By Heshmat Alavi
The world begins to digest the major development of business tycoon Donald Trump defeating former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Among the many questions regarding this unexpected election result is the new administration’s approach vis-à-vis Iran. Considering the Iran nuclear deal, viewed by President Barack Obama as his foreign policy crown jewel, there are inarguable mistakes that need urgent remedies. Iran considered the Obama presidency as a golden era. It is now on the shoulders of Donald Trump and the new Republican-controlled Congress to patch various wounds inflicted by eight years of mistaken Iran appeasement policy.
Iran nuclear deal
The Obama Doctrine, if you will, was based on extending a hand to America’s historical rivals. This stirred serious anger among traditional U.S. allies, especially in the Middle East, and members of Congress from both sides of the aisle. However, Obama managed to push forward his initiative at the expense of others. This policy envisioned Iran becoming a more responsible partner of the international community as a result of the nuclear deal, a premise now revealed as a wish-fulfillment daydream. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently reported that Iran has again exceeded the permitted level of heavy water, raising eyebrows across the board. This is the result of a weak stance adopted by the Obama administration after the nuclear deal.
Iran is also taking advantage of the opportunity to continue its gross human rights violations, enormous support for terrorist groups not only across the Middle East but even in the U.S. and Europe as well, and persisting in inflaming wars in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq. The incoming administration in Washington has the opportunity to weigh a more serious approach against Tehran. Such a policy must force Iran to quickly wind down its nuclear efforts and bring an end to horrendous human rights violations and daily execution of its opponents.
Tehran’s terrorism and foreign intervention
The Obama administration took a turn for the worst from day one, pledging to pull out all American troops from Iraq. This signaled a major American policy shift in the Middle East, raising concerns for U.S. allies and providing a much-sought opportunity for the mullahs in Tehran. Obama’s White House argued Iran would play a constructive role in stabilizing the entire region, beginning with Iraq. Unfortunately, what the world witnessed has been anything but.
Obama turned his back to Iran’s meddling in Iraq in favor of pursuing the JCPOA at all costs — viewed as an unofficial pact paving the way for Tehran’s political/military infiltration of Baghdad and fueling the rise of Daesh (ISIS).
The situation calls for a Trump White House to work closely with the new Congress in adopting a firm Middle East policy by recognizing the root of all such crises. Iran must be brought to comprehend that a new administration in Washington means an end to an enormously profitable political period.
Atrocious human rights record
Choosing not to support the 2009 uprising movement in Iran, Obama made it crystal clear to all his intention to pursue a policy of close engagement with Tehran. This emboldened the mullahs to take full advantage of such a change in attitude from Washington by significantly intensifying their domestic crackdown. Despite claiming to be a moderate, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has presided over 2,500 executions during his tenure. Scores more are on death row and Iran’s jails are packed with inmates like never before. While smiling to the outside world and claiming to seek reforms, Rouhani has remained completely loyal to the establishment by supporting a continuing policy of oppression, torture, and executions.
Congress rightfully introduced the Iran Human Rights Legislation and a new administration must build upon this initiative. Donald Trump has the opportunity to show his support for the Iranian nation and their thirst for freedom, democracy, and other values cherished also by the American people.
President Barack Obama made a strategic mistake in adopting a mistaken and already failed Iran appeasement policy. Iran continues to quietly cheat on the nuclear accord, inflame wars across the Middle East, and clamp down on human rights inside its own borders. This must end, and the wrongs of the Obama era must be made right. Donald Trump has the opportunity to create a completely new perspective on Iran. The Iranian people are begging for the new administration to support their struggle for freedom.
Obama failed to extend his hand to the Iranian people. Donald Trump should not. His White House and the new Republican Congress should work closely to adopt a firm Iran policy worthy of the values America stands for.