Together to stop Iran

Renee Kramer | Op-ed Submission

Did you know the original peace sign was a symbol for nuclear disarmament and the logo for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND)? It was created in 1958 by Gerald Holtom, a professional designer who graduated from the Royal College of Arts to advocate the anti-nuclear movement. The image has manifested itself as one of the most recognized symbols of peace in the world, and the United States is bringing it back with more meaning than ever, in its attempt to stop a nuclear war with Iran before it happens.

With 414 votes in favor, on Oct. 14, the United States House of Representatives passed the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act of 2009: H.R. 1327, authorizing state and local governments to enforce divestiture from, and bar investment in, companies with investments of $20 million or more in Iran’s energy sector. This measure, introduced by Representatives Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., is part of a series of bi-partisan legislations intended for strengthening America’s efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. H.R. 1327 was passed to the Senate where it was read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs before being voted on. In the Pittsburg G-20 summit on Friday, Sept. 25, President Obama criticized Iran for carrying out “covert” operations and “breaking rules that all nations must follow.” Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, said this Iran sanction will direct Obama’s actions against the looming nuclear threat of Iran.

The sanctions could affect Iran because, while the country is the world’s second largest natural gas reserve and a major crude oil exporter, Iran does not possess the capabilities to meet its domestic gasoline needs. Despite Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s claims that sanctions against Iran are “impossible,” his administration has developed a plan to counter these potential provisions. Iran has attempted to decrease domestic consumption of gasoline by raising gasoline prices, enforcing rationing quotas, developing alternative energy fuels, improving public transportation and increasing domestic refinery production. Iran hopes to establish an autonomous energy structure that does not rely on the U.S. and other international fuel contributors. The effect of these efforts has yet to be proven successful in mitigating the goals of U.S. sanctions.

The sanctions could also generate significant short-term political instability in Iran. Limiting Iran’s fuel intake could entice public outrage that may exacerbate a current tense political environment in Iran. Only shortly after the controversial presidential elections, the proposed sanctions have the potential to empower regime oppositionists. September protests at the al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day rally in Tehran, supported by more than 100,000 people, reveal that a sector of the population remains unsettled over the post-election events and against the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Despite the protests’ outcries, in his al-Quds Day address, Ahmadinejad proclaimed  the “Western powers launched the might of the Holocaust” and that Israel was “doomed to be wiped off the map.” This noted statement only escalated Iran’s reputation as an existential threat to Israel and as a nuclear, peace-obstructing menace to the rest of the world.

It appears yet again that Israel and the United States share a common interest to inhibit the nuclear capabilities of Iran and the notorious behavior of Ahmadinejad’s regime. Israel backs the United States’ goal to harness international support to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg has stated that the United States has a greater chance of winning global confidence in its efforts for even tougher sanctions against Iran because its administration has encouraged Iran’s willingness to engage in serious negotiations first. He advises the international community that by the end of the month, the world should have a clear indication of Iran’s intentions about its nuclear program. The United States’ sanctions face Iran with the choice to continue its unlawful nuclear program and risk economic and social ruin or terminate the program for a peaceful relation with the rest of the world. The International Atomic Energy Association estimates that by 2010, Iran will have enough enriched uranium to produce nuclear bombs. The United States is taking steps to stop this activity from progressing. What is the rest of the world doing to protect you?