US President Donald Trump is gearing to raise his tone and take major action against Iran, starting with decertifying the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). While such concerns are obviously legitimate, an interesting slate of figures, including even former US Secretary of State John Kerry, are making their voice heard in defense of what is considered the Obama administration’s foreign policy legacy.
Trump himself, and his senior foreign policy advisers, are hinting the likely October 12th announcement of Iran not being fully in compliance with the JCPOA. That is what has prompted lineup of JCPOA advocates to take to the media and urge American lawmakers to stand against such a decision, and refuse to impose sanctions on the Iranian regime.
Obama Left Iranian People In Worse Situation
Their line of argument has failed to catch much attention, however. It is quite unfortunate how they so simply neglect the very fact that Obama’s eight years of unprecedented engagement and rapprochement with Iran has actually left the Iranian people and the entire Middle East in far worse circumstances.
Inside Iran, more than 3,100 people have been executed during the tenure of the so-called “reformist” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani have been sent to the gallows. This includes 81 women and 24 individuals arrested under the age of 18 at the time of their alleged crime.
“According to Amnesty International, with the exclusion of China, the Iranian regime accounted for 55 per cent of the total number of executions taken place in the world in 2016 … The government’s killing machine is at work day and night … They take advantage of these killings to balance the defeats and disabilities of the ruling power, or counter the growing spirit of protest in society,” said Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran in a message on the World Day against the Death Penalty.
Iran’s regime is known for its history of atrocious human rights violations. In 1988, following a fatwa issued by Iranian regime founder Ayatollah Khomeini, over 30,000 political prisoners, mostly members and supporters of the main Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran(PMOI-MEK), were sent to the gallows.
As Rouhani’s appalling human rights record has gone without accountability, the Iranian regime in its entirety has successfully kept a lid on the 1988 massacre for 29 years. Both dossiers, especially the latter, must be subject to international independent inquiries aimed at bringing all perpetrators to justice.
Dangerous Iranian Influence
Beyond its borders, Iran has gained dangerous influence in four Arab capitals of Baghdad, Beirut, Damascus and Sanaa. Throughout the years that Obama sought to contain the Iranian regime through negotiations, Tehran was busy spreading havoc throughout the Middle East.
Taking advantage of Obama’s premature departure from Iraq, the Iranian regime was able to increase its reach throughout the country and foment sectarian rifts. A broad strategy of quelling Sunni communities from Mesopotamia and into the Levant brewed the rise of the Islamic State, devastating the entire region and creating wounds that may take generations to heal.
The Lebanese Hezbollah, Iran’s first offspring proxy in the region, is now the owner of at least tens of thousands of missiles threatening Israel. Reports also indicate Tehran has launched underground missile factories in southern Lebanon, allowing Hezbollah to indigenously produce sophisticated missiles. The situation gains even more urgency as Iran seeks to complete its own version of the “Silk Road” by establishing a land bridge connecting Tehran to southern Lebanon and the Mediterranean.
Iran’s support for the Houthi rebels in Yemen has also caused serious crises in the backyard of Saudi Arabia, a major oil producer and US ally in the Middle East, and also Iran’s archenemy. Tehran seeks to continue causing turmoil for Riyadh, as all its policy of exporting calamities is aimed at maintaining focus outside its borders and keeping a lid on social dissent brewing at home.
Disaster Dossier Inherited by Trump
It needs acknowledging that the status quo is the disaster dossier of the flashpoint region called the Middle East, inherited by the Trump administration from its predecessor.
The purpose of this piece is not to focus on blaming the Obama administration for its flaws. What rightfully needs our attention today, starting from Washington and across the international community, is how to address Iran’s rampaging belligerence.
Regardless of what path the Trump administration decides to take on the nuclear dossier, there is a wide variety of actions at hand that will most definitely sound major alarm bells among the ruling elite in Tehran.
- Blacklist the Revolutionary Guards, Iran’s main arm in military and economic affairs, as a terrorist organization. This is long overdue.
- Impose non-nuclear sanctions on Tehran’s human rights violations, ballistic missile tests, and support for terrorist proxies and meddling in other states’ internal affairs.
- Recognize the Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran as the voice of the Iranian people demanding change.
As Trump very correctly said in his first United Nations General Assembly speech, “The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want change, and, other than the vast military power of the United States, that Iran’s people are what their leaders fear the most.”