A few weeks ago, delegations from the United States and other nations met with Iranian representatives in Vienna to draft the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.” Iran promised the world that its nuclear program would remain peaceful, and the world promised to end a campaign of economic sanctions. I do not know how to build nuclear bombs, so I will not comment on whether or not the deal will actually prevent Iran from building them. However, having read the full agreement, I am troubled by the fact that it not only fails to stop, but in fact helps to increase the Iranian regime’s support for terrorist groups around the world.
As you read this, Iranian soldiers are deployed in Iraq, adding a sectarian element to an already brutal conflict and increasing the credibility of jihadist groups like ISIS. Elsewhere, Iran fights by proxy, sending money and weapons to some truly nefarious organizations such as the Houthi rebels of Yemen, who have killed or internally displaced hundreds of thousands; the Al-Assad regime in Syria, which has used chemical weapons and continues to use shrapnel-filled barrel bombs on its own civilians; the Hezbollah insurgency in Lebanon, which has orchestrated suicide bombings against the United States and others; and Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza, who silence political dissidents with public executions. Sadly, this list continues for quite a while.
All of these Iranian-backed groups are recognized internationally as consistent violators of human rights and threats to global security. Yet nobody in the international community has seemed to get around to stopping Iran from funding and arming these forces. Additionally, Iranian-backed agents working in small terror cells have bombed Jewish centers in Argentina, cooperated with Al-Qaeda in their attacks on the United States and attacked Sunni Muslims at prayer in countless countries. Iran’s actions have earned it a reputation as the world’s foremost state sponsor of terror. When considering the recent nuclear deal, we need to remember that we are dealing with a country that would not mind murdering millions to increase its power in the Middle East.
In simple terms, the deal states that Iran must dismantle and repurpose its nuclear infrastructure to reassure the world that its nuclear program is indeed for peaceful purposes. Depending on whom you ask, the measures in the deal, should Iran follow them, will, at worst, delay the Iranian bomb’s creation and, at best, stop it completely.
However, no plausible outcome from this deal reduces Iran’s power to terrorize the world. On the contrary, the agreement only empowers and emboldens the Ayatollah to continue his despicable support for some of the worst criminals of our time. Upon signing the deal, hundreds of billions of dollars of frozen assets will be unfrozen, giving the Iranian regime a massive cash infusion, at least some of which will no doubt end up in the hands of terrorists. It does not have to be much – less than 1% of these unfrozen assets being transferred to Hamas, for example, would more than double their current budget. United Nations prohibitions on weapons sales, including long-range missiles, to Iran will also be gradually reduced, further empowering Iran to support its global network of terror.
The point of this deal was not just to keep Iran’s nuclear ambitions in check – it was to make the world a safer place. Increasing Iran’s ability to sponsor terrorism simply does not do that. It is up to debate whether or not this deal will stall Iran’s nuclear program, but there is no debate that this deal can only increase the number of Syrian civilians torn apart by barrel bombs and the number of Bahraini Sunnis who fear that each visit to their mosque may be their last.
In short, independent of the consequences of this deal to Iran’s nuclear program, Iran has received a dangerous message: The world does not care about its support for terrorism. Iran’s leaders may destabilize any country they please, so long as they don’t try to enrich weapons-grade uranium. I am confident this is not a message the world wants to send, but Iranian leaders seemed to have heard it loud and clear. Iranian propaganda videos have proudly declared that the nuclear agreement does not protect Israel from Iran and show Iran’s supreme leader pledging continued support for terrorist groups throughout the Middle East. As if that weren’t enough, Iranian human rights observers and journalists are in agreement that Iran’s oppression of its own citizens can only be expected to increase with the success of the deal.
In the words of Winston Churchill, “Britain and France had to choose between war and dishonor. They chose dishonor. They will have war.” I reject that the world today requires a war against Iran in the same way the world of the 1930s required a war with Nazi Germany. But I do contend that ignoring Iran’s repeated violations of human dignity and consistent support for international terrorist organizations, so long as they do not acquire a nuclear bomb, is dishonorable and does not lead us to a safer future. As an American, I am not content with buying safety from a country that openly finances the killing of innocent people. I cannot lend my support to a deal that first lets Iran off the hook for its terroristic behavior, and then helps them continue it. I join my voice with those who demand that any deal with Iran must prevent it from continuing its campaign of terrorism.
Eidan Jacob is a Trinity sophomore. His column is part two in a five-part series on the Iranian nuclear deal. The columnists for the five-part series are Jacob, Albert Antar, Max Schreiber, Pi Praveen, and Edward Torgas.
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