The Iranian regime — the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world — poses an immediate threat to both its neighbors and the international community.
The Iran nuclear archive, obtained by Israel, proves beyond any doubt that Iran had a comprehensive and secret plan to develop nuclear weapons. Even after the deal with Iran, known as the JCPOA, was enacted, Iran continued to aspire to nuclear weapons-related activities. By means of fraud and deception, under the guise of scientific research, Iran preserved its nuclear capabilities. Nor has the agreement led to a moderation of the regime, as was hoped when Iran signed the JCPOA. On the contrary, it has enabled the clerical regime to become more belligerent on the international scene and, domestically, to pursue its oppressive agenda.
Massive pressure and sanctions on Iran proved effective up to 2014. This is why renewed sanctions are expected to be effective now. Imposing sanctions on critical sectors of the Iranian economy is the right way to stop Iran’s path to the bomb and curb Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s nefarious policies.
Since the Iran Deal in October 2015, Iran has continued its program to develop nuclear weapons, maintaining atomic archives while concealing warehouses and crucial equipment. In addition to failing to completely halt Iran’s nuclear path, the JCPOA did not address Iran’s aggressive ambitions beyond nuclear capabilities, such as Iran’s development of long-range ballistic missiles; its military involvement in the wars and support of proxies in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq; sponsorship of Hamas in Gaza; and the regime’s terrorist activities in Europe.
In Lebanon, Hezbollah is building missile conversion sites — meters away from Beirut’s international airport — which will give the Iran-backed terror organization the capacity to send precision-guided missiles into Israeli towns. In Syria, Iranian missile factories, airfields and training compounds, under the auspices of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), promote extremism and facilitate the killing of innocent Syrian civilians.
In Gaza, Iran continues sponsoring and producing rockets for Hamas, to advance its aspiration to wipe Israel off the map. Iran’s regional expansion and use of proxies, through the IRGC’s authority, are also detrimental to the local populations in Lebanon and Gaza, which are being used as human shields.
Iran’s tentacles extend far beyond the Middle East. In recent weeks, security forces arrested Iranian agents in several European countries, who were plotting terror attacks on European soil. The regime’s advanced technologies, paired with financial sponsorship of material and agents around the world, intensify the global threat the Iranian regime poses and endanger the fundamental freedoms and values of the West.
Iran’s continued support of terrorism and missile buildup highlights that the JCPOA was not a holistic agreement and created only the illusion of containment. Instead of becoming a more moderate and peaceful regime, Iran’s aggressive, imperialist tendencies have flourished in the last two years as the terror regime expands its hold.
The Iranian economy has plummeted — the Iranian lira has fallen to two-thirds of its value — due to the regime’s indifference to the wellbeing of its people. International money that was meant to solve critical water and energy issues, build schools and hospitals, and benefit the welfare of the Iranian people has instead been funneled into Iran’s military activities — funding global terror and proxy wars. The Iranian people have taken to the streets in mass protests against the oppressive government, and many activists have been jailed for speaking out against the cruel regime.
Iran, through its generation of proxy wars across the Middle East, bears far-reaching responsibility for provoking the migration crisis that has brought millions of displaced refugees to the shores of the Mediterranean. The refugee influx facing Europe is a worrisome result of Iran’s belligerent activity in the region and its disregard for human lives.
Unfortunately, the Iran Deal provided false hope and failed to change the regime’s hostile behavior, affecting each of us here and now. Failure to take action today means giving in to Iran’s current aggressions with disastrous consequences worldwide in the future.
One questions the wisdom of a policy that promotes mercantile relations with Iran while ignoring the regime’s belligerence and oppression of its people. Business interests must not take precedence over global security concerns. Iran continues enabling the horrors in Syria, arming Hezbollah and Hamas, plotting to murder dissidents in Europe, all while developing long-range ballistic missiles and nuclear capabilities.
The global threat posed by Iran must be addressed by the international community before it is too late.
Aviv Ezra is the Consul General of Israel to the Midwest, based in Chicago.
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