The Iranian Threat

The Iranian Threat

Iran’s nuclear ambitions pose a threat to its neighbours, Israel and the wider world. Some countries do not yet publicly acknowledge that Iranian claims that its nuclear programme is only intended for peaceful uses are not credible. Others feel that the threat of massive retaliation, if Iran makes a nuclear attack, is sufficiently prohibitive not to press Iran to the wall on this issue. However, the latter ignore the danger that Iran might build a small-scale collateral nuclear instrument and pass it on to a terrorist organization.

Iran continues to defy key demands of the IAEA and the UN Security Council. Three rounds of sanctions have already been imposed on Iran by the UN, including: travel bans on Iranian officials; the freezing of foreign assets of Iranian companies and officials; and bans on the sale of dual-use items to Iran. A recent UN resolution also urges governments to withdraw financial backing from firms trading with Iran, inspect cargo going into and out of the country, and monitor the activities of two Iranian banks.

The development of Iran's nuclear programme coincides with an intensification of its calls for the destruction of Israel, and thus poses an existential threat to Israel and the Jewish people. It threatens to advance its influence in the Middle East, and to ultimately impose Shiite hegemony in the region. It poses a threat to the entire continent of Europe.

All efforts must continue to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions and press it to comply with the UN Security Council and the IAEA demands.

Iran must be pressured to cease all nuclear enrichment and reprocessing activities and heavy water-related projects until it is conclusively proven that it is only intended for civilian power generation purposes.

The sanctions regime needs to be strengthened in order to bring to the attention of its populous the heavy price it is paying for Ahmadinejad's foreign adventures.

The sanctions regime should include key Iranian industries such as oil and natural gas (including obstructing Iran’s capacity to import refined oil products). It should include industrial machinery, farm equipment and spare parts for its ageing agricultural and transportation infrastructures.

The international community needs to be united to confront the Iranian threat.

Other, more drastic, action against Iranian nuclear installations should only be considered as a last resort if all diplomatic avenues have been exhausted and if the sanctions regime fails to deliver any tangible results.

Governments should be pressed to provide umbrella assurances that, in the event that all efforts fail to curb Iran, retaliation against a nuclear attack on Israel will be definitive, devastating and final.

Alliances of convenience should be encouraged with those Arab neighbours who also fear the spreading influence of Iran into their territory, including those countries that do not yet have diplomatic relations with Israel.

The recent election fraud resulting in significant protests on Iran's streets has created new opportunities to encourage internal actions against the regime. The general population should be encouraged by the outside world to demand more from its leaders in human rights and religious tolerance. The recent political upheavals and the apparent rifts within the religious establishment provide significant longer term opportunities for internally driven regime change.

Iran is a leading sponsor of terrorism, via radical Islamic groups in other countries. The Iranian regime is providing support to Hamas and Hezbollah, amongst others. Hamas and Hezbollah pose a very real and active threat to Israel and a danger to the moderate faction among the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples. The capacity of Hamas to harass and disrupt Israel’s border towns were enhanced immediately prior to Israel’s defensive military initiative in Gaza.

Iran's involvement in the financing of Hezbollah is directly contributing to the internal instability in Lebanon, which in turn has negative implications for the region and is a continuing threat to the residents of Northern Israel.

Iran was directly involved in the planning of the terrorist attacks against the Israeli embassy and the AMIA centre in Buenos Aires in 1992 & 1994. It refuses to cooperate with Interpol, which has issued ‘Red Alert’ notices against several Iranian citizens. Iran has appointed Ahmad Vahidi, one of the masterminds of the AMIA attack, as its new Minister of Defence.

Iranian emissaries continue to infiltrate Muslim communities worldwide in order to spread hatred and to advocate violence against Israel and the Jewish people. Iran has established a gateway to Latin America for its activities, through Venezuela and Bolivia and is actively engaged in cultivating relationships with States in Central America.

International organisations and governments must take measures against the proliferation of weapons and funds from Iran to Hamas and Hezbollah.

Links between Iran and radical terrorist groups need to be exposed and publicised.

Those involved in the promotion of such terrorist activity should be prosecuted and brought to justice.

Almost all countries – the USA and Israel being the exceptions – have diplomatic relations with Iran. Many European countries also have sizeable business interests in Iran, notably in the oil and gas sectors. Some of the energy companies doing business in Iran are state-owned.

Governments should refrain from encouraging or supporting companies seeking new business contracts in Iran, and above all not with state-owned Iranian companies.

Unless key industries such as oil and gas are affected, UN sanctions are unlikely to be effective or to cause an affected local populous to press its government to desist from its nuclear ambitions and to focus instead on indigenous economic problems.

Governments should not help companies in their respective countries to clinch deals with Iranian firms.

Existing contracts with Iran should be suspended until the regime in Tehran accepts all UN demands on its nuclear program.

Business deals with Iran which contravene the spirit or letter of the UN sanctions regime need to be exposed.

Iran’s current leaders, above all President Ahmadinejad, have repeatedly questioned the dimension of the Holocaust, or used the Shoah to criticize Israel. In December 2005, Iran’s Foreign Ministry hosted a conference of Holocaust deniers. Iran’s regime uses the Holocaust as a political weapon.

Iran propagates the denial of the Holocaust as a means to delegitimize and demonize Israel. Denial of the Holocaust denigrates the memory of those who died and shows the true state of mind of Iran’s leadership.

Holocaust denial or trivialisation needs to be condemned and discredited wherever possible.

Perpetrators must be prosecuted wherever legislation permits.

Education about the Holocaust should be enhanced wherever possible, especially among the young, including non-Jewish children.

Governments should be encouraged to introduce Holocaust education into school curricula.
 

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