Squeezing Iran

Much debate has been conducted over whether the world is safer now, and many liberal Americans have been shuddering in their shoes over the likelihood of Iranian retaliation.

FILE PHOTO: Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani pray near the coffin of Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, who was killed in an air strike at Baghdad airport, in Tehran, Iran, January 6, 2020. Official President's websi (photo credit: REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani pray near the coffin of Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, who was killed in an air strike at Baghdad airport, in Tehran, Iran, January 6, 2020. Official President's websi
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In the aftermath of the US assassination of Iranian strongman Qasem Soleimani, the issues surrounding Iran’s nuclear program and the general threat it poses to the world seem to have amplified to a crescendo.
There was a wide-ranging consensus that Soleimani deserved his violent end, but agreement over the timing, motive and wisdom of President Donald Trump’s elimination of the nefarious mastermind behind Iran’s far-reaching tentacles throughout the region has been far from unanimous.
Much debate has been conducted over whether the world is safer now, and many liberal Americans have been shuddering in their shoes over the likelihood of Iranian retaliation. Their fears are misplaced, however.
Unconnected to the Soleimani developments, two very disparate examples this week point to the fact that Iran’s intense desire to achieve nuclear proliferation has not been curbed by the 2015 nuclear deal.
Britain, France and Germany formally accused Tehran of violating terms of the agreement, a move that could ultimately lead to reimposing UN sanctions that were lifted under the deal.
At the same time, closer to home, IDF intelligence assessments disclosed Tuesday reveal that Iran could have enough enriched uranium to produce a nuclear bomb by the end of the year and a missile capable of carrying a nuclear bomb within two years.
The IDF’s assessment is that Soleimani’s death will have a stabilizing effect on the region and enable Israel to increase its operations against Iranian entrenchment in the region.
The European development is potentially a game changer. As Yonah Jeremy Bob wrote in The Jerusalem Post, the EU trio has been on the fence about whether to adopt the view of the US and Israel that the 2015 agreement is dangerous and allows Iran to continue its nuclear plans. By triggering the dispute mechanism in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the trio has made a very tentative move to get off the fence.
The three countries said they still want to see the 2015 deal succeed and are not about to abandon the pact and restore economic sanctions, as the US did in 2018. However, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in an interview with the BBC on Tuesday that he wouldn’t be averse to the JCPOA being replaced by a new deal, and encouraged Trump to emerge with such a plan.
That’s a flurry of activity to absorb, as the Iranian issue seems to be coming to a head. Factor in the continued street protests in Iran calling for the dismissal of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, following the downing of the Ukrainian passenger plane last week which resulted in the deaths of many Iranians, and it looks like Iran is being squeezed from all sides.
That was how US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook put it in an interview with the Post’s Omri Nahmias.
“We have weakened the regime dramatically. We’ve weakened their proxies, and we have disrupted and deterred many Iranian operations,” said Hook.
“Right now, you have the Iranian people putting pressure on the regime from the bottom up. Our maximum pressure is putting pressure on the regime from the top down. This has left the regime with very few options, and all of them are bad. And so at some point the supreme leader, we hope, will start making better decisions for the Iranian people and for the Middle East,” Hook continued.
Soleimani’s elimination, the EU trio’s decision to invoke the JCPOA dispute mechanism and demonstrations by the Iranian people all point to a potential watershed moment that should be exploited to its maximum benefit by the US and its allies.
Iran could respond by lashing out in any number of ways, which indeed increases danger levels around the world. But in the big picture, those threats pale in comparison to the danger the world will be in if Iran is allowed to achieve its nuclear aims.
The sooner all peace-loving people appreciate the need to show a little courage, applaud the demise of a diabolical leader and toughen up their commitment to ridding the world of the Iranian nuclear threat, the sooner we will all be living in safer world.


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