• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Morning Bell: The Debate Over Iran

    On November 22, Republican candidates will gather together in Washington, D.C., for a presidential debate presented by The Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute on CNN. The subject: foreign policy and national security. Chief among the foreign policy issues that the President of the United States must address is the matter of an increasingly dangerous, hostile, and emboldened Iran.

    Yesterday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a report confirming that Iran has made substantial progress in its nuclear weapons program. The IAEA says it “has serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme” and that “Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.”

    Though not surprising, the news is nonetheless alarming. A nuclear Iran poses a significant threat to the United States and its allies in the region, yet to date the Obama Administration’s response has fallen far short. Heritage’s James Phillips explains, ”The new IAEA report also should inject a greater sense of urgency into the Obama Administration over Iran’s accelerating nuclear efforts.” He also details the White House’s inadequate posture to date:

    The Administration has appeared complacent in recent months, promoting the narrative that the stuxnet virus unleashed on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure has dealt Iran’s nuclear program a devastating setback. But as Stephen Rademaker and Blaise Misztal noted in a persuasive op-ed [yesterday], Iran’s uranium enrichment efforts were only temporarily slowed and now continue to grow at an alarming rate.

    Given the Obama Administration’s lethargic response to Iran’s continued nuclear efforts, it is no wonder that the Israeli government reportedly is mulling a preventive strike against Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. The Obama Administration needs to step up its efforts to pressure Iran to halt its nuclear weapons efforts, or Israel soon could be tempted to take military action to address a growing existential threat.

    Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, though, is not its only affront to the international community. Its list of offenses is as long as it is alarming.

    The Iranian government suppresses civil rights and freedom of speech, and it is pursuing a plan for a heavily censored, all-Iranian Internet that would block the country from the rest of the world. The government has pursued a course of religious persecution, too. Iranian Christian pastor Yousef Nadarkhani was handed a death sentence in 2009 after questioning the Muslim teachings that his children were receiving at school. And the regime turned hikers into hostages when it sentenced two innocent American hikers to eight years in jail for allegedly straying across the Iran-Iraq border two years ago.

    But the Iranian regime is not content to keep its belligerence contained inside its borders. In October, the United States foiled an Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington. The conspirators also planned bomb attacks on the Saudi and Israeli embassies in our nation’s capital. Fortunately, these flagrant acts of war and international terrorism were disrupted, but the intent remains. Together with its nuclear ambitions, Iran’s belligerent posture toward the United States cannot be ignored. In August, The Heritage Foundation Counterterrorism Task Force criticized the Administration for failing to address the threat:

    The President’s strategy pays insufficient attention to state-sponsored terrorism, which will increasingly be a major force to be reckoned with. Iran is one of the most prominent and aggressive state sponsors of terror and its proteges–both Hamas and Hezbollah–represent potentially grave threats. In addition, transnational criminal cartels in Mexico are increasingly taking on the character of terrorist networks.

    Following the news of Iran’s plot against the Saudi ambassador, Heritage’s James Carafano wrote that the Obama Administration should take strong measures to respond to Iran’s actions, including conducting a proportional military response against suitable, feasible, and acceptable targets (similar to military operations conducted against al Qaeda in Pakistan). It should impose and enforce the strongest sanctions, target public diplomacy to expose the regime’s human rights abuses, reduce Iran’s meddling in Iraq, and rescind and rewrite its counterterrorism strategy. There are actions, too, that the United States can take to bring about liberty in Iran, as detailed in this Heritage report.

    Throughout his Administration, President Obama has downplayed Iran’s progress on the ballistic missile and nuclear fronts, and he has maintained that international sanctions have slowed the momentum of Iran’s military buildup. Now we have even more evidence to the contrary. The Iranian threat is growing–both inside and outside its borders. And it’s an issue the Republican presidential candidates should not ignore.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    27 Responses to Morning Bell: The Debate Over Iran

    1. Punky Woods says:

      it bothers me that we seem to be depending on the UN to furnish information in Iran and their nucular wepons program. if we didn't already know this before this report came out that's scary. i bet Isrial has a better idea than anyone what Iran is up to.

    2. Fred Nose says:

      With the 11/22 debate looming and the attendant exposure, one would hope that the candidates would take at least two steps: 1) inform themselves deeply and comprehensively on the Iran and similar issues wherein Republicans can speak with one voice persuasively & convincingly and 2) have the united backing of most if not all segments of the Party. The mainstream media hasdone well to portray Republicans as a splintered, fractious entity with little or no cohesion and lacking any cohesion. In addition, the candidates need to speak and act as mature gentlemen with firm convictions and not as sniping, namecalling, rude schoolboys. American is facing dire straits on many fronts. Thanks Fred N.

