military. Justice was served. And despite Mr. Dunn's feelings, Soleimani's demise was overdue and will not put the world at any greater risk to terrorism. Iran will not change their ways until their people realize their leadership will leave Iran behind.

Kent Misegades

I hear an echo of Neville Chamberlain.

Jim Tomashoff

Well Kent, if you hear an echo of Chamberlain, it's probably because knowledgeable people hear an echo of Hitler in you. You're an unabashed social darwinist who worships an authoritarian. Just how many skinhead events did you attend during your many happy years in the Fatherland?

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