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Condemnation Without Consequence

2:14 PM, Jan 14, 2014 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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Lest the American people be put off by the chortling, boasting, and provoking of the Obama administration's Iranian negotiating partner, the administration has tried to deflect domestic political pressure by putting out a statement "condemning" the wreath-laying by the Iranian foreign minister at the grave of a Hezbollah terrorist leader with much American blood on his hands.

Here's the statement:

Statement by NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden on Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif Honoring Lebanese Hezbollah Official

The United States condemns the decision taken by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif Khonsari to place a wreath at the grave of  Imad Mugniyah, a former leader of Lebanese Hezbollah responsible for heinous acts of terrorism that killed hundreds of innocent people, including Americans.  The inhumane violence that Mugniyah perpetrated – and that Lebanese Hezbollah continues to perpetrate in the region with Iran's financial and material support -- has had profoundly destabilizing and deadly effects for Lebanon and the region.

The decision to commemorate an individual who has participated in such vicious acts, and whose organization continues to actively support terrorism worldwide, sends the wrong message and will only exacerbate tensions in the region.

About this statement, one can say two things:

First, it's weaker than last week's condemnation of American senators pushing for sanctions legislation. The American senators were accused of pushing for war. The Iranian foreign minister is accused of "sending the wrong message" and "exacerbating tensions."

And second, like all Obama administration tough talk, it's talk without action, condemnation without consequence. We will do nothing in response to Zarif's gesture of contempt. Which is itself contemptible.

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