America Must Hold Iran Accountable for its Crimes
These days, the news is full of rumors about a dangerous development in the negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran. There is deep concern that instead of being forced to significantly dismantle its nuclear program, Iran will be left as a threshold nuclear state and gain relief from sanctions.
These fears are reminiscent of the days following the signing of the Munich Agreement between Adolf Hitler and the leaders of France and Great Britain. In a speech to the House of Commons on October 5, 1938, Sir Winston Churchill warned, “All these calamites fell upon us because of evil counsel…when they had done the most evil, then was peace made with them.”
That Churchillian warning certainly applies to modern-day Iran. It is time to realize that if the international community continues to allow Iran to support terrorism and seek regional dominance while remaining a nuclear threshold state, we will have made a historic mistake that will have grave consequences.
Since 2008, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) has made the case that Iran is already a major threat to world peace, and that a nuclear-armed Iran would feel emboldened to do even worse. In fact, Iran’s support for terrorism and its quest for hegemony raises the question why any responsible government would do business with this brutal and dangerous regime.
The recent takeover of Yemen by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels is just one more example of the rapid expansion of Tehran’s power.
With the exception of tough sanctions from the United States and Canada, and the more recent European oil embargo, an indifferent world has remained silent on Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism. Hundreds of major multinational companies continue to do business as usual with Iran, thereby sending the message that Iran can literally get away with murder. Iran has received that message loud and clear.
Through its partnership with its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah, and the support provided to terrorist groups like Hamas, the Iranian regime is responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilians in terrorist attacks in Beirut, Buenos Aires, Iraq, Europe, Israel, and elsewhere.
Since the outbreak of the popular uprising against the brutal dictatorship of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, more than 200,000 Syrians have died, and two million have become refugees. This has happened for two primary reasons: Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah. For three years, Iran has provided massive financial support, weapons, and thousands of fighters to keep Assad’s brutal dictator in power. As a result, the Assad regime has committed crimes against humanity with impunity.
All this has happened while an indifferent world remains silent.
Throughout the negotiations over its nuclear program, Iran has refused to negotiate in good faith. Iran’s refusal to halt the enrichment of uranium violates multiple UN Security Council Resolutions. In addition, Iran continues to develop advanced centrifuges and ballistic missiles, including Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), that will be able to reach the United States, also in violation of UN Security Council Resolutions.
Therefore, the dangerous myth that the interim agreement between Iran and the P5+1 has succeeded in freezing Iran’s nuclear program only serves to distort reality and blind us to the nature of the threat we face from Iran.
The only way to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran is for the U.S. Congress to pass the tough economic sanctions embodied in the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act co-authored by Senators Kirk and Menendez.
Critics of the bill say it would scuttle the negotiations. Yet, the truth is that the “triggered sanctions” proposed by the Kirk-Menendez bill would only go into effect after the term of the extended negotiations that expires on June 30, and only if Iran continues to refuse to negotiate in good faith and reach a framework agreement by March 24.
For this reason, it is extremely important that every American contact their U.S. Senators to urge their support for the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act. We must not forget the lessons of World War Two. If we fail to do so, then one day we will all remember the words of Churchill, “…when they had done the most evil, then was peace made with them.”
Bob Feferman is Outreach Coordinator for the non-partisan advocacy group, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI).