By Aidan Dion
Both the United States and the United Nations understand Iran’s very real threat to the Middle East and to the world. In 2010, Iran and the U.S. signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal, written to prevent Iran from creating ballistic missiles with warhead-bearing capabilities and to halt nuclear weapons development. However, the deal faced strong opposition from Israel, number one on Iran’s hitlist. Israel claimed that the deal would not stop Iran in the long-run and would open conventional arms deals to Iran.
Throughout the 2016 campaign trail, Democrats and Hillary Clinton hailed the deal as a success that would bring peace the region. Three weeks ago, Iran launched a missile test that called into question the honesty of the volatile country.
On January 30, Iran launched a mid-range ballistic missile with the capacity to reach Israel. U.N. Resolution 2231 was meant to prevent Iran from testing missiles that could carry a nuclear warhead. Iran claimed the missile was intentionally made too small to carry a warhead and functioned solely for defensive capabilities.
U.S. intelligence communities are calling the peace claim a boldfaced lie, since the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, made the bold prediction that Israel will not exist in 25 years. In addition, the tested missile had the phrase “Israel must be destroyed.” Although none of these displays violate the Iran Nuclear Deal, it shows that Iran is in no way making strives for peace. The deal with the U.S. was merely a 12-month delay to the production of a nuclear weapon. Iran also has a shady history of building secret uranium enrichment facilities in mountain caves, such as the Fordow enrichment plant, made into a research center once discovered.
The past few weeks have shown very little signs of hope in the quest for peace in the Middle East. Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, called on President Trump to raise sanctions after Iran’s missile test. Trump responded with sanctions directed at 25 people involved in constructing the missile and supporting the Revolutionary Guard.
Our options for dealing with Iran without sanctions or threats are dwindling. The idea that Iran can have nuclear power solely for peaceful purposes is now naïve and dangerous, and wariness and suspicion must remain in place for the foreseeable future. The U.S. should not consider peace talks with Iran until they are no longer a proponent of state-sponsored terrorism.
Moreover, the International Atomic Energy Agency, established to ensure that nuclear material is used solely for benign energy projects, should strictly discourage the world’s willingness to allow even the smallest amounts of uranium into Iran. If Iran does achieve nuclear weapons and the ability to use them, there may emerge a standoff similar to that of the Cuban Missile Crisis, except we will find Trump at the helm instead of the level-headed Kennedy. Trump has repeatedly claimed to be pro-Israel – now it is time to see if he can translate that into action.
It is time to put aside all politics, domestic or foreign. Liberals and conservatives are irrelevant. It does not matter if you are pro-Israel or pro-Iran. When Iran has the ability to deliver a nuclear weapon, petty politics will mean nothing. When faced with the very real threat of nuclear war, we need to be on the same page. A nuclear strike will extinguish the lives of tens of thousands of people. It is not about who can hold power anymore. Smart policy is required for peace, now more than ever.