“I do,” he said right away.
Then I asked him if he knew the significance of Iranian belief in the Mahdi for American policy. Well, did he ever! I’d asked the question of at least five other presidential candidates and Senator Cruz’s answer was by far the broadest and deepest. He hit my question out of the park and the ensuing discussion took up much of the interview.
“It’s an important question because it helps understand the views of the Ayatollah Khomenei,” said Cruz. “The 12th Imam, the Mahdi, comes in an apocalyptic final battle where they believe he will usher in the victory of Islam worldwide. And it’s one of the reasons why a nuclear Iran is, I believe, the greatest national security threat facing the country. And, just a couple of weeks ago we had a moment that really drew it in sharp relief — the magnitude of the threat — which was North Korea allegedly testing a hydrogen bomb. We don’t have that confirmed but they appeared to be testing a hydrogen bomb… If you look at North Korea, and go back to the 1990s when the Clinton Administration relaxed sanctions against North Korea — led the entire world in relaxing sanctions — billions of dollars flowed into North Korea in exchange for a promise not to develop nuclear weapons. They turned around and took those billions of dollars and developed nuclear weapons.
“The lead negotiator for that North Korea deal under the Clinton Administration, was a woman named Wendy Sherman. When President Obama was elected, Obama and Hillary Clinton recruited Wendy Sherman to come back and be the lead negotiator in Iran. She’s literally the only person on the planet who screwed this up once…”
“…and she got a second shot,” Cruz echoed. “And she made the exact same mistake. She negotiated effectively the same deal — except in this case it’s a hundred and fifty billion dollars going to Iran for the same empty promises which nobody believes.”
Then he turned to me again and said: “But your question highlights why Iran is qualitatively more dangerous, which is — Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Un were and are both radical and extreme — both father and son are both megalomaniacal narcissists. Which means, hopefully some degree of rational deterrence is possible because they both agree if they ever use a nuclear weapon, their regime would be over. The danger with Khomenei, and this goes to the apocalyptic, theocratic view of Khomenei and the mullahs, is that they glorify death and suicide. They welcome the apocalypse to bring the coming of the Mahdi.”
“And in my view,” Cruz continued, “the North Korean nuclear test is essentially a crystal ball foreshadowing where this country goes if Hillary is elected. That in three, four, five years, Iran, just like North Korea will be testing a nuclear weapon but, given the apocalyptic views, the religious death cult of the leadership, I think the odds are unacceptably high that instead of testing the weapon underground, they’ll test it in the skies of Tel Aviv, or New York, or Los Angeles.”
Mark Guerringue, Sun publisher, said: “Well you’re obviously against the agreement, but what about the agreement? The Iranians… I mean basically you believe the Atomic Agency — the International Atomic Energy Agency — the six countries: Russia, China, France, Germany, Britain, us, that we’ve got a program. You don’t believe it?”
“I do not believe it — at all,” said Cruz… While the deal was being negotiated, ambassadors would come by my office complaining about the enormous strong-arming and pressure that was coming from the Obama Administration to get on board. This was the Administration that drove our allies, did real damage by unraveling the international consensus on sanctions. But this agreement was designed on its face to facilitate Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon.”
“Why do I say that? Number one: we were initially promised anytime, anywhere inspections. That promise got quickly discarded. Under the terms of the agreement, the Iranians get effectively 24 days notice before any inspection. Now, if you’re designing an inspection regime — and I’ve used the analogy before — Imagine if the state of New Hampshire passed a law that said before you can execute any search warrant on a drug lord, you have to give them 24 days notice about the place to be searched. Now that’s an inspection regime that is guaranteed to insure you’ll never find anything. Even the dumbest drug lord on earth, with 24 days notice, would avoid anything being discovered — but even worse, under the terms of the agreement there are some locations that are completely off limits from inspections. And, there are other locations that the Iranians are instructed to inspect themselves!
“Anyone looking at this agreement knows, to a metaphysical certainty, Iran will use this agreement to acquire nuclear weapons. I would note — while this agreement was being negotiated — the State Department is sitting down with the Iranians — a senior Iranian general tweets: “The annihilation of Israel is not negotiable.”
“No one is disagreeing there are radical elements in Iran,” said Sun Publisher Mark Guerringue.
“No-no-no-no,” said Cruz. “It’s not ‘radical elements.’ It’s the leadership. This is not a democratic world where you’re worried: ‘there’s this faction.’ This is an absolute dictatorship. The Ayatollah Khomenei — what he wants — he is the ‘Supreme Leader.’ So it’s not elements. It is the Iranian Revolution that has seized… It’s a theocratic, homicidal — in the middle of this agreement, while it was being negotiated, the Iranian navy set up a mock US Navy ship, did war exercises bombing it. That didn’t cause the Obama Administration to stop. In the middle of negotiating this agreement, the Ayatollah Khomenei, to the assembled masses, joined them in burning American flags and Israeli flags and chanting: ‘Death to America!’ Literally — we’re negotiating with someone who is chanting ‘Death to America!’ and burning our flag!”
And then last week, Iran seizes two Navy ships, does everything they can to humiliate ten sailors — brought them to their knees to humiliate them — and the Obama Administration not only thanks them, heaps praise upon them, and then is now releasing billions of dollars and Iran today is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism! This week we saw something that has never occurred in the history of… which is, the Obama Administration has become biggest financier of Radical Islamic terrorism. We know with absolute certainty that Khomenei is going to take those billions and give money to Hamas, to Hezbollah, to the Houthis, to radical Islamic terrorists. And they will use that money to murder Americans.”
The full Ted Cruz interview podcast
I could go on because I’ve only transcribed half of Cruz’s answer to my question. Suffice it to say that I have no more doubt about who I’m supporting for president in 2016.