      • Georga says:

        That would be Newt…..He's the man who can lead with strength and wisdom. He has solutions. He says what he believes without pandering or stuttering. Of course the mainstream will portray Republicans as less-than so they can get their boy elected again.
        There are lots of varing ideas from the candidates on some issues…and degrees of dogma. That's good, I believe, because we vary as Americans dealing with the diversity within our states, so pick the one who most reflects your views and the one who'll be able to deal with the other views. That would be Newt.

    3. Carol M Kite says:

      This is the time for Obama to step forward, instead of hiding out safely on the fence, and make the decision, with force behind the proclamation, to exhibit to Iran the need to backtrack immediately or there'll be serious consequences and mean it! Time to be presidential, for an exchange, and lead!

      • sdfultz says:

        Carol, Fred
        What would your recommendation be in engaging Iran?
        The President is proposing more santions.

    4. Robert, TX says:

      And yet another report in the monthly series titled: Iran is gonna get a nuke. I suppose Saudi Arabia is not too concerned, or their boy would be doing something about it. What does Heritage want? Do you want us to leave 250,000 troops over there for the next 10 years? This WHOLE mess has been bungled from the beginning, back in 2002. I met an officer from the USS Ronald Reagan while in Hawaii this summer, and they were returning from a seven month deployment. The USS Ronald Reagan, by itself, would be the 9th or 10th most powerful military in the world. Their deployment should have lasted four months (nine years ago). Of course, that would have required using real weapons on real targets backed by real leadership!

    5. Dr. Henry Sinopoli says:

      I just love getting the morning updates from Heritage. Each day, I attempt to forecast what topic will be featured and formulate a particular comment. Each day, I am humorously reminded that those who control the topic, control the debate.

      Unless a group, society or organization selects a topic, focuses on it until addressed, it lives endlessly. We still have Obama care, and the lifer politicians will continue, with the support of fragmented Heritage groups,to survive to control the debate.

      You are talking about Iran…and we can defeat Obamacare…what's our task tomorrow…?

      • toledofan says:

        I guess if you don't like what you read stop reading it. I mean aren't they, Heritage, just trying to hightlght some actions or plans that maybe needed to addressed? So, if the message was controled by the left or the Democrats would that be ok or better. We have Obamacare simply because the Democrats still control the Senate and the White House. Duh! Iran is a big issue and it's something that should have been talked about years ago, but our Commander in Chief decided to ignore it, the mainstream media gave the story cover and now when someone brings it up, it's too big to solve or at the very least it shouldn't be talked about. I say, Heruitage, keep up the good work.

    6. Frank says:

      I look forward to the Heritage debate on 22 Nov. People often dismiss Ron Paul because they find him weak on Iran & not supportive of Israel. On the one hand, we should not stand by & do nothing if the Muslims try to wipe out Israel. On the other hand, we should try to avoid "foreign entanglements". We should not tie Israel's hands. Both Israel & the USA should not be "puppets" of the Power Elite who like to stir up wars so as to make more profits. If we untie Israel's hands & if we both pursue our own best interests, I think things will be OK in the long run. But the Muslims need to know there will be a high price to pay if they try to exterminate the Jews in Israel. Other than that, let Israel act in her own self interest!

    7. Thor H. Asgardson says:

      The Winds of War are blowing.

    8. If we aren't going to use "common sense" lets just eliminate it from the dictionary. Any person with any common sense would have stood up years ago and said that Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, North Korea and the buildup and expansion of military and nuclear power by Russia and China were "happening" not some obscure words like we think it might be happening or we suspect they "might" be trying to do these things. These things are not only happening but they have been happening for some time and we, the United States of America and its people, have been supporting it with foreign aid and in the case of China buying billions of dollars worth of their products, giving away the technology to produce those products and doing those things at the expense of closing our own businesses and companies that once provided those products to our people. With the above in mind I take back what I said in the first sentence. We need to reactivate "common sense" back into our lives and the lives of our leaders.

    9. seeker1 says:

      Iran is a real problem that we are not going to do anything about. We can't even straighten out our on problems here at home. If we try to fix things the Unions stop it or the Democratic Party does. Why can't we get it together for a minute and stop us from being like the people in Iran? They have no freedom either.

    10. David M. McClain says:

      In my humble opinion, it is unlikely President Obama will engage in any action which will be effective in altering Irans plans or schedule. Much to the disappointment of many, he is an extremely ineffectual, weak, and unfocused President. He has insulted most of our friends in the world, (and we dont have many), weakened us internally, involved the Government in things and areas where it doesnt belong.. With respect to Iran, if it has not already been done, very detailed plans should be made to completely destroy Irans military capabilities, and destroy as much of thier lnfrastructure as possible, within 96 hours of whatever action they might take which would cause these actions to become necessary. I feel we need to place sufficent naval power in striking distance of Iran, to accomplish this mission. Additionally, the presence of these forces would enable us to offer Isreal maximum protection and assistance, in the shortest possible time. . .

