By INU Staff
INU - The lifting of economic sanctions that was part of the nuclear deal wit Iran has provided much of the funding of their ballistic missile program. The ability to project force beyond its borders, known as “over-the-horizon” capability, sets a nation apart from others. Nuclear-capable nations, such as the U.S., Russia, China, France and Great Britain have long had the ability to project force around the world. Iran’s ballistic missile program is meant to give it this capability.
However, missiles are no assurance of internal security for these regimes. Internal suppression of dissent, both in North Korea and Iran, relies threats of execution and imprisonment to control their citizens.
Amnesty International has released an updated report on Iran’s human rights condition. Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said, “It is a bitter irony that as the Iranian authorities boast about their increased engagement with the UN and the EU, particularly in the aftermath of the nuclear deal, human rights defenders who have made contact with these same institutions are being treated as criminals. Rather than propagating the dangerous myth that human rights defenders pose a threat to national security, the Iranian authorities should focus on addressing the legitimate concerns they raise. These are people who have risked everything to build a more humane and just society – it is appalling that they are so viciously punished for their bravery.”
The EU previously announced plans to relaunch a bilateral human rights dialogue with Iran in 2016, and Amnesty is calling on them to speak out in the strongest terms against the persecution of human rights defenders in the country. “The international community, and in particular the EU, must not stay silent over the outrageous treatment of human rights defenders in Iran,” Philip Luther stated, “Instead of appeasing Iranian officials, the EU should forcefully call for the immediate and unconditional release of all those jailed for their peaceful human rights activism and for an end to the misuse of the justice system to silence activists.”
Meanwhile, new sanctions were issued against Iran and Korea by President Trump to curb Iran’s “destabilizing effect in the region.”
On August 2, in a letter to the UN Security Council, written on behalf of the United States, France, Germany, and Britain, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said the launch of a missile carrying a satellite into space “represents a threatening and provocative step by Iran.” Her letter called on the Council to “discuss appropriate responses” against Tehran for its “provocative action.” In Ambassador Haley’s letter to the UN, the four nations called on Iran “to immediately cease all activities related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.” They said Iran’s “long-standing program to develop ballistic missiles continues to be inconsistent with” the UN resolution and has a destabilizing effect in the region, according to Bloomberg.
The National Iranian American Council has condemned the sanctions and warned that a war could follow these moves. Still, the sanctions had the overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress. In a statement by Jamal Abdi, executive director for NIAC Action, the lobbying arm of the NIAC, he said, “The alarm bells should be ringing but instead of restraining Trump’s reckless inclinations on Iran, Congress appears to be actively encouraging him.”