Iran is a proud country with roots that date back to the earliest annals of human history, once reigning supreme as the heart of the Persian Empire.
Yet, today it is an Islamic fundamentalist state in the turbulent Middle East, one that commits serious human rights violations against even its own citizens. Iran is a state that sponsors terrorism, seeks the destruction of Israel and scorns her friend, the United States. It is important that we keep careful eyes on this dangerous enemy. Consider some of the unfriendly things Iran has done recently:
War by Proxy
Iran has fought against the US in Iraq by proxy. Iran has been promoting the terrorist insurgency in Iraq for quite awhile, despite the fact that the US knows about it. Former CIA Director Porter J. Goss told Congress in May 2005 about Iran‘s involvement in the Iraq insurgency. This August Brigadier General Michael Barbero spoke of the problem, noting at a Pentagon press conference, "I think it is irrefutable that Iran is responsible for training, funding and equipping some of these Shia extremist groups, and also providing advanced IED technology… And there is clear evidence of that."
Iran has armed the terrorist group Hezbollah. In July, the U.S blocked an Iranian cargo plane on its way to Syria full of missiles and launchers. Hezbollah fired more than 800 rockets on northern Israel (with no consideration for the lives of civilians) during its spat with Israel in July. According CBS, "Israeli officials have claimed – and defense and Middle East analysts in Washington agree – that Hezbollah’s arsenal has increased in both size and range, with help from Iran. …rockets that hit cities deeper into Israel, like the ones that killed eight people in Haifa, are suspected of being a newer version of the Katyusha – most likely the Iranian-made mid-range Fajr-3 and Fajr-5."
"This is definitely beyond their ability to build themselves," said Guy Ben-Ari, a senior fellow at the Center for International and Strategic Studies, "These are military grade. There is nothing secondhand or homemade about them."
Iran is also rearming Hezbollah after the ceasefire. Obviously there will be no real peace in the region if Hezbollah is allowed to load up and take aim at Israel once more. The U.S. State Department says Iran and Syria both "must stop arming Hezbollah." In late August, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said that Iran and Syria‘s support of Hezbollah "in the form of financing, training, and supply of armaments does not just perpetuate this crisis – it sustains it. Cutting off these supply lines, as mandated in [Resolution] 1701, is a matter that can no longer be ignored."
Iran has continually refused to halt its uranium enrichment. This is of greatest concern. In fact, Iran‘s top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, said that his country would expand its nuclear program. Monday, Kofi Annan’s visit to Iran ended with little more than an insistence by Iran that it will continue its nuclear program until there are discussions on the matter. (That, and Iran plans to hold a conference for Holocaust deniers.) In late August, the UN offered Iran a whole plateful of incentives to stop its nuclear endeavors. Iran responded by a saying a great deal – but nothing about halting its work on uranium enrichment.
Even if the UN decides to sanction Iran, sanctions will not suddenly make Iran a nation of peace, or make its leaders honest and open. Iran will continue with its nuclear program if nothing serious is done about it. That poses very real dangers for Israel and for the West. We know that Israel will not allow Iran to be nuclear, and so the situation grows more urgent.
• Iran, the Festering Thorn (Reprinted Portions Used by Permission) – About
• Iran Ignores UN Nuclear Resolution – ABC
• Iran Snubs Annan on Uranium – AP
• Syria, Iran Must Stop Arming Hezbollah, US Says – US State Dept
• Hezbollah’s Rocket Science – CBS
• Officials: US Blocked Missiles to Hezbollah – USA Today
• Clear Evidence’ Iran is Arming, Training Iraqi Extremists – AFP
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