Why the courage to confront Iran matters

The US is precisely right to take extreme action against Iran.

Members of the Iranian Army take part in the annual military drill, dubbed “Zolphaghar 99”, in the Gulf of Oman, Iran on September 7, 2020 (photo credit: WANA NEWS AGENCY/REUTERS)
Members of the Iranian Army take part in the annual military drill, dubbed “Zolphaghar 99”, in the Gulf of Oman, Iran on September 7, 2020
Following Iran’s repeated acts of aggression and attempts to target American targets in Iraq and other countries, as well as significant breaches in the Iran deal, the US has finally implemented snapback sanctions. In addition, the US has implemented new sanctions on the Iranian regime and its affiliates, in a move rejected by fellow UN Security Council members.
Despite criticism from European allies, the US is precisely right to take extreme action against Iran, regardless of motivations, not only because of Iran’s nuclear aims, but also because of their global support for terrorism and gross human rights violations against their own people. It’s time for the Iranian regime to fall.
Last month, a vote to renew the arms embargo on Iran – a country that is the world’s single largest supporter of terrorism – failed in the UN Security Council. This embarrassing display of cowardice paves the way to an even more emboldened Iran, which is aggressively doing all it can to destabilize the Middle East. In response, the Americans triggered snapback sanctions, a move that evoked criticism from China and Russia, both countries with atrocious records of human rights (not too different from Iran’s). In the case of Russia – a country which busies itself on a regular basis propping up Syrian war criminal Bashar Assad, who chemically gassed his own people – they claim the snapback sanctions are “illegal.” Iran responded in a similar fashion, claiming the sanctions are illegitimate and vowing a “crushing response.” Tehran stated “we expect the international community and all the countries in the world to stand against these reckless actions by the regime in the White House and speak in one voice.”
One would think that the UN Security Council would respond to such threats from Tehran with decisive action against a regime that is known for gross human rights violations as recently as last week, when they executed Iranian champion wrestler Navid Afkari for dissenting against the regime. Or when they attempted to carry out assassinations and terror attacks on foreign soil in South Africa and Bahrain this month. Instead, the UNSC and its members are kowtowing to Iran’s bullying, and Iran knows it.
Unfortunately, US allies such as the UK, France and Germany have also expressed concern the US move may push Iran further away from negotiations for a comprehensive deal. The problem with this is that Iran’s leaders are not interested in negotiations on a nuclear deal. They’re interested in increasing their military – and nuclear – power. Attempting to appease a regime that executes its own political dissidents, even public figures, is never going to yield the results that Europe (or the rest of the world) needs from Iran.
In an astounding turn of events, it seems that only US President Donald Trump is behaving like an actual leader when it comes to Iran. While Iranian dissidents languish in prison for opposing the regime, while they are tortured and executed on a regular basis, while Iran bankrolls terrorism and wars throughout the Middle East and is responsible for the bloodshed of countless lives, the UN Security Council is bending over backward to appease the Iranian regime instead of uniting against it and demanding accountability. Russia and China were quick to criticize US sanctions – yet where is their criticism of Tehran’s torture and execution of dissidents? Of Iran’s “reckless” nuclear program and “reckless” sponsorship of terrorism throughout the world? Once again, the UNSC is reeking of hypocrisy.
The Iran deal was a historic mistake. Thankfully, Trump took strong action against it and against Iranian aggression. Should the UK, France and Germany refuse to implement the newly reimposed sanctions on Iran, this too would be yet another historic mistake from Europe.
The writer is CEO of Social Lite Creative LLC and a research fellow at the Tel Aviv Institute.