Former New Jersey Senator Robert Torricelli made a good contribution to the impending debate over congressional approval of President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal. In a guest column for the New Jersey Star-Ledger, Torricelli challenged Obama’s narrow focus on delaying Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. After noting the terroristic nature of the Iranian religious leaders, both inside and outside Iran, he wrote, in part:
The Iranian nuclear program cannot be divorced from the broader strategic problem. The current debate is based on the assumption that their nuclear program is a singular barrier to relations. Iran is a threat to our security, our values and our desire for a peaceful and just world order whether it manifests its policies through terror, conventional warfare or nuclear weapons.
The reality is that Iran will possess nuclear weapons at some point whether this agreement is enacted, violated or rejected.
. . . Delaying, disrupting and sabotaging the Iranian nuclear program are all vital national objectives but ultimately security will only be achieved by a regime change in Iran.
Our intelligence agencies disregard the chances of an Iranian regime change through internal revolution. These are the same analysts who failed to predict the fall of the Shah, collapse of the Soviet Union, rise of Chinese economic power and the Arab Spring.
The embargo is fomenting opposition in Iran. Street protests and acts of civil disobedience are rising. A generation of educated young people is attuned through the internet to the larger world in ways that young activists of the communist block could not have dreamed. It's the wrong time to ease the embargo.
Arguing that “a more comprehensive policy” aimed at establishing a “free and democratic Iran” should be our ultimate goal, Torricelli concludes that
The Iranian nuclear agreement should be defeated. Every agency of the United States government should be tasked with supporting every opposition group and destabilizing every economic, military and political component of the Iranian regime.”
This points to another important drawback to Obama’s deal. The activists fighting the theocrats running Iran will be demoralized and undercut as they see America—the “Great Satan”—making deals with the ruling thugs. Such deal-making confers an implicit legitimization of the Iranian regime—a legitimization the regime certainly does not deserve, for reasons stated in this article.
I left these supporting comments:
“The Iranian nuclear program cannot be divorced from the broader strategic problem. The current debate is based on the assumption that their nuclear program is a singular barrier to relations. Iran is a threat to our security, our values and our desire for a peaceful and just world order whether it manifests its policies through terror, conventional warfare or nuclear weapons.”
This is the crux of the matter. The most fundamental issue is not Iran’s quest for a nuclear bomb. Many countries, including Israel, have a nuclear bomb, but are not a threat to the world. The most fundamental issue is Iran’s ambitious, world-scale “Holy War (JIHAD) along the way of God,” as its constitution states.
Obama views his deal as an isolated tactical move to head off a nuclear Iran. But it is dangerous to isolate the deal from the wider context. That context is this: Iran is the leader, the inspiration, the beau ideal of an imperialistic movement that seeks world domination under a totalitarian Islamic theocracy. Iran is a threat under any circumstances, and will use any deal, not as a means to better relations with the West or its neighbors, but as the Soviets did before them; as a means to advance its imperialist aggression.
While I don’t necessarily agree with every one of his points, I do believe that Torricelli is correct to assess the nuclear issue according to the broad perspective.
On thing I disagree with is Torricelli’s claim that a nuclear armed Iran “became inevitable thirty years ago when the United States and our allies failed to develop an energy policy and poured billions of oil profits into the mullahs' treasury.” It’s largely because America didn’t have an national energy policy—a euphemism for central planning—that the shale oil and gas fracking boom occurred. No government official saw it coming. Under a national energy policy, this energy revolution may never have occurred.
That aside, Torricelli’s perspective is well worth considering.
The Jihad Against America and How to End It, by Craig Biddle for The Objective Standard blog
Winning the Unwinnable War: America's Self-Crippled Response to Islamic Totalitarianism, by Elan Journo
Assessing the Iran Nuclear Deal—Interview with Elan Journo, Ayn Rand Institute