The Nuclear Deal Doesn’t Prevent the U.S. from Punishing the Ayatollahs for Mistreating Their People

Jan. 11 2018

Today, President Trump is required by law to announce whether he will continue to waive sanctions on Tehran, in accordance with the 2015 nuclear agreement (the JCPOA), or to reinstate them, thus effectively torpedoing the agreement. Regardless of what he decides, write Richard Goldberg and Dennis Ross, there is much the U.S. can do to pressure the Islamic Republic and help Iranian dissidents even while abiding by the terms of the deal. They urge the president and Congress to follow the example of Ronald Reagan, who never let arms-control negotiations get in the way of supporting dissidents in the Soviet Union or its satellites:

The Iranian protesters are making a statement and we should not ignore it. The president would be well within his rights even under the JCPOA and international law to follow Reagan’s example and answer them with action. Just as the Iranian regime feels free to spread its power and reach within the region notwithstanding the JCPOA, so should the United States and Europe feel free to impose sanctions tied to human rights, terror, and missiles notwithstanding the same.

The sanctions relief provided under the JCPOA should not be interpreted as blanket immunity for Iranian officials, banks, and other government instrumentalities to expand their illicit activities. If such a person or entity is found to be connected to the Revolutionary Guard, terrorism, missile proliferation, or human-rights abuses, it most certainly can and should be subject to sanctions—even if sanctions for that person or entity were initially suspended by the JCPOA. . . .

Silence is not an option, nor is keeping money flowing to regime officials [who] suppress the basic rights of the Iranian people. Those managing the Iranian economy and those financial institutions in Iran that seek to do business with the international community should know they will pay a price for engaging in illicit behavior.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Human Rights, Iran, Iran sanctions, Politics & Current Affairs, Ronald Reagan, U.S. Foreign policy

While Pursuing a Thaw with Israel, Saudi Arabia Foments Anti-Semitism at Home

July 18 2018

For the better part of this century, Jerusalem and Riyadh have cooperated clandestinely to contain Iran’s growing power. The kingdom has also increasingly aimed its diplomatic and propaganda efforts against Qatar, whose funding of Islamist groups—including Hamas—has damaged both Saudi Arabia and Israel. But, writes Edy Cohen, there’s a dark side to Riyadh’s efforts against the enemies of the Jewish state:

The [Saudi cyberwarfare agency’s] Twitter account tweets daily, mostly against Qatar and Iran. It uses anti-Semitic terminology, referring to Qatar as “Qatariel,” a portmanteau of Qatar and Israel, and claiming the [Qatar-sponsored] Al Jazeera network “belongs to the Israeli Mossad.”

“‘The deal of the century’ is a Qatari scheme to sell Palestine to the Zionist entity,’” one tweet reads, while another alleges that the “Zionist” Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the father of [Qatar’s ruler] Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, is scheming to divide the Arab states to fulfill the dreams of the “Zionist entity” and Iran. Yet another tweet alleges that Qatar is “trying to destroy the Arab world to serve the enemies of the Muslim world: Israel and Iran.” These statements penetrate deep into the Arab consciousness and increase existing hatred toward Jews and Israel.

The Saudis, then, are playing a double game. Behind the scenes, they send the Israelis the message that Iran is a common enemy and goad them to fight Iran and Hizballah. At home, however, they say the enemy is first and foremost the state of Israel, followed by Iran. Their formula is clear: covert ties with Israel coupled with overt hostility to the Jewish state to satisfy the people, a majority of whom hate Israel.

The Saudi double game is reminiscent of the Egyptian model under President Gamal Abdel Nasser in that dozens of anti-Semitic articles are published daily, while the Israeli populace is not exposed to the phenomenon and the politicians close their ears. Following the signing of the 1994 Oslo Accords, the Palestinians asked Israel for permission to incite “moderately” against the Jewish state for “domestic needs.” This incitement turned deadly and was used as live ammunition for the boycott, sanctions, and divestment movement (BDS). We must not give in and accept the incitement against us, and that is also true when Saudi Arabia is concerned. Incitement translates into action, and that action comes at a price.

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Iran, Israel & Zionism, Qatar, Saudi Arabia