Although establishment analysts focus on Iran’s actions, in addition, what Iran’s leaders say, merits close attention as well. When we try to understand their ideology and their goals, we must not assume that they use the same cost-benefit analysis as we do. This regime is driven by an ideology that is fueled by a vision of the end times. 

Timmerman writes, “…the United States remains vulnerable to a massive event, potentially devastating, caused by the confluence of the Iranian regime’s ideology and its military capabilities. Like EMP or a massive coronal ejection, such an occurrence will be a low probability-high impact event. Will we detect that confluence before it happens? If the past record of our intelligence community and our political leaders is any guage, the answer is a resounding no.” 

According to Timmerman, this is why: “Even the best analysts of the foreign policy establishment limit their analysis to the actions and capabilities of the regime. They note, for example, that when the United States Navy retaliated by sinking Iranian warships after the regime’s unpredicted and confusing decision to lay mines in the Strait of Hormuz, the regime leadership backed off.  Operation Praying Mantis is still viewed as a resounding success.” 

It is a mistake to think that this meant that the ruling clerics and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) respect American power. 

The regime leaders have instilled chants of Death to America” in the generations since the revolution. The analysts say this is nothing but ‘hot air’.  Iranians are prone to exaggeration, they say.However, in those exaggerations, they reveal goals and aspirations that we dismiss as hot air. 

This regime, and the IRGC leaders have boasted for nearly thirty-five years, that they will drive the United States from the Middle East.  I can remember my father telling me after the Beirut attack on the U.S. Marines that Iran had won,” the son of former IRGC commander Maj. Gen. Mohsen Rezai told me after he defected to the United States. He said, with a single bomb, we have forced the Americans to pull out of Lebanon. With a few more bombs, we will force them out of the region entirely.” 

This is their goal and they are a lot closer to fulfilling it. What once was a long-term aspiration, is now a goal Iran’s leadership can see on the near horizon. 

This explains their violation of international law last January, when IRGC gunboats captured U.S. sailors gone adrift at sea and humiliated them in front of cameras. It’s how we can understand Chinese made C-802 ship-killing missiles were installed on the Red Sea coast of Yemen, where IRGC crews actually fired on a U.S. warship in October. They are testing us, pushing to see what it will take to drive us from the region. 

“Under Obama, of course, they found us sorely lacking. From his first days in office, President Obama told the Iranians openly he would end the long-standing U.S. ‘hostility’ toward the Islamic regime. He wanted to ‘open a channel’ for talks, and did,” Temmerman says, but adds that, “Iran’s ruling mullahs quickly decided to test Mr. Obama. When three million Iranians took to the streets of Tehran and other cities to protest the stolen ‘re-selection’ of President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad as President, they held up signs in English for the CNN cameras. ‘Obama are you with us?’  When Obama failed to respond or provide even lip-service to the yearning for freedom of the Iranian people, the regime responded on cue.” 

Not surprisingly, regime officials showed photos of the U.S. president on state television, pointing to him, saying,Obam’ast,” turning his name into a play on words. He’s with us.” 

Obama’s actions seemed to play into that. As an ever-rigorous set of sanctions were imposed by Congress, Obama waived their application, until relentless bi-partisan push-back forced the sanctions. 

It was devastating to Iran’s economy. By 2014, fear that income from reduced oil exports would not be enough to cover subsidies on basic foodstuffs to the poor, most of the faithful supporters began to revolt. it was then that Obama carried out “the most astonishing, unnecessary, unilateral capitulation since Chamberlin went to Munich in 1938, offering to remove the sanctions for a temporary reduction in Iran’s nuclear programs,” according to Timmerman. 

The pro-Tehran lobby and the traditional foreign policy establishment are holding seminars, writing opeds, and talking to whoever will listen, President-Elect Trump must hold on to the nuclear deal, but their intent is to distract from tremendous danger inherent in the nuclear deal.  

The risk behind the nuclear deal is that it legitimizes the Islamic state of Iran as a nuclear power ten years down the road. 

Timmerman writes, “What’s ten years, when you are staring at all eternity? That’s how Ayatollah Khamenei and the IRGC generals think. That’s how their successors will think, if the current regime remains in power.”  He continues, “Their goal was and remains to erase Israel from the map (or ‘from the pages of history,’ if you want to get literal), and to bring about Death to America. And yet, if there’s any effort underway to measure their progress toward those goals in our intelligence and policy establishment, none of our political leaders have taken it seriously.”  

Ignoring the ideology and long-term goals of the Tehran regime puts us at peril. Creative strategists who think outside the box, like Lt. General Mike Flynn, who has been appointed  National Security advisor, and General James T. Mattis, appointed as Secretary of Defense will be of great help to the Trump administration.