Actions Always Speak Louder Than Words

0

In the very midst of negotiations with Western powers, Iran has stepped up its involvement in regional proxy wars, overtly supporting the Houthi rebels in Yemen. It is attempting to open a new terror front in the Golan Heights. It continues to bolster Bashar al-Assad’s regime, spending what some experts estimate to be up to $15 billion a year of its sanctions-strained economic resources to do so. It funnels arms to Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip and bankrolls Hezbollah in Lebanon. Imagine what Iran will be able to do if sanctions relief frees up $150 billion for its misuse. If Iran is willing to spend so much on fomenting regional instability while strapped for cash, it is hard to believe that it will direct this windfall toward the betterment of its population as opposed to stepping up its historically aggressive activities.

Iran’s intention to attain regional hegemony neither is coy nor has it abated. Rather, Iran’s notorious rapaciousness for attaining regional footholds, undermining neighboring regimes, and fomenting widespread destabilization appears only emboldened by the nuclear talks. Commander of the Quds force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard General Qassem Suleimani is running rampant through the region, with media reports of him appearing in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq to organize and train local militias and regular armed forces in those countries.


Furthermore, Iran’s track record of adherence to agreements belies the likelihood that we can trust its adherence to any new agreement. Since signing an interim nuclear agreement in 2013, Iran has failed, per the agreement, to convert 3,800 kilos of enriched uranium into an oxide form that cannot easily be converted into weapons-grade material. As we negotiate a new deal, we ignore Iran’s failure to abide by previous agreements and its concurrent active pursuit of a nuclear program.

Most disturbing, however, is the testimony this month before Congress regarding Iran’s burgeoning ballistic missile program. This issue is not part of the current deal framework, and its omission is catastrophic. Intelligence leaders including former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency Lieutenant General Michael Flynn are openly excoriating the Iran deal for its failure to address Iran’s ballistic missile program, which serves as an unambiguous indication of the ill intent of its nuclear program. Such missiles are intended for delivery of nuclear weapons, and Iran’s arsenal is of increasing quality and number. The links between medium and long-range ballistic missiles and nuclear payloads are known.


Our leaders have taken their eye off the ball. Iran is employing a formula used by both Saddam Hussein and Bashar al-Assad — poor company, at best — of preoccupying the West with negotiations over nonproliferation while simultaneously persecuting the people of the region. And in the end, a deal meant to stymie proliferation in one country is going to spark an arms race in one of the most unstable regions in the world, with Saudi Arabia and other countries seeking at best increased conventional weapons arsenals and at worst nuclear capacity to deter their emboldened main enemy in the region — Iran.

Iran is sending two, incongruous messages: one to negotiators in Switzerland and another through its everyday actions. In deciding whether to approve a final agreement, Congress should be paying attention to Iran’s actions.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here