Iran: The Forgotten Terror Threat
In October, the majority staff of the House Homeland Security Committee published a comprehensive report regarding the international state of terrorism called the “Terror Threat Snapshot.” This report contains a section on Iran, and has revealed the increasing global terror threat of the Iranian regime. The information contained in these reports indicates that we must reconsider our strategies in dealing with Iran. The following are a few key points to consider.
In January 2016, a secret agreement was made by the Obama administration, lifting United Nations sanctions on two Iranian banks that facilitated procurement for Iran’s missile industry. The agreement coincided with the transfer of $1.7 billion to Tehran along with the release of American hostages. The act empowered Iran to build their missile stockpiles, which has enhanced the Iranian-backed Hezbollah missile capabilities. Hezbollah can now strike targets throughout Israel and has an estimated stockpile of 100,000 missiles and rockets.
The report goes on to outline the significance of Iran and Russia's recent military coordination as a growing global threat. The report states: “Iran’s hosting of Russian military assets on its soil allows it to improve its deterrence capabilities. Russia’s illicit transfer of the S-300 missile system to Iran represents a 'strategic game changer' that will complicate U.S. military planning.”
Increased military cooperation between Russia and Iran further exacerbates already heightened tensions between the United States and Russia as the U.S. is already dealing with disagreements in Syria and alleged cyber attacks on the 2016 elections.
Additionally, Iran's navy is already showing its capabilities against our allies. Iranian-backed Yemen rebels have attacked United Arab Emirates ships in the Persian Gulf.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps is building their naval capabilities and assets. The money from the lifted sanctions will add considerably to their Armanda. They have put missile ships and high-speed attack vessels at sea, many of which are conducting threatening maneuvers dangerously close to the U.S. fleet in the Gulf. These kinds of actions have increased by 50 percent in the last year alone.
The money added to Iran’s coffers as a result of lifted sanctions will also considerably enhance their nuclear programs. Some secret points in the nuclear agreement with Iran are coming to light, piece by piece. The AP recently reported, via an anonymous diplomat familiar with the deal, that key restrictions on Iran's nuclear efforts will start to ease before the 15-year accord expires, allowing Iran to obtain nuclear bomb capabilities sooner than the public expects. The source claims that the stipulation was added on to the original nuclear deal.
The declaration, made by Iran to the International Atomic Energy Agency, declares that some of the deal’s restrictions be lifted after ten years. After that time, Iran might be allowed to enrich twice the amount of uranium than they do today. They will accomplish this by replacing its current array of centrifuges with over 5,000 of them that will be five times more efficient.
This is an advantage for Tehran because once the deal expires, "Tehran will be positioned to quickly make enough highly enriched uranium to bring up its stockpile to a level that would allow it to make a bomb in half a year, should it choose to do so."
The Obama administration insists on maintaining trust with Iran, which continues to support radical Islamic terrorists. Shi’a militias in Iraq have receieved support from Iran to fight in Aleppo, Syria, adding strength to Assad’s offensive there. These are, obviously, regrettable results of a blind administration.
The U.S. must continue to work with our Middle Eastern allies in the Gulf to fight Iran’s aggressive maneuvers in the region. Hamas and Hezbollah remain terrorist organizations and America needs to work together with the international community to treat them as such.
On a positive note, Congress should know of the situation and the tactics needed to keep Iran in line. They must continue to emphasize negative consequences should Iran make any such attempts.
Congress must not provide any further benefits outside of the agreement. Already, the U.S. banking network will drop any bank that does any business with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps in any capacity. The U.S. needs to educate international banks about the huge role that the IRGC plays in the Iranian economy.
The positions of our two Presidential candidates on Iran and the nuclear deal are polar opposites. Clinton believes the deal slowed down Iran's attainment of nuclear armament, but that Iran needs to be continuously watched. Contrastingly, during the first debate, Trump called the deal "one of the worst deals ever made by any country in history."
This will be, perhaps, the most important election of our time as it pertains to terrorism and world peace. For continued strength and stability in America, our citizens must chose the candidate who will assure Iran is kept in check.