Iran’s “behavior” does not threaten Americans. Do not use that pretension to discard the nuclear agreement.


President Donald Trump makes a statement on Iran's policy in the White House on October 13 (Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post)

Speech on Tuesday at the Wilson Center in Washington, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the Trump administration is "committed to addressing the entire Iranian threat" and called on US allies to "join with us in addressing all of Iran's malign behavior," including its "support for terrorist organizations "and" active development of ballistic missiles ". Program. "

It echoed President Trump's logic last month to decertify Iran's nuclear agreement, an Obama-era agreement that ended Iran's nuclear program by imposing a set of restrictions and a regime of comprehensive inspections Like Tillerson, Trump cited two issues that are outside the agreement itself: Iran's support for representative groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza and Houthi rebels in Yemen, and Iran's development of ballistic missiles.

But the obsession with these Iranian policies amounts to a threat of inflation, neither poses a serious threat to the national security of the United States or to central national interests and does not justify ruling out a nuclear agreement of no success until now successful. [19659003] As Thomas Juneau recently argued for The Post, "Tehran's support of the Houthis is limited, and their influence in Yemen is marginal. "They are not primarily Iranian proxies, but characterizing them as such serves a narrative perpetuated by the government of Saudi Arabia, the main regional rival of the Iranian regime." Hamas barely has power in Gaza, one of the most impoverished, densely populated and Smallest in the World.

Hezbollah, a Shiite militant group and political party based in Lebanon, functions as an Iranian power and has, in the past, been linked to attacks on Americans: the group was involved in the attack of the Towers Khobar in 1996, in Beirut in 1983 and 1984, Hezbollah attacked the US Marine Corps barracks and the annex of the US Embbady, ​​respectively, killing 243 Americans, trying to force the retreat US military But unlike al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, today there is not much to suggest that the Hamas, Hezbollah or Houthi rebels attack the United States.

Trump that Iran is "the main state sponsor of terrorism", while Sen. John McCain warns that "a network of Iranian powers" threatens the "stability, freedom of navigation and territory of our partners and allies." Although Iran's agreement deliberately broke down Iran's support to these groups on the issue of their nuclear ambitions, Trump has met the problems rhetorically to argue that he has no choice but to break the deal.

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This not only obfuscates the purpose of the deal, but serves to obscure the fact that the United States looks the other way while Iran's rivals get involved in a behavior similar, or worse, than that of Iran. For several years, the Saudis, with US support, have relentlessly bombed Yemen in a campaign against the Houthis that has resulted in a humanitarian crisis. In addition to being investigated by the United Nations for war crimes, one of the consequences of Saudi Arabia's military campaign has been to strengthen the position of the al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Saudi actions have had a greater negative impact on US interests, in terms of regional destabilization, intensification of a proxy war and the expansion of al-Qaeda, than Iran's support of the Houthis.

In contrast to the regional agendas of Hamas and Hezbollah, the Saudis have been involved for a long time in promoting and exactly the types of Sunni militant groups that are trying to attack the US. The Islamic State, Al Qaeda and other Sunni-led militant groups have perpetrated more than 94 percent of the deaths caused by Islamic terrorism since 2001.

If we can tolerate such behavior from an ally as Saudi Arabia, surely Iran's support for its representatives is a poor excuse to overthrow an agreement that effectively restricts an Iranian nuclear weapons program.

According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, it is not known that Iran has, and is reportedly not looking for, missiles that can reach US territory. The Pentagon, as well as the United States Institute of Peace, have repeatedly badessed in recent years that Iran's military stance is defensive in nature. Earlier this year, with regard to Iran, Senator Tom Cotton said: "I do not see how anyone can say that the United States can be safe while it has a theocratic despotism in power." Presumably, however, Cotton makes an exception for the despotic and theocratic regime in Riyadh that enjoys Washington's bipartisan support.

In any case, it is very unlikely that Iran will attack the United States. The United States has an overwhelming nuclear deterrent; and we continue to be the largest economy in the world, with a GDP 50 times greater than that of Iran. Iran's annual military spending is around 5 percent of ours and 9 percent of its region's total. Iran has a large army – about half a million troops – but it can not project power significantly beyond the Middle East.

In fact, Iran's regional behavior is only a threat to the United States insofar as we insist on unnecessarily interfering with a region whose strategic importance has been exaggerated for decades. We have thousands of troops and multiple bases in the region, and we have been in a constant state of war for years with little to prove it. The prevailing strategic reasons for the excessive overexploitation of the United States in the Middle East – defending Israel, fighting terrorism and protecting the free flow of oil – do not even come close to justifying the costs of pursuing them.

Even if Iran challenges other regional powers, that is not a reason to get rid of an agreement that prevents it from obtaining nuclear weapons. It makes nonproliferation a security priority more crucial than ever.

Abandoning the nuclear agreement does not make Israel safer: the majority of Israel's military and intelligence community agrees that confronting an Iran with a nuclear program under strict inspections and limitations is better than confronting an Iran with an expanding nuclear program hidden from international monitors. When it comes to Saudi Arabia, we are applying a double standard. And when it comes to safeguarding the security of the US directly. UU., We are more secure when we do not choose to adopt the problems of the region as our own.

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