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Serious steps should be taken to confront Iran’s behavior

In my article last week, I described the difficult options that could be put forward to respond to the Iranian regime’s behavior in the region, as well as addressing the rise in its destabilizing behavior, which is increasingly impossible to passively watch without taking serious steps in order to restrict Tehran from dangerous escalation in the region.

We have reached this stage due to the signing of the nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 countries in 2015. This deeply flawed deal turned a blind eye to the concerns of many nations in the region, which are at risk because of the activities engaged in by the Iranian regime. The most dangerous aspect of this deal was that Tehran was able to sign it without any reference to its hostile behavior or to the militias sponsored by its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Also, the deal did not consider the regime’s ballistic missile program, and this effectively gave the regime a green light to continue its program without any reservations from Eastern or Western powers. This led Iran and its affiliated militias to target oil tankers in the Arabian Gulf and to hit Aramco facilities in the center of Saudi Arabia.

In light of this extremely volatile situation, we see a number of people speaking and writing about the need to avert any action against Iran that might thrust the region into a new armed conflict. This is, of course, a scenario that all parties seek to avoid, but these people have not put forward any practical suggestions, genuine options or workable solutions to confront the Iranian threat and to prevent Iran from continuing to pursue its confrontational approach. 

Those showing sympathy with the Iranian regime, especially lobby groups in Europe and the US, have harshly criticized the White House’s maximum pressure strategy, which is largely focused on squeezing the Iranian economy and its oil sector in particular. But they have never asked Iran to compromise by ending its regional interference, and they have never demanded for it to dismantle its militias. Also, they have not been vocal in condemning the aggression and violations committed by the Iranian regime in the region and beyond.

How on earth can the people who blame the victim and turn a blind eye to the wrongdoings of the perpetrator become independent voices? More importantly, how dare these voices defend the position of the Iranian regime while the Iranian people at home are speaking out and making their position very clear, through the use of slogans like “No Gaza… No Lebanon,” “Shall I redeem Iran with my soul?” “Leave Syria and care for us,” and “The enemy is here.”

Those lobbies in the West that promote the regime’s narrative are doing a terrible disservice and perpetrating an unforgivable sin against the Iranians at home. They have given a green light to the regime to suppress protesters who are simply demanding a decent life and asserting that the country’s money should be spent on its people at home rather than on its proxy militias abroad.

Therefore, it is in the interest of the Iranian regime and of regional stability and security, as well as in the interest of trade and competitive prices, that there should be serious steps taken to cease the subversive and terrorist operations carried out by Iran in the region. The world should predict the future scenarios resulting from the Iranian regime’s behavior unless it is forced to immediately change its approach by whatever means necessary. At the same time, this will ensure that the world will not be prompted to resort to difficult options in the future in case the appropriate steps are not taken in the required time.

The people in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain and other countries will never forget the deep wounds caused by the Iranian regime and the innocent people killed due to Iran’s aggressive behavior. They will also not forget how the regime sowed the seeds of terrorism and sectarianism through the creation of numerous armed militias. These policies have negatively affected the global image of the Iranian people, although most believe that the majority of Iranian society is not supportive of the regime’s policies.

The other nations of the region are, sincerely and collectively, extending a hand to Iran so that it can take genuine steps to rebuild the confidence that no longer exists between the two sides. These nations want security and stability and to play a positive role, whilst salvaging what they can of their relations with Iran.

Ultimately, nobody seeks to resort to the most difficult options or to engage in conflict, especially with neighboring countries. All governments, however, have their own positions and interests to consider, as well as the massive responsibility on their shoulders to defend their people, national interests, national security, and capabilities. This being the case, therefore, other regional policymakers are leaving all options for responding to Iran on the table and will, after studying any appropriate course of action and its ramifications, go ahead with the one that is considered to be the most appropriate and least dangerous for their countries and allies, as well as for the world and its interests.
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