WASHINGTON, DC – President Donald Trump must do to Iran’s mullahs what President Ronald Reagan did to the Communists.
That message resonated strongly during last week’s panel titled, “Iran’s Nuclear, Regional and Proxy Challenges” at the Heritage Foundation where there was a consensus among top national security and foreign policy experts that the Iran deal was a grave mistake with lasting consequences.
Peter Brookes, a Senior Fellow at National Security Affairs and The Heritage Foundation, moderated Wednesday’s event.
“What Reagan did to the Communists, Donald Trump has to do to the Mullahs,” Mark Dubowitz, the Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), said. He complimented Reagan’s brilliance in articulating the case against communism and recalling the legacy of “American power” Reagan left behind in his approach to dealing with enemies of the United States, liberty, and freedom.
“I think we need to move away from the same myopic focus on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA] – the Iran deal that the Obama administration reached – and we need to move to an Iran policy, an Iran NSDD-75 where the Trump administration uses all instruments of American power to neutralize and roll back Iranian regional influence and Iranian global influence and to hit at some of the same areas that Reagan hit at,” Dubowitz said.
He noted that Reagan’s decision to shift policy from a policy of containment, vis-a-vis the Soviet Union, to a policy of aggressive neutralization and roll back could be carried out on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and “revolutionary Iran.” He also noted that the timing was ripe for the United States to go after the IRGC and companies affiliated with them and called for imposing greater sanctions on Iran to “force Tehran to pay an increasing price for the actions of the IRGC’s activities.”
Dubowitz noted that “in about ten years time, Iran will have, thanks to this deal, an industrial-sized nuclear program.” He added, “All they have to do is wait until the key restrictions on the deal sunset and they will emerge with a legal, internationally recognized, industrial-sized nuclear program.”
Dubowitz said that, in addition to taking up all the resources in D.C., the JCPOA has created a “policy paralysis” which has been exploited by Iran over the past eight years. He said this “policy paralysis” was a byproduct of the Obama administration.
Despite broken and empty promises made by the Obama administration that the IAEA will have access to these nuclear sites, Dubowitz noted that Rouhani and his fellow cohorts made it clear that the United States and IAEA will never gain access to these sites.
“We were told by the Obama administration, over and over again, that we would get access to all sites; including military sites,” Dubowitz recalled. “Well, if you were listening to the Iranians way back in 2013, ’14, ’15, ’16, ’17, they have said repeatedly – over and over again, from Ali Khamenei all the way down – that you will never, ever get into our military sites. We repeat: you will never, ever, ever, ever get into our military sites.”
Late last month, Ali Akbar Velayati, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s foreign policy adviser, said the Americans were dreaming to think they could visit Iran’s nuclear sites.
“The Americans should take the dream of visiting our military sites, using the pretext of the JCPOA or any other pretext, to their graves,” Velayati said.
Dubowitz said, “In approximately ten years, the Iranian regime will have a legal, internationally-recognized NPT-compliant, industrial-sized nuclear program that will be powered by advanced centrifuges and will include ICBMs and a flourishing economy to fund these endeavors and secure Iran’s regional and global hegemony.”
He warned that, when Iran does reach this level, “it won’t be the JCPOA or war. I will be the JCPOA and war. And when that war comes, the consequences will be much more devastating.”
James Phillips, Senior Research Fellow at The Heritage Foundation said, “The nuclear agreement has made a bad situation worse.” He added, “If you like what North Korea is doing today, you’re going to love what Iran is going to be doing a few years down the road.”
Phillips noted the importance of precluding Iran from filling the vacuum left in the Middle East by the Islamic State and called for imposing greater sanctions on Iran to “force Tehran to pay an increasing price for the actions of the IRGC’s activities.” He noted that, although the European Union continues to differentiate between Hezbollah’s political and military wings, “in fact, they are one in the same.”
“Bottom line is that the nuclear deal has not moderated Iran,” Phillips said. “In fact, it has strengthened and emboldened it.” Referring back to Obama’s failed Middle East policies, Jim Hanson, president of the Security Studies Group, said, “Israel is a great ally … We can go from having Iran as an ally, Israel as a frenemy at best under the Obama administration to Israel being our only true friend in the region and Iran being the enemy to peace in that region. I think if we’ve changed nothing else but that thought process. I think we have established a much better and a much more realistic world order.”
He added, sarcastically, “Hamas: There’s another wonderful group of humanitarians. Iran backs them, and they are causing no end of death and destruction.”
Hanson also noted that the Saudis and Jordan have a large stake in this fight and recommended help from the Gulf Arab states with Iran to prevent what he referred to as a third Sunni insurgency.
Next month, President Trump will decide whether or not to recertify the JCPOA or nuclear deal, which is required of the president every 90 days to verify whether Tehran is complying with the nuclear accords.
Breitbart News reported in April that members of an Iranian dissident group have presented satellite imagery and intelligence, said to be provided by informants working covertly inside the Iranian military, that indicates the Iranian regime is far from complying with the terms of the nuclear deal.
In February, the same group of dissidents revealed for the first time an intelligence report specifying the scope of terrorist training camps run by the IRGC and Quds Forces within Iran and how the groups are training and sending Afghani and Pakistani recruits to Syria and Iraq to carry out the regime’s dirty work.
In sum, Dubowitz said, “Iran does not respect the territorial nature of its neighboring countries. Why should we?”