Continued pressure on the Iranian regime is still needed
The Iranian regime is convinced that the next US administration will rejoin the nuclear deal. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani recently said he had no doubt about a pending return to the status quo under US President-elect Joe Biden.
This, Rouhani added, will result in the rapid suspension of economic sanctions as the US arranged to return to the seven-party nuclear deal from which it withdrew in 2018.
On the other hand, recently released satellite images show that the Iranians are building new facilities near the fortified Fordow underground nuclear site. While the regime has not made any public statements about the work, it has previously acknowledged similar defensive constructions at Natanz nuclear facilities.
There is also evidence of ongoing work in other less prominent countries that has not even been declared to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors.
In October, the main coalition of Iranian opposition groups known as the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) announced the discovery of a military site controlled by the Defense Innovation and Research Organization, which is primarily responsible for arming its nuclear program. Iran.
The new US administration must pay due attention to these reminders and recognize their importance.
It is widely anticipated that Biden will adopt a more lenient policy than his predecessor, President Donald Trump, but the presidential transition does not need to result in the US slipping from maximum pressure into a reconciliation strategy. A gentle approach would encourage the regime.
And the nuclear deal is not the only unresolved issue with the West. There is a 32-year-old crime case against humanity for which no Iranian official has ever been held accountable. During the three months in 1988, some 30,000 political prisoners were brutally executed.
The massacre was highlighted just days before the release of new images by Fordow, when a letter was made public by a group of UN human rights experts. In a report, they sought relevant information from the Iranian regime and also acknowledged the disturbing failure of international bodies to address the crime.
The killings were not investigated by the UN General Assembly, the Security Council or the Human Rights Commission.
The experts said: The failure of these troops to act had a devastating impact on survivors and families, as well as on the overall human rights situation in Iran, and encouraged Iran to continue to conceal the fate of the victims and to maintain a strategy of the deviation and denial that continues to this day.
It is widely expected that Biden will adopt a more lenient policy than his predecessor, President Donald Trump
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh |
Some of the main perpetrators of the massacre remain in positions of extraordinary influence within Iran’s political and economic systems, including the current head of the judiciary and the minister of justice.
It is not surprising, therefore, that the evidence points to the escalation of dissent in the Islamic Republic, especially in the face of the popular unrest that has erupted in recent years.
Dozens of peaceful protesters were killed in early 2018 when the country found itself in the midst of a nationwide uprising. But the death toll fell short in November last year when the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) opened fire on crowds of citizens who took part in a larger uprising.
Approximately 1,500 people were killed, making the repression by far the clearest acknowledgment that the authorities remain committed to the strategies that had emerged prominently in the 1980s.
This observation is one that Biden and other policymakers should take to heart as they set the course for the West’s collective responses to Iran’s malignant behavior.
American and European policies can help protect the Iranian people from the worst repression of their fundamental rights. At the same time, appropriate affirmative policies are still needed in order to put pressure on the regime to abandon activities that could lead to its acquisition of a nuclear weapon.
Then comes the concern about Iran’s role as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, a much more immediate and closer threat to the home as its agents or representatives can strike virtually anywhere in the world, at any time.
The fear of Iranian terrorism was especially evident in 2018, when numerous Iranian-backed terrorist plots were foiled, including one that would have seen explosives being placed immediately outside Paris at a NCRI-organized meeting of tens of thousands of Iranians.
Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the NCRIs, was the keynote speaker at the event in the French capital, joining an impressive group of hundreds of international figures and lawmakers calling for democratic change in Iran. Four co-conspirators in the bomb plot, including a senior Iranian diplomat, are currently on trial in Belgium, in a case that should influence Western policies.
The past 40 years have shown that the behavior of the Iranian regimes will only worsen. There is only one conclusion: Continued pressure on the Iranian regime is necessary and tragically under-emphasized.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is an Iranian-American political scientist educated at Harvard. He is a leading expert on Iran and US foreign policy, a businessman and president of the American International Council. He serves on the boards of the Harvard International Review, the Harvard International Relations Council, and the US-Middle East Chamber of Commerce and Business. Twitter: @Dr_Rafizadeh
Responsibility: The views expressed by the writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Arab News.
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