HERNDON, Va., Oct. 1 (UPI) -- As a youngster, I found it amusing to watch horror movies depicting characters naively falling victim, repeatedly, to monsters harboring hostile intent.
As an adult, I find it far from amusing to see a U.S. president naively falling victim to such monstrous hostile intent.
Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama initiated a call to Iran's new president -- Hassan Rouhani -- marking the first contact between presidents of the two countries since Tehran's mullahs took power in 1979.
Following the conversation, Obama suggested a nuclear agreement could be reached, building upon the foundation of the fatwa Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei issued in January against the development of nuclear weapons.
The reference is another indicator of Obama's naivete as such declaration lacks any legal impact. Had Khamenei seriously sought to give such a declaration legal bite, he should have issued it as a presidential edict.
Also indicative of Obama's naivete is his description of Rouhani as "moderate" -- a label that totally disregards the Iranian president's checkered past. After heading a team that negotiated with the European Union over a decade ago on Iran's nuclear program, Rouhani wrote a book, bragging about how he duped the West. Rouhani's agenda -- to obtain nuclear weapons -- hasn't changed since then.
Obama is the sixth U.S. president to serve in office since Iran's mullahs took power and broke off diplomatic relations with the United States. What follows should be obvious to Obama at this point:
1. Attempting to secretly undertake a program to develop a nuclear capability, Iran claimed its purpose peaceful once discovered -- but it refused to implement transparency.
In the 11 years since the program was discovered, Iran has sought to hide additional facilities deep underground and to destroy evidence above ground that would reveal its true intent.
While numerous U.N. resolutions and sanctions were implemented, significantly damaging Iran's economy, Tehran refuses to allow the international inspections necessary to have those sanctions lifted.
2. A practice perfected by Iran's first Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, was "taqiyya." This was a tactic first used by the Muslim minority sect -- Shiites -- after Prophet Muhammad's death to survive persecution either by majority sect Sunnis or by non-Muslims. It was a religious empowerment permitting Shiites to lie about their beliefs in order to survive.
Khomeini took taqiyya to a new level -- allowing Muslims to lie in furtherance of Islam's goals. Thus, while still in exile in 1979, he assured Western journalists he wouldn't seek power in Iran and would support democracy.
3. Knowing Carter lacked the courage to challenge them, the mullahs weren't so sure about President Ronald Reagan. Reagan's election prompted the release of the U.S. Embassy hostages. But the mullahs sought again to challenge U.S. resolve in 1983 by authorizing the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon. When no U.S. response followed, Tehran increased the pace of its efforts to export the Islamic Revolution outside its borders.
4. The mullahs have mastered the tactic of "good cop, bad cop." With the supreme leader as the ultimate authority in Iran, he is able to manipulate the country's presidential candidates to get the "right face" in office at the right time.
When Khomeini died in 1989, his replacement put forward Mohammad Khatami, perceived by the West as a moderate, as the right presidential face to promote the Islamist agenda. Under the guise of seeking rapprochement, Khatami provided the cover by which the agenda was furthered.
5. Iranian leaders have distributed a film to religious leaders detailing how Tehran will be the catalyst in triggering global chaos and the return of a messianic figure from his state of occultation to subject the world to Shariah. A violent death awaits all those failing to comply.
6. As a backup plan just in case Tehran had to curb its nuclear development, it funded the secret construction of a nuclear facility in Syria. U.S. inaction to neutralize the facility left Israel alone to do so. Unsurprisingly, no protest was launched by Syria so as to avoid an international investigation.
The above should leave little doubt where Tehran is heading and that violence awaits the world once it gets there.
Iran believes it is in the homestretch of its nuclear arms race. For more than a decade, it has mastered the use of delaying tactics to keep the program moving forward. Rouhani has now been entrusted by the supreme leader to complete the program, crossing the finish line before the West realizes it has again been duped.
The window of opportunity to stop Iran's nuclear program is quickly closing. One Israeli source suggests Tehran is only two months away from having sufficient uranium enrichment to produce its first nuclear bomb.
Iran seeks to turn its horror movie above into reality.
In Obama, it has found the right naïve character to play a role as he continues to turn a blind eye to Tehran's hostile intent.
Ironically, a U.S. president awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for doing nothing is creating a much more dangerous world by continuing to do more of the same.
(A retired U.S. Marine, Lt. Col. James Zumwalt served in the Vietnam War, the U.S. invasion of Panama and the first Gulf War. He has written "Bare Feet, Iron Will -- Stories from the Other Side of Vietnam's Battlefields," "Living the Juche Lie: North Korea's Kim Dynasty" and "Doomsday: Iran -- The Clock is Ticking.")
(United Press International's "Outside View" commentaries are written by outside contributors who specialize in a variety of important issues. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of United Press International. In the interests of creating an open forum, original submissions are invited.)