By Allan Tasslimi
NJ.com- As an Iranian-American I am part of a community that has ties to a rich cultural and historical tapestry, to the often-beautiful Iranian landscape, and to its people, many of whom are close relatives. Like most of my fellow Americans, I believe that a military confrontation is unwise, and the consequences would be devastating for me both in here in the United States as well as in Iran.
That is why I was so shocked at the recent deal Iran brokered with world powers, known as the P5+1. It is a betrayal of international law, it sends a message of weakness in regard to American resolve, and it makes the chances of an unthinkably terrible conflict far more likely.
Up until the P5+1 gave Iran the overly generous gift of sanctions relief, the Iranian regime was in dire straits, right on the brink of giving in to Western pressure. Though this claim may seem unbelievable, it was recently given credibility by none other than Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president, commander in chief of the military and founder of the Iranian military program.
The United States came to the table with a regime that has consistently denied having a nuclear program, and has been consistently caught lying. In 2002 an Iranian opposition group exposed a plant used for enrichment in Natanz and a heavy water plant in Arak. In 2005 the United States discovered the regime’s bomb designs in a computer file, and in 2009 Iran’s secretive Fordow facility was discovered.
The United States and others at the table chose to ignore the Iranian regime’s history of lies, to abandon Iranian opposition groups that have been some of our most loyal allies, and to construct a vision detached from reality vis-à-vis the Rouhani regime.
Hassan Rouhani is not Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but he represents the same regime, a regime whose deceit has been clear, one that understands both trust and force, but will respond only to the latter. Instead of showing resolve, the Iranian regime was given the gift of uranium enrichment of up to 5 percent, the ability to keep open Fordow and Arak (both of which they lied about), and the right to operate the Parchin site without any inspections whatsoever. Add to that list the fact that the regime doesn’t have to ship 20 percent enriched uranium and the word “deal” seems inappropriate — deal of the century for a murderous, unfailingly disingenuous regime is a more accurate description.
The handshakes, smiles and seemingly friendly rhetoric demonstrated by the new “liberal face” of the regime cannot erase reality. Under this “new” regime Iran has the highest rate of executions per capita in the world. In 2013 alone there were 660, two-thirds of which happened under Rouhani.
Trusting such a regime is foolish, but to continue such trust could be deadly. As such, Congress is correct in seeking to keep the pressure on Iran. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and 58 of his colleagues have shown a great deal of foresight in emphasizing that the threat of sanctions will ensure the full implementation of the Geneva Accord and prevent Tehran from cheating.
As part of the Iranian-American community, I will exercise the freedoms my relatives have long been denied by contacting my representatives and demonstrating for policy on Iran conducive to peace. As an American, my choice toward action is reaffirmed by a respect for human rights, our allies and the lives of those who would have to fight and die to protect this nation. I hope that you, my fellow Americans — Iranian or not — will join me.
Allen Tasslimi is president of the Association of Iranian-Americans in New Jersey, a member of the Organization of Iranian-American Communities. Two of his brothers are residents of Camp Liberty, Iraq, home to 3,000 Iranian dissidents.