The danger of a nuclear-armed Iran

by | Oct 10, 2013 | Other News

Bob Feferman

Bob Feferman

In his recent speech before the United Nations General Assembly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned, “The last century has taught us that when a radical regime with global ambitions gets awesome power, sooner or later its appetite for aggression knows no bounds.” There is no doubt that a nuclear-armed Iran would make an already-broken world a much more dangerous place, and we must take action now to prevent this from happening.

What makes Iran so dangerous?

Take for example the Lebanese organization, Hezbollah, created by Iran in the early 1980’s. Even the short list of Hezbollah acts of terror is stunning. Hezbollah carried out the 1994 attack on the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, assassinated former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005, and fired 4,000 Iranian rockets into northern Israel in the summer of 2006.

In July 2012, Hezbollah operatives attacked a bus filled with Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, killing six people.

Recently, we have seen Hezbollah fighters, together with Iran, provide massive support for the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, which has slaughtered more than 100,000 civilians while an indifferent world watches in silence. Hezbollah’s efforts in Syria are coordinated by Iran.

In the Sept. 30 edition of The New Yorker, Dexter Filkins provides an in-depth profile of Major General Qassem Suleimani, the shadowy commander of the elite Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and describes the extent of Iranian involvement in Syria.

Filkins writes, “Suleimani began flying into Damascus frequently so that he could assume personal control of the Iranian intervention. ‘He’s running the war himself,’ an American defense official told me. In Damascus, he is said to work out of a heavily fortified command post in a nondescript building, where he has installed a multinational array of officers: the heads of the Syrian military, a Hezbollah commander, and a coordinator of Iraqi Shiite militias, which Suleimani mobilized and brought to the fight.”

Before its involvement in Syria, Iran was responsible for the deaths of American soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, including many from Virginia.

Throughout the entire American presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, the IRGC- Quds Force supplied Improvised Explosive Devices (I.E.D’s) to insurgents in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan that have killed hundreds of American soldiers and wounded thousands.

Since combat operations began in 2003, 198 citizen-soldiers from Virginia have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of these 198 troops, at least 54 were killed by I.E.D’s. There is no doubt that Iranian supplied I.E.D.’s were responsible for most of these 54 deaths.

What can Americans do to help prevent a nuclear-armed Iran?

We all agree that a diplomatic solution is the best option. After two wars in the past decade, Americans certainly don’t want a third one. Yet in order for the diplomatic efforts of the U.S. Government to be successful, we need to provide more leverage for our government: and that leverage comes in the form of economic sanctions to pressure the Iranian regime.

In 2008, the non-partisan advocacy group, which I represent, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), was created to address this challenge. The goal of UANI is prevent Iran from fulfilling its ambitions to obtain nuclear weapons by “…ending the economic and financial support of the Iranian regime by corporations, firms, entities and individuals…” (UANI website).

How does UANI propose to accomplish this goal? The CEO of UANI, Ambassador Mark Wallace, says it best, “We must give the world a choice, either you can do business in Iran, or in the United States, not both.”

Each of us has the power to support this effort. We can tell multinational companies the following: if you, as a company, do business in Iran, you should not count on earning our hard-earned taxpayer dollars through government contracts. If you produce or sell cars in Iran, we will not buy your cars. And if your company helps to enrich this brutal regime that abuses the human rights of its own people, sponsors terrorism and violates treaties, we will not invest in your company.

As American citizens, each of you have the power to shine a light onto the dark business being done by multinational companies in Iran. Each time that we convince a company to end its business in Iran, we are one step closer to convincing the Iranian regime to end its pursuit of nuclear weapons and preventing the nightmare scenario described by Prime Minister Netanyahu at the United Nations.

by Bob Feferman, Outreach Coordinator for United Against Nuclear Iran