Where politics is personal not partisan

The Iran Opportunity Before the Arab World

Hassan Rouhani In Assembly Of Experts
The Iran Opportunity Before the Arab World

A new US president has symbolized a new foreign policy, particularly when it comes to dealing with Iran. The US is resetting the table, both militarily and diplomatically.

During the election campaign, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani pledged to focus his second term on lifting non-nuclear sanctions. Whether he will be successful is something yet to be seen, considering it was the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei who green-lighted the nuclear talks back in 2012, before Rouhani’s term, and his blessing was needed in the entire process.

Having non-nuclear sanctions lifted is conditioned on Khamenei willing to endure major setbacks, as he did in the nuclear deal. However, the international community will be raising major demands from Iran to bring an end to its support for terrorism and exporting warmongering, put a lid on its ballistic missile program and begin respecting human rights by ending executions and torture. London, 13 Jun – The US House of Representatives has passed a bill condemning the 1988 Iranian massacre of 30,000 political prisoners.

Resolution 188, officially titled: The condemnation of the Iranian government for the massacre of political prisoners in 1988 and the invitation to call for justice for the victims, is a rare example of a bill that receives bipartisan support in an increasingly partisan Congress.

While these conditions are obvious, the signs seen from Iran and the region are signaling noteworthy developments and changes.

“We will test our missiles whenever needed, waiting for no one’s permission,” Rouhani said in response to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Riyadh, saying Iran must end its ballistic missile tests. Rouhani’s remarks are a clear violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231.

“In the region, Iran has been able to stand in the face of terrorism… sending its diplomats and military advisors to Iraq, Syria and other nations…,” Rouhani said in response to both US President Donald Trump and his top diplomat as they both demanded Tehran bring an end to its terrorism in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, and end its financial support for the Lebanese Hezbollah and other proxy groups checkered in the region.

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Digging deeper, the very nature of the mullahs’ regime, with Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards – IRGC – calling all the serious shots, will make such developments impossible.

Just one day prior to Iran’s recent presidential “election”, in Syria, the IRGC dispatched a column of proxy forces to take over a base near the town of Tanef, near the Syria-Iraq-Jordan border. Syrian opposition and US Special Forces are stationed on this site. In response, marking a major development, the US launched an airstrike targeting the incoming force and sending very important signals across the region.

Further steps were taken when international coalition warplanes struck a Hezbollah base in Syria’s Deir Ezzur. This marked the second incident in a week when the US targeted positions associated with Iran’s militias in Syria, including Hezbollah.

While Iran enjoyed the ability to harass US Navy ships in international waters during Obama’s tenure, recent episodes have been a wake-up call for Tehran. A US Navy warship fired warning shots towards an approaching IRGC boat. US Navy 5th Fleet spokesman said the warship transmitted numerous messages to the boat and was forced to resort to warning shots.

In the meantime, a ballistic missile fired by Yemen’s Houthis, another Iranian proxy, was shot down by Saudi missile air defense systems. And despite numerous failures, Iran has raised the level of its support for the Houthis, as troubling reports show Tehran is smuggling chemical weapons to Yemen.

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This is exactly why Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir emphasized the Arab World will judge Iran by its actions, not words. “Iran is planning terrorist networks in Arab countries, supplying arms to militias seeking to disrupt our security,” he said, adding “Tehran has been refusing al-Qaeda leaders for more than 15 years and facilitate their measures.”

Decades of experience have proven Iran’s mullahs only understand the language of force. As the Arabic Islamic American summit came to its finale, reports indicated the establishment of a 34,000-strong military force aimed at confronting terrorism, set to begin operations in early 2018.

Iranian opposition Maryam Rajavi, President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), welcomed the new initiatives and called on the international community to specifically end all relations with the mullahs’ regime, expel its representatives from international organizations, blacklist the IRGC and the slate of its associated paramilitary, and have them evicted from the entire region.

Rajavi also welcomed the approval of a sanctions resolution against the Iranian regime by the US Senate in unison with the House of Representatives. She described the move as an imperative and significant step to prevent the medieval regime from obtaining nuclear weapons. She expressed hope that the US government would immediately implement the resolution.

The status quo has provided the international community – particularly the US – the opportunity to stand on the right side of history, alongside the Iranian people in their struggle against the mullahs’ regime.

Feature image: By Hossein Emami [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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Shahriar Kia
About Shahriar Kia 7 Articles
Shahriar Kia is a human rights activist and a political analyst writing on Iran and the MIdlle East. As a member of the Iranian opposition, he dedicated his life for the freedom of his people in Iran. He graduated from University of North Texas (USA).

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