With the focus of the presidential race turning sharply toward foreign policy, the topic of Iran and competing visions for what to do about the rogue regime’s pursuit of nuclear weapons are likely to take center stage in the coming days.
While Iran claims that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, the international community continues to unveil evidence that Tehran’s atomic pursuits are anything but innocent. Far from being harmless, the notion of the world’s most destructive weapons in the hands of a terrorism-sponsoring regime represent a stark threat to the stability of the Middle East and the security of the entire world.
If you have any doubts that Iran continues to play a dangerous game, then look no further than developments from just the past couple of weeks. In a meeting ahead of the Iranian President’s speech before the U.N. General Assembly, U.N. Secretary General Bank Ki-Moon warned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of the dangers of inflammatory rhetoric. Ignoring the suggestion, Ahmadinejad took the podium denouncing “uncivilized Zionists,” and attacked Western nations as handmaidens of the devil.
This week, a report from The Times of London indicated that the Iranian regime is continuing to provide huge amounts of critical financial support to the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. According to the Times, Iran has transferred $10 billion to support Assad’s war against Syrian rebels and continued attacks against his own people.
While most of the world has been appalled by Assad’s willingness to unleash brutal violence that has targeted men, women and children in Syria, Tehran has apparently taken it on itself to help prop up Assad. Remarkably, Iran is finding billions to funnel to the embattled dictator even as its own economy is feeling the bite of increased international sanctions.
The rial, Iran’s currency, fell more than 13 percent in trading on October 1. It now sits at a record low of around 35,500 rials to the dollar. At the end of 2011 it was pegged at 13,000 to the dollar, which means Iran’s currency has lost over three quarters of its value in the past nine months.
Yet serious questions remain as to whether President Obama means what he says when he claims that no options are off the table when it comes to stopping Iran’s nuclear pursuits. While Obama has claimed to “have Israel’s back,” he has during the past four years managed to throw into serious question the degree of U.S. commitment to its critical ally Israel.
With the Middle East aflame and Israel facing increased chaos and military threats from all directions you would think that Obama would have the decency to help put to rest any question that America stands closely with Israel. Such a clear statement would serve to allay Israel’s growing concerns and also send an unmistakable warning to those who would even consider doing Israel harm.
Instead, he told 60 Minutes that Israel is “one of our closest allies in the region.” One of? Are you serious, Mr. President?
America should not be ashamed or afraid to stand strongly with a country that shares our values and is a vital outpost of decency in an otherwise rotten region. We should stop apologizing for our values and stop turning our backs on our friends. Obama’s unwillingness to back Israel not only reflects poorly on our country but also jeopardizes the security of Israel—which is unquestionably our closest in the Middle East.
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