Eye on Iran - Congressman Roskam's Weekly Column
As the United States continues to fight the War on Terror, Iraq and Afghanistan easily take center stage in the discussion. After all, our troops are engaged in conflict on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, so we naturally focus our energy on the progression of our military efforts there. However, we cannot solely focus on one part of the world while ignoring the growing problems in Iran, North Korea, Syria, and even more recently, Russia and their threat to take up the nuclear arms race once again.
Evidence suggests that Iran has supplied the Iraqi insurgency with roadside bombs, equipment, and even manpower to be used against U.S. soldiers and