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US should consider military option against Iran, panel of former US elected officials and diplomats say
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US President Joe Biden should consider a military option as a way to pressure Iran to renounce its pursuit of nuclear weapons and an aggressive drone program, a panel said on Wednesday former elected officials and American diplomats.
The panel was hosted by the National Council of Resistance of Iran and included Joseph Lieberman, a former US senator; Robert Joseph, former Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, and Special Envoy for Non-Proliferation; David Shedd, former acting director of the Defense Intelligence Agency; Professor at Georgetown University Matthew Kroenig; and Jonathan Ruhe, director of foreign policy for the Jewish Institute for National Security of America.
The NCRI has published a detailed study on how Iran uses drones to strike targets in Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and Saudi Arabia, and is building alliances with China, Russia and Venezuela.
“It worries our allies in the region that they cannot depend on us,” Lieberman told the NCRI hearing in Washington.
He added: âWe are on the wrong track in the United States in our efforts in Vienna to re-enter the JCPOA (nuclear deal). They are well intentioned, but they do not match the realities of what Iran is doing in Vienna or in the world. They are very risky. It is not only important that the United States harden our position, to take a step back from the negotiations as they are currently taking place, but also to move towards more containment and constraints against the regime.
Lieberman said: âThe Iranian regime now returning to the JCPOA in Vienna is a regime that recklessly violated the most binding and important terms of the deal, enriching uranium to a very dangerous level.
The JCPOA is the joint comprehensive plan of action signed in 2015 to lift sanctions against Iran if it renounces its nuclear weapons program and allows international inspections.
Calling Iran a “deplorable regime,” Joseph argued that the best strategy would be to strengthen the growing resistance inside the country which is pressuring the regime, which is using the JCPOA negotiations as a means to expand its nuclear power. , its drones and ballistic missiles. programs.
âThe (Biden) administration should take a step back from the negotiations and define success. Right now we’re projecting weakness, âJoseph said in response to a question from Arab News.
Kroenig said the United States must step up the pressure.
âWe are relying too much on the engagement leaflet (negotiations). We must put the military option back on the table. President Biden should say he is prepared to use force, âKroenig said.
âWe need to have a stronger pressure track. The regime must understand that if it stays on its current course, there will be consequences. Supporting the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people is important. And, finally, we must keep a military option on the table as a last resort to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon.
Ruhe agreed, adding that the Biden administration would have to set a deadline for the talks “after which it would be ready to put in place credible military actions.”
All agreed that the Iranian regime does not take the 2015 nuclear deal seriously.
NCRI deputy director Alireza Jafarzadeh said that despite Iran’s expansion of its drone campaign and its refusal to give up its push for nuclear weapons, the regime is “much weaker than it is. ‘was in 2015 “.
But he said the weakness stems from resistance groups inside Iran who provide detailed details of Iran’s nuclear and drone programs the NCRI shares with the world.
“The Biden administration should make democracy and human rights a central part of its foreign policy towards Iran instead of trying to find a way to deal with the repressive regime,” Jafarzadeh said.
He said the world should prosecute war crimes charges against recently-elected Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who should be held accountable for his policies and the past genocide.
Raisi is accused of overseeing widespread massacres of civilians in 2018 as head of Iran’s “Death Commission”, which sentenced thousands of political dissidents to death.
Jafarzadeh said: âIran is in serious violation of the agreements reached in 2015. They have been in violation from day one. All the evidence shows that they have three new sites (nuclear program).
The NCRI released a six-page summary of its findings, which concludes that the 2015 nuclear deal failed to force the Iranian regime to abandon its nuclear weapons program or the expansion of drones.
Ruhe said studies show Iran’s use of drones to strike targets has tripled in recent years.
The NCRI report identified 15 companies that are being used as “fronts” for Iran’s terrorist drone program.
The companies are: Iranian Association of Aviation and Space Industries; Iranian Association of Aviation and Space Industries; Iranian Science and Technology Research Organization; Iravin Innovation and Acceleration Center; Farnas Pasargad Aerospace Industries Company; Bal Gostar Negah Asemanha Technology; Kharazmi electronics industries; Iran Bekr Party Khavar Mianeh; Sahfa Cooperative Production and Distribution Company – Iranian Aerospace Industries; Aras Tech Aircraft Maintenance Services Company; Maham Pergas technology; Hezareh Sevvom industrial alloy development company; Nazari Titanium Company; Sara Security Tools; and Noandishan Composite Structures Industrial-Production.
NCRI officials have also released copies of their recently published book, “Iran: IRGC’s Rising Drone Threat”, which is captioned: “A Desperate Regime’s Ploy to Project Power, Incite War”.