    11. Ben C. says:

      The conversation between Obama and Sardosky (sp?) at the G20 about the Israeli prime minster says it all. Obama has to "deal with the liar" every day. And people wonder why Obama is passive about Iran. Obama's Muslim hertitage is as clear as can be. My guess is that Obama will be happy to see Iran and Israel in another conflict and probably will side with Iran.

    12. Martin Lackner says:

      This happens when one of our two major parties supports to the hilt and pushes from the rear, an inexperienced union organizer to run a ship the size of the United States through stormy waters. Both under Democratic and Republuican administrations, we once were the leaders of the world. We saved innumerable countries from tyranny. Now we have an inept rube at the helm who is steereing our ship towards the shoals where it may crash and (hopefuly NOT) sink..

    13. Ahmed Moustapha says:

      I enjoy your articles every day.Thank you!
      However I feel your article about Iran today was very biased.
      I am not Iranian and have no interrest to defend this country eccept my keen respect to justice and my resistance to special political agendas.
      God bless you.
      Dr AFM

    14. “….they’re rioting in Africa, there’s strife in Iran…”, Kingston Trio 1959; the San Francisco Libs then and President Barack Hussein Obama now consider the Trouble in The Mid-East as a distraction to their objective of Turning America into their own Socialist Utopia.
      Our country has never been in more danger. Our Military is weakened and downsized. Our Commander-In-Chief has given our enemies our Strategies and time-tables. Everyday, some regulator, bureaucrat or court damages our economy and our capitalist system, striking fear and uncertainty into our Entrepreneurs and Job Creators. More chaos is welcomed if not desired by Obama and his Anti-American Team.
      “…and I don’t give-a-damn anymore.” Hard to believe I really liked those guys back then!

    15. P. D. says:

      Lets stop all of the WAR talk. Sounds like Iraq all over again. As a bankrupt country we do not have the resources to wage another war. As a veteran of the fraud that was our involvement in Korea, I am against wasting the lives and wealth of any more Americans fighting wars that are none of our business. Listen to Ron Paul. Bring our troops home where they belong and protect our boarders.

      • Robert, TX says:

        You're right P.D.!!! One small correction, though. We are not bankrupt because of any war. The government services supported by our U.S. Constitution only cost 20 cents out of a dollar. It's the other 80 cents that is bankrupting us. That money goes to 100 million welfare recipients, 15 million illegals, 12 million unemployment bums, over 60 million seniors, retirees, teachers, education consultants, healthcare consultants, healthcare management professionals, pharmaceutical rip-offs and other fraudulent uses.

    16. Zygote1331 says:

      So once we bomb Iran then what? Are we prepared for $300 a barrel oil. For unending war in the middle east. Heritage talks war but never discusses the end result. A nuclear capable iran would not attack Israel because it knows the consequences. I am not certain Israel is that careful.

    17. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      We tell Iran that we'll turn Tehran into a radioactive crater if they attack Israel, or God forbid, us.

    18. Randall hebert says:

      America needs to make a preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities —- a nuclear pulse bomb over Tehran to fry their electrical grid or bomb iran's parliment to wipe out their leadership, Iran's officer Corp training facilities to disrupt their military, their nuclear facilities and their oil pipeline. —— if we go in, we need to take a WWII approach of being all in to destroy our enemy. A severe response will give the other hostile nations pause. This nation can only be the worlds protector if our enemies fear us.

      • liz says:

        And how will you do that? Many of their weapon sites are underground in secret locations, like in the mountains. Perhaps SOME of their plants could be taken out and their program slowed a bit, but within a year they'd be right back where they are now. This info is from a lecture I went to given by someone from the State Dept.

    19. Gene says:

      According to some old data I read way back, there are enough nukes on the planet (mostly the U.S.'s) to kill every human on earth 30,000 times. That's really, really dead.

    20. Liz says:

      Finally, a debate that will focus on foreign policy. Yes, I know the "it's the economy, stupid", but I have yet to hear some of these candidates talk about anything else. Thank you!

    21. Will says:

      How long has Iran had to prepare for their dirty work while we continued to do nothing but talk about it ??

    22. Hauptman says:

      Once again, we have proof that the Demo party and the idiot in cheif have no clue as to how to conduct pro American interest in the world. Just think of what this regeim has done to denegrate the American name and standing in the world We must remove as many of the fools from public office as possible in the next election. Another four years of BHO is UNTHINKABLE!!!

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.