The Looming Nuclear Agreement Is Expected to Lift Sanctions on Iran’s Human-Rights Abusers

As discussions over a new nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic seem to be coming to a close, the Biden administration appears poised to grant sweeping relief not only from nuclear sanctions, but also from terrorism- and human-rights-related sanctions on specific individuals. Orde Kittrie argues that “sacrificing human-rights concerns to achieve arms-control objectives is both unnecessary and counterproductive.” By contrast, he notes, Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan “maintained strong human-rights pressure on the Soviet Union while successfully negotiating major arms-control agreements.” Kittrie warns of the grievous implications of such a decision, and urges Congress to take action to block it:

The Iranians who will reportedly be freed from all sanctions under the nuclear deal include Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, President Ebrahim Raisi, Vice-President Mohsen Rezaei, and Hossein Dehghan, a former brigadier general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Each has a horrific record of personal responsibility for human-rights abuses and terrorism.

Khamenei was Iran’s president from 1981 until 1989 and has been its supreme leader since then. As such, Khamenei is ultimately responsible for four decades of Iranian human-rights abuses and support for terrorism. A U.S. federal court held Khamenei personally responsible for the deaths of nineteen U.S. servicemembers in the bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. Federal courts have also held Khamenei personally responsible for the deaths of U.S. civilians in three terrorist bombings in Israel—two on public buses and one at an outdoor market in Jerusalem.

Raisi is responsible for the execution of thousands of political prisoners and the unlawful torture and execution of hundreds of peaceful protesters. All sanctions will likewise reportedly be lifted on Rezaei, a former IRGC commander-in-chief who is wanted by Argentina for organizing a 1994 attack on a Jewish community center that killed 85 people.

Lifting sanctions on these Iranian human-rights abusers and terrorism sponsors would send a dangerous message of impunity to Vladimir Putin and his henchmen at a time when they are committing war crimes in Ukraine and human-rights abuses in Russia. Such a decision is contrary to America’s values, would wrongly abandon the Islamic Republic’s many victims—including hundreds of current political prisoners and detainees—and would also weaken deterrence against future abuses in Iran and make it harder for the Iranian people to liberate themselves from the Iranian regime.

Read more at National Interest

More about: Cold War, Iran nuclear program, Jimmy Carter, Joseph Biden, Ronald Reagan, U.S. Foreign policy

Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict