Why Congress Must Derail Obama's Iran Nuclear Deal
The author argues that "President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran is going to reward and embolden Tehran to continue its belligerent policies and give it a dominant position in the Middle East, to the detriment of American national security."
The easing up of economic sanctions would empower Iran to double down in support to allies such as Hezbollah to threaten, wound and kill Americans as they have for more than three decades. The Iran-Hezbollah alliance started its campaign killing Americans in the 1980s in Lebanon with the kidnapping of American citizens, the killing of the CIA station chief, bombing of diplomatic facilities and a military barracks that killed 241 Marines. The Iran-Hezbollah alliance in 1996 bombed Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia and killed nineteen American servicemen. More recently, the Iranians and Hezbollah aided and abetted Iraqi Shia militia operations in Iraq that killed at least five hundred American servicemen, according to a recently released Pentagon tally. Despite the American blood on Iranian and Hezbollah hands, both Republican and Democratic presidents failed to militarily retaliate against Iran, giving Tehran little reason to flinch should more opportunities to kill Americans appear in the future.
Obama administration officials may argue that the nuclear deal would transform American-Iranian relations as they argue arms-control agreements did for American-Soviet relations during the Cold War. But the most significant cuts in Cold War weapons followed and did not precede political changes in Moscow, the likes of which we do not see today in Iran. The Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty, for example, came about only after the Soviet Union’s national-security policy reoriented under Mikhail Gorbachev to see the West as a potential partner. With daily ridicule, criticisms and outright hostility against the United States coming from mouths of senior-most Iranian officials from the supreme leader to Revolutionary Guard commanders, it is painfully obvious that Tehran has not reached its “Gorbachev” moment.
Iranian domestic policy shows that the regime has not profoundly changed. The Tehran regime ruthlessly suppressed the 2009 so-called “Green Movement.” It closely monitors Iranian access to the Internet and social media, and it dictates editorial lines. BBC News reports, for example, that the clerical regime has ordered Iranian media not to criticize the nuclear accord. The Iranian regime persecutes religious minorities such as Christians with harassments, detentions and arrests. It also detains and arrests Iranian-Americans on trumped-up charges of espionage, such as Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian. And the clerics and their security forces crack down hard on any sign of domestic unrest, lest it gain momentum and grow into the scope of the unrest witnessed in 2009 or in the 2011 so-called “Arab spring.”
Iranian foreign policy, too, shows that the regime is not moderating. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and its Lebanese Hezbollah allies have been fighting a nasty war to keep the Assad regime in power in Damascus. Iranian manpower, military supplies, intelligence and financial aid—along with that coming from Russia—have been critical lifelines for the despicable Assad regime that has killed hundreds of thousands of Syrians and made millions more refugees in neighboring countries of Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Although Hezbollah body bags are returning home for burial in Lebanon, the militia remains committed to the bitter fight to preserve the Iran-Syria-Lebanon axis.
It is too easy to envision Iran slipping out from under the pact’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards, much like Iraq and North Korea have done in the past. The Iranians would go through the motions of nominal cooperation and stonewall IAEA efforts towards more intrusive and challenge inspections at suspect nuclear-activity sites. The Iranians have proven themselves expert in the art of diplomatic stonewalling as they stretched out negotiations on the nuclear pact to get international recognition for their once-clandestine nuclear program of hundreds of uranium centrifuges and now-opaque program of thousands of centrifuges. The Iranians successfully obtained an accord without accounting for their past suspected nuclear weapons–related tests as the IAEA and the West had long demanded as a precondition for any nuclear agreement. The Iranians would rightly calculate that the international community, with newly vested economic and military interests—especially with the United Nations Security Council members of China and Russia—would have no stomach for “snapping back” economic sanctions on Iran.