Over the past week, in the midst of a new round of negotiations between the P5+1 and the Iranian regime, there has been intense discussion in Washington between the Obama administration and Congress.
The administration is vigorously arguing that more time should be given to negotiations and has publicly stated that Presidents Obama would veto any new bill to impose or even trigger more sanctions should the negations fail to reach a conclusion.
What is missing in the discussion is the desire of the Iranian people. For years the mullahs’ lobby in Washington and other Western capitals has worked hard to portray the nuclear issue as the “national pride” of the Iranian people. That balloon has now burst.
The mullahs’ nuclear weapons program is detrimental to the Iranian people. They do not want this program, but the regime needs a nuclear bomb for its survival. No Iranian patriot would support such a program, the only objective of which is to serve the interest of the clerical regime.
Under the pretext of nuclear negotiation, Western governments in general and the United States in particular have turned a blind eye on the ongoing human rights violations in Iran and crimes committed by the Iranian regime’s proxies in Iraq against members of the Iranian resistance in Camps Ashraf and Liberty.
Under the pretext of nuclear negotiation, the US administration has also turned a blind eye on the war crimes committed by paramilitary groups in Iraq directed by the notorious Quds Force.
The Obama administration argues that if Congress passes a new bill that would trigger sanctions in the event of failed negotiations, it would jeopardize the possibility of resolving the issue peacefully. This argument defies logic. Nothing could be further from the truth. The mullahs came to the negotiating table not because of a change of heart, but under pressure from international sanctions and in fear that growing popular discontent would lead to a massive revolt against the totality of the regime.
If there was the slightest will to compromise within the mullahs’ regime, there would have been no need for 12 years of negotiation. If the regime had any interest in abandoning its pursuit of a nuclear weapon, there would be no reason to keep extending the deadline for the current negotiations.
Let us get the facts right. The military nature of the regime’s program is undisputed. It is run by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. It is most illogical for a civil nuclear program to be run by a terrorist entity. That should be enough to recognize the true objective of the mullahs’ regime.
Since the talks have started, the International Atomic Energy Agency has been continually denied access to a number of sites suspected to be associated with the nuclear program, and none of the outstanding questions relating to the possible military dimensions have been resolved. IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said in November 2014, “Iran has not provided any explanations that enable the Agency to clarify the outstanding practical measures, nor has it proposed any new practical measures in the next step of the Framework for Cooperation, despite several requests from the Agency.”
Clearly, Tehran is desperate to avoid true scrutiny of its nuclear program. But it is equally desperate to keep negotiations going in hopes of removing the sanctions that have crippled its economy. According to the state-run news agency IRNA, the regime’s president, Hassan Rouhani said on 13 January 2015 “breaking the anti-Iran sanctions is the only way to achieve national progress.”
So, let us be sharp and clear:
First, making more concessions to the regime under any pretext would only encourage the mullahs’ regime to more vigorously continue its suppression of Iranian people and export of fundamentalism and terrorism.
Second, since the revelation of the two then secret sites of Natanz and Arak, 13 years of negotiations have only emboldened the regime and allowed it to make further progress and get closer to nuclear bomb.
Third, experience shows that the only condition that might lead the regime to abandon its nuclear program is when it realizes that the cost of continuing the program is more than the cost of abandoning it. New sanctions legislation would keep up the pressure that might lead to this realization.
Fourth, the Congress is certainly on the right course to immediately pass a new legislation to impose more vigorous sanction should the negotiations fail. If the regime has not agreed to abandon its nuclear weapons program by March, it will certainly be time to support Congress in passing a bill for more sanctions. Any move to prevent Congress from moving forward is simply a gift to mullahs’ regime. Indeed, it would be even more appropriate to impost new sanctions now.
Fifth, it will be clear that the regime has given up on obtaining the bomb only after it fully discloses the military dimensions of its program, allows snap IAEA inspections at all sites including Parchin, and signs the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.