The Neda Doctrine

Named after the young woman killed last June, this movement recognizes the link between stopping Iran's nuke program and helping its dissidents.

Neda Agha Soltan - a symbol of the Iranian unrest. (photo credit: AP)
Neda Agha Soltan - a symbol of the Iranian unrest.
(photo credit: AP)
At the moment of greatest danger, American policy on Iran isincoherent. The Obama administration has wasted a year on fruitlessgestures of appeasement. Meanwhile, Iran has built thousands of nuclearcentrifuges and tested medium-range missiles capable of targetingEurope and Israel. The regime has also crushed protests andconsolidated its power while the White House continues to dither.
Iran is violating three binding UN Security Council resolutions - 1696,1747 and 1803 - that prohibit it from enriching uranium. Instead ofenforcing them, the Obama administration has offered to help. Itsproposal last October to allow Iran to enrich uranium and then send itoutside the country for processing was a flagrant violation of theseresolutions - and achieved nothing.
Earlier this month, the Obama administration announced new sanctionsagainst Iran's Revolutionary Guard, a repressive force that is deeplyinvolved in the nuclear program. In fact, the sanctions only targetedone individual and his companies. The US Senate passed a broadersanctions bill unanimously last month, but the White House has been tooobsessed with reviving its failed health care bill to notice.
Critics of the administration's approach have struggled for lack of analternative. Few have the stomach for an attack on Iran's nuclearsites, which are dispersed throughout the country. Many have resignedthemselves to hoping that Israel takes action. The US urgently needs anew strategy that will deter and punish Iran's nuclear program whileaiding our democratic allies among the Iranian people.
THE US overcame the Soviet threat by making it clear that we wouldrespond to an attack against an ally as if it were an attack againstthe US homeland. We also undermined the Soviet system from within bylinking trade relations to progress in human rights. These two elements- a clear military commitment, and an emphasis on human rights - mustform the core of a new, bold policy towards Iran as well: No tolerancefor a nuclear Iran.
The US must commit to a military response in support of UN SecurityCouncil resolutions should Iran continue to flout them. The targetshould be not only Iran's nuclear facilities, but the main politicalinstitutions of the regime. We must force Teheran to hide its leadersas carefully as it has hidden its centrifuges, weakening the regime andgiving strength to its many opponents.
Extend preemptive support to Israel. The US must commit to supportingIsrael in the event that Israel decides to launch a preemptive strikeagainst Iran, as it did against Iraq in 1981. Unlike a defense pact,which would allow Iran to attack before Israel or the US could respond,a preemptive guarantee would take the initiative away from Teheran andmake it bear the full consequences of its present actions.
Develop human rights sanctions. Until now, sanctions have focused onthe Iranian nuclear program. We need sanctions targeting Iran's abusesof human rights. The US must lead, because the UN Human Rights Councilstill refuses to act. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman(I-CT) have introduced legislation providing for human rightssanctions. Passage must become an urgent priority.
The US must assist Iranians in their struggle for freedom. We must helpIranians help themselves by providing alternative media platforms anddeveloping technology that can frustrate the regime's attempts atcensorship. We must deny the Iranian government any semblance oflegitimacy in international forums, and speak out forcefully at everyopportunity on behalf of Iranian freedom.
THESE FOUR steps together form what I call the Neda doctrine, which isa simple acronym that also honors the memory of Neda Agha-Soltan, whowas murdered last June as she attempted to join protests against Iran'sfraudulent presidential election. Her example reminds us that ourgreatest and most courageous allies against the Iranian regime are theIranian people.
Iran's nuclear aspirations are a threat not just to its neighbors, butto Iranians themselves. Like other rogue states, the regime is usingits nuclear program to consolidate power, justify repression and rallywhat remains of its domestic political support. As it moves closer toobtaining nuclear weapons, the opportunity for Iranians to replace thecurrent regime with a new government is fading.
The Neda doctrine recognizes the link between stopping Iran's nuclearprogram and helping Iran's dissidents. It provides clarity to US policyon Iran by targeting both the power and the legitimacy of the regime.The Neda doctrine provides the best chance of achieving change fromwithin, while retaining a military option. We won the Cold War with asimilar strategy. We can win - we must win - again.
The writer is the Republican nominee for US Congress in the 9thdistrict of Illinois. He is challenging J Street supporter Rep. JanSchakowsky (D-IL).