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October 25, 2017 1:28 pm

What Will Congress Do on Iran?

avatar by Yoram Ettinger


The US Capitol Building. Photo: File.

President Donald Trump’s refusal to re-certify the Iran Nuclear Deal Framework (JCPOA) has laid the groundwork for potential action against Iran.

President Trump acted in accordance with the May 22, 2015, bipartisan Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which was enacted despite President Obama’s opposition.

The multinational JCPOA — which produced an unprecedented tailwind towards Iran’s revolutionary goals — was engineered by President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, along with the other permanent members of the UN Security Council (Russia, China, Britain and France), Germany and the European Union.

President Trump’s non-certification provides Congress with an opportunity to reclaim its Constitutional role as a co-equal and co-determining branch of government.

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According to the US Constitution, the power of Congress is not limited to legislation and appropriation, but extends to oversight and review of the Executive Branch on the domestic and national security fronts: “Congress shall have power to … provide for the common defense. … Define and punish … offences against the law of nations. Declare war … raise and support Armies. … Provide and maintain a Navy. … Suppress insurrections and repel invasions,” etc.

Congress has demonstrated its posture as the world’s most powerful legislature — and its co-equal role in shaping US national security policy —  during many critical junctions in recent US history. For example, the Senate refused to ratify President Clinton’s 1999 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; Congress prevented the supply of AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) to Iran on the eve of the Ayatollah Khomeini revolution; then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), foiled President Obama’s attempts to close down the Guantanamo detention camp; Congress authorized the 1991 and 2003 wars against Iraq; Congress terminated the US military involvement in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, etc.

When examining the impact of the JCPOA on US national security, Congress should assess the dramatic erosion of the US’ credibility in the eyes of America’s allies — such as the Gulf States and Israel. Congress should also scrutinize the ayatollahs’ systematic anti-US conduct since their 1979 toppling of the shah, including their annual commemoration of the November 1979 takeover of the US Embassy in Teheran, which is highlighted by the theme of “Death to America.”

Congress should also investigate the ayatollahs’ school curriculum — the most authentic reflection of their mission and tactics — which depicts the US as “the arrogant, idolatrous, modern-day crusader, infidel, oppressor, Great Satan.” Grade 12 Iranian students are taught — in the book Religion and Life — that dissimulation and tenuous pacts with “un-Godly governments,” such as the US, are proper — but only until the balance of power shifts in favor of the “believers.” Furthermore, the need for child martyrdom during the apocalyptic battle against the US, is intensively inculcated in all twelve grades.

While the US has rolled back its sanctions on Iran, the ayatollahs have rolled forward their drive to evict the US from the Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula, through subversive, terroristic and military attempts at regime change in pro-US Arab countries in the Persian Gulf — most notably Saudi Arabia and Bahrain — and beyond.

The financial benefits from the JCOPA have enabled the ayatollahs to expand their presence in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, and bolstered their presence in Africa and in Latin American countries, including Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and the terror-ridden, tri-border region of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.

On the nuclear front — while rejecting US demands to allow international inspectors to visit military sites — the ayatollahs have tightened their ballistic and nuclear collaboration with North Korea, which allows circumvention of the monitoring of nuclear programs in Iran.

In 1978-79, the US energized the Khomeini Revolution, which transformed Iran from “the US policeman in the Gulf” to the US nightmare in the Middle East. In 2017, determined Congressional oversight, and the resurrection of the US posture of deterrence — not diplomacy — could spare the globe of a rogue anti-US regime, and a potential nuclear war.

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