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Letter: US sanctions are the only strategy to pressure Iran into negotiations
08102018 IRAN
President Hassan Rouhani addresses the nation in a televised speech in Tehran, Iran, on Monday Aug. 6, 2018, in this photo released by official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency.

I read with interest a report by the AP this week concerning reaction of our EU allies to the re-imposition of sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran. Our president has restored the stiff economic sanctions that brought Iran to the table in the first place in hopes of pressuring it into coming back to the table so the issues swept under the table during the previous negotiations might be addressed. To wit, its support of terrorism, penchant for de-stabilizing the governments of neighboring countries and ongoing desire to “wipe Israel off the map.”

After having met and enjoying the company of former Iranian nationals who fled here to America after the Islamic Revolution, I have no beef with the average citizen of Iran. However, our intelligence community and our State Department have long labeled the nation “the world’s’ leading state sponsor of terrorism,” a description the leaders of the European Union have not attempted to rebut. It is clear from the reports of the unrest within the populace that the citizens of Iran would desire their leadership to allow their country to back away from the theocratic hardline stance and become a functioning democratic part of the world. Perhaps the “squeeze” being applied by the present U.S. administration will encourage them to do so. 

But I was a bit taken aback when I analyzed the comments made by the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, on her recent trip to New Zealand. Of course, we heard the boilerplate statements that the EU believes cooperation with the Iranian regime is in the best economic and security interests of Europe, and that nuclear non-proliferation is good for all, and she “deeply regrets” the U.S. actions. 

I am sure all these statements are quite true, but when we get beyond the sound bites, we come to her statement (we have to assume that as a duly authorized spokesperson for the EU, that this is a prevailing opinion in Brussels) that trade between Iran and the EU “is a fundamental aspect of the Iranian right to have an economic advantage in exchange for what they have done so far, which is being compliant with all their nuclear-related commitments.” 

So have we gone even beyond the notion that outcomes should be equal even though input disparity exists? Has unmerited reward usurped the position of unlimited opportunity? Economic advantage? 

Per my recollection, it seems that the goal of the Joint Comprehensive Plan was to bring the Islamic Republic of Iran into compliance with the accepted global definition of “good behavior.”

 Tell me, when our unruly child misbehaves, do we discipline him or her by saying “Here, have an extra cookie. By the way, no need for you to do your homework, and you can stay up and watch TV just as long as you like?” Economic advantage? Really?

Steven D. Smith

Cleveland

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