News and views relevant to U.S.-Iran relations for November 16, 2010.
- The Wall Street Journal: Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) fellow Benjamin Weinthal categorized a trip by five German parliament members to Iran last month to meet with their Iranian counterparts as that nation’s “bizarre way of working through its history” and“court[ing] Tehran’s Holocaust deniers.” The German lawmakers defended their trip as an example of valuable cultural exchange. Weinthal takes issue with the group’s unwillingness to ask questions about Iranian human rights abuses and limitations on freedom of religion. With other German politicians scheduled to tour, Weinthal concludes that “[i]t appears that for Berlin, promoting its flourishing trade relationship with Tehran and preserving the ‘historical treasure of the German-Iranian friendship’ trump concerns for human rights and nuclear proliferation.”
- Defense News: Efraim Inbar, a Bar-Ilan University professor and director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, makes the case for military action against Iran. Inbar argues that “diplomacy has run its course,” “economic sanctions are generally futile” and that further negotiations just gives Iran more time to complete its nuclear program. Inbar says that an Iranian nuclear program could threaten the regional stability of the Middle East, Europe and South Asia. Inbar is resolute: “The discussions on postnuclear Iran scenarios underestimate the strategic repercussions of an Iranian nuclear arsenal. At this late stage, only military action can prevent the descent of the greater Mid-east into a very brutish region.”
- The Wall Street Journal: With foreign policy not having been on the mid-term election agenda, neoconservative Senator Joe Lieberman makes the case for resurrecting an internationalist (read hawkish) bipartisan foreign policy. After indefinitely continuing the Afghan war, Lieberman’s “second priority for national security bipartisanship” is Iran. He wants to “ensure that sanctions are aggressively enforced” and to keep the military option on the table — euphemistically referred to by stating: “We must also work together to send a clear message to the Iranian regime that the U.S. is unified and determined to prevent it from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability—through peaceful means if we possibly can, by other means if we absolutely must.” Lieberman asserts that an Iranian bomb “would dramatically undermine our national security” and lauds bipartisan support for the most recent rounds of U.S. sanctions on Iran.