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  • Guest Blogger: Rep. Ros-Lehtinen on Time to Take Action on Iran

    For too long, the Iranian regime has played hide and seek with the U.S. and other countries regarding its nuclear weapons program. Last week, the House took a critical step to end this deadly game.

    Just days before the 30th anniversary of the Iranian hostage crisis, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs took up the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act. This bipartisan legislation, which Rep. Howard Berman, the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and I introduced, and which enjoys the support of well over 300 co-sponsors, targets one of Iran’s major weaknesses, namely its need to import gasoline and other refined petroleum products. By placing financial sanctions on U.S. and foreign companies providing Iran with this crucial resource, Iran’s already weak economy would be crippled.

    We must take tough measures such as this because it is now clear that the diplomatic route alone will not work. The revelation that Tehran has been building a second secret uranium enrichment plant is proof that the policy of “accommodation and concessions” pursued by the Bush Administration in its second term and augmented by the policy of “direct engagement with the Iranian regime” followed by the Obama Administration has failed.

    Years of proposed negotiations and repeated offers of cooperation have done nothing to slow Iran’s march toward a nuclear weapon. The clerical regime’s acceptance of repeated pleas by the U.S. and our European allies to participate in discussions on improving relations has been coupled with expressions of contempt, the first being its statement that the nuclear issue is off the table, the other the recent launch of advanced missiles capable of striking U.S. forces and our allies, Israel foremost among them.

    Endless efforts to persuade our allies and other countries to take measures to pressure Iran have produced next to nothing in terms of effective sanctions. Those adopted by the United Nations Security Council were gutted by Russia and China to little more than slaps on the wrist. Far from alarming Tehran, these baby steps have convinced the regime that it is free to proceed without fear of punishment.

    This situation is unlikely to change. Russia and China will continue to serve as Iran’s protectors and veto any harsh measures. And our allies in Europe and elsewhere are unlikely to strengthen sanctions sufficiently to inflict real pain on Tehran.

    That is why the U.S. must be prepared to act alone, if necessary, and bring every weapon in its arsenal to bear. The Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act is one such tool. But, while imposing these sanctions would be a major step forward, it is not a magic bullet and must be coupled with actions on all fronts.

    Some would be virtually effortless. At a minimum, the U.S. should specifically reject Iran’s claim to an inalienable right to produce nuclear fuel and instead openly state that we will not allow the regime to use this claim as cover for a nuclear weapons program.

    Although we must do all that we can to persuade our allies to act with us, we can no longer allow them to restrain us. Given the urgency of stopping this rapidly growing threat to our security and that of the world, the U.S. must make clear that we will reassess our relations with other countries around the world, including our allies, depending on their actions to help us.

    The stakes go well beyond Iran. Every regime dreaming of nuclear weapons is watching the West’s huffing and puffing and learning that defiance is likely to be rewarded by bribes and pleas, a path already blazed by North Korea. We cannot allow another demonstration of our weakness to embolden our enemies to ever-greater threats.

    Chamberlain’s plea to talk over problems with Hitler in order to satisfy his “reasonable” demands brought not peace but catastrophe.

    We must put away the begging bowl and pick up the stick. For only when we have convinced Iran that we are prepared to act will there be a chance of preventing this nightmare from becoming a reality.

    U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla), is the Ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

    The views expressed by guest bloggers on the Foundry do not necessarily reflect the views of the Heritage Foundation.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to Guest Blogger: Rep. Ros-Lehtinen on Time to Take Action on Iran

    1. Jay McClung, Virgini says:

      Put a stop the policy of weakness exhibited by this administration.

    2. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      Iran will not suffer for lack of gasoline. BP and China and others have already signed twenty year contracts with Iran for crude oil, and in those contracts are the assuridies of refined gasoline in exchange.

      Obama is a fool to believe that words and words alone could ever change the heart of a Tyrant.What is the saying,"The road to Hell is paved with Good Intentions."

    3. Roy Callahan, Gaines says:

      Thank you Representative Ros-Lehtinen. You nailed the Iranian problem nicely. Your command of history is also outstanding.

      Watching all the goings on in Congress it's imminently apparent that you women have more guts and common sense than the men who run the two parties.

      Nice Job.

    4. Leon, Durango, CO says:

      Oh boy! Here it comes to the very moment when Obama (and the whole Democratic Party) wilt like limp noodles. We have the classic Pincer on Iran, and just watch these spineless Commies throw it away. If you want to match the violence, Iran will most certainly throw bombs to Israel, then wouldn't it be nice to have the troops in theater? I think it about time for a military strike, before IRAN HAS THE BOMB. This may be the only chance, like with Syria and Iraq. If the Israelis don't do it, we should, that is if the current Administration actually works in any part in the interest of the American People. These Israelis are relatives of ours, we have more Jewish people than the State of Israel.

      Wait til after Iran drops the Bomb on Tel Aviv and Mr. Community Organizer, millions of dead will be on your head for what you should have done when you had the chance.

      I think Israel should force America's hand. That is before American troops are withdrawn, strike the Iranian nuclear sites. Do you forget spineless Carter and how he abandoned Lebanon? If it doesn't get hot soon, spineless Obama will withdraw, and then what kind of counter-threat would we have? Don't worry, your American kin will not abandon you, and we will be rid of this Obama communist before the dust settles. Moseltof.

    5. Slick - Nebraska says:

      One has to wonder what good all those fancy ivy league schools taught our leaders. Did they not have to take history classes so they could learn from failures of the past???

      Thank you, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen, for your very informative article and your foresight in dealing with Iran. Unfortunately I don't think anyone like the President is listening . . . look at what he is NOT doing in Afghanistan.

      I fear we are about to experience a terrible tragedy that could have been avoided if Pres. Obama would just work up the backbone to make the hard decisions on behalf of OUR country and not be so worried about what the rest of the world will think. After all, what can they do? Take away his Nobel Peace Prize?

      The "talk now and postpone action" program of this administration is not working very well . . . NO ONE in this country, much less the WORLD, is listening to Obama because they KNOW we are not going to back up what we say with actions!

      One can only hope that a minimum amount of damage will be done before we can get this incompetent "donkey" out of the White House!

    6. Eeely the Weasel says:

      Boy, this Ros-Lehtinen is one traitorious cunt, isn't she? She think she in the Knesset? For an Israeli douchebag, she spend way too much time . She should go sunbathing on the Mediteranean. I recommend any rooftop in Sderot.

    7. Lipwowlundold says:

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