It’s the terrorism, stupid

Before the ink had even dried on the interim Geneva agreement between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the six negotiating powers, financial institutions and companies around the world were already competing with one another to resume their economic relations with the outlaw regime in Tehran. The banks, oil industry and high-tech companies that had to be painfully dragged and coerced by the United States into complying with the international sanctions against Iran, are now eager to go back to their business-as-usual operations. The sketchy international deal that was cobbled together will serve only one thing…to ensure the survival of Iran’s extremist government by staving off the government’s economic collapse. Achieving anything more…such as ending, or even slowing down, Iran’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons is highly unlikely.

But even if the Geneva agreement were to miraculously accomplish that crucial objective, it totally fails to address the past and current efforts of Iran to promote and finance terror around the world.
Iran has been on the US Department of State’s list of nations that sponsor terrorism since January 19, 1984. And, today, Tehran remains the foremost provider of material support and training to terrorist groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and the Mahdi Army. Tehran’s proxies have been sent to further destabilize Iraq and Afghanistan; and in Syria, they provide much of the muscle to the Assad regime in its continued violence against its own people.

And, Tehran’s violence is not limited to the Middle East. The 1982 bombing of the Marine Corp barracks in Lebanonwhich killed more than 400 U.S. servicemen was funded by Iran. And, more recently the United States’ official 9/11 Commission determined that Iran played a significant role in the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, DC. Elsewhere around the world, it was Tehran which ordered and paid for the 1994 attack on the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that resulted in the murder of 87 innocent civilians and the maiming of 100 others (prosecutors in Argentina have identified and indicted Iranian officials as criminally liable in the bombing).. More recently, Hezbollah, trained and financed by the Iranian regime, was responsible for the terrorist shooting deaths of nine Israeli tourists in Bulgaria and a thwarted attempted terrorist attack in Cyprus.

Despite the diplomatic high-fiving and celebratory toasts over the Geneva agreement, we must remember that Iran was, and still is, an international pariah long before it ever began to try and enrich uranium. Regardless of what occurs at the Natanz and Arak nuclear facilities, the sanctions must not be relaxed; Iran must continue to face economic ruin until it ceases to be a rogue state that promotes terrorism around the world and suppresses its own citizenry.

After many years of sanctions, there were signs that the Iranian people were pushing back against their rulers…the murderous regime was finally on the ropes. If we ever hope to change the course of history, now is the time to increase the pressure, not reverse it.

About the Author
Robert "Dr. Bob" Shillman is the founder, chairman and Chief Cultural Officer of Cognex Corporation in Natick, Massachusetts.
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