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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.

Read more at Politico

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

 

Putting Aside the Pious Lies about the Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Jan. 23 2018

In light of recent developments, including Mahmoud Abbas’s unusually frank speech to the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s leadership, Moshe Arens advocates jettisoning some frequently mouthed but clearly false assumptions about Israel’s situation, beginning with the idea that the U.S. should act as a neutral party in negotiations between Jerusalem and Ramallah. (Free registration may be required.)

The United States cannot be, and has never been, neutral in mediating the Israel-Palestinian conflict. It is the leader of the world’s democratic community of nations and cannot assume a neutral position between democratic Israel and the Palestinians, whether represented by an autocratic leadership that glorifies acts of terror or by Islamic fundamentalists who carry out acts of terror. . . .

In recent years the tectonic shifts in the Arab world, the lower price of oil, and the decreased importance attached to the Palestinian issue in much of the region, have essentially removed the main incentive the United States had in past years to stay involved in the conflict. . . .

Despite the conventional wisdom that the core issues—such as Jerusalem or the fate of Israeli settlements beyond the 1949 armistice lines—are the major stumbling blocks to an agreement, the issue for which there seems to be no solution in sight at the moment is making sure that any Israeli military withdrawal will not result in rockets being launched against Israel’s population centers from areas that are turned over to the Palestinians. . . .

Does that mean that Israel is left with a choice between a state with a Palestinian majority or an apartheid state, as claimed by Israel’s left? This imaginary dilemma is based on a deterministic theory of history, which disregards all other possible alternatives in the years to come, and on questionable demographic predictions. What the left is really saying is this: better rockets on Tel Aviv than a continuation of Israeli military control over Judea and Samaria. There is little support in Israel for that view.

Read more at Haaretz

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Mahmoud Abbas, Peace Process, US-Israel relations