The Daily Gamecock

Iran poses threat despite cooperation

Mark your calendar: for the first time since his inauguration into office almost five years ago, President Barack Obama has finally overseen something that begins to justify his 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. (Remember that?)

The U.S., along with five other world powers, has forged a deal with Iran limiting any future uranium enrichment, diluting already enriched uranium and calling for “enhanced monitoring” from the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA). In return, the U.S. and E.U. member states will lift sanctions on oil, gold and various other expensive commodities.

Ever since Hassan Rouhani was elected president of the Islamic Republic, the U.S. has been buffeted by nothing but good feelings from Tehran. This so-called “charm offensive” has resulted in the first telephone call between a U.S. and Iranian president since 1979. This deal is, without doubt, a continuation of this overall trend.

With any other country, this tentative relation would be a welcome sign. Our libertarian wing will no doubt remind us that suspending economic sanctions helps everyone, in the long run.
And they would be right. Except for one small problem: we’re dealing with Iran.

We must remember a few things about the nature of Iran.

We must remember that we are dealing with a theocratic state that is directly responsible for funding terrorist organizations across the region. The terrorist group, Hezbollah, is closely linked with Iranian statecraft. This group is one of the reasons why Syrian rebel movement is currently imploding.

We must remember that the President of Iran is not the Supreme Leader of Iran; that title goes to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has held that position since 1989. We are dealing with a nation whose elected president must be confirmed by an autocrat. Whatever President Rouhani might do, he is virtually a figurehead, designed to operate within the guidelines set out by the religious fanatics who actually run the government.

We’ve done this little dance before. Before North Korea developed nuclear weapons capabilities in 2006, we implored them to come to the table. You know what? They went ahead anyway, because once a regime has nuclear weapons, they become absolutely untouchable. No amount of lifted sanctions is worth something so valuable. And, lest we forget, Iran is affiliated with groups that actually want to use an apocalyptic weapon on civilians. Food for thought.

The question remains: can the U.S. afford to trust a Janus-faced country with unquestionable aspirations to nuclear weapons?

Remember who we’re dealing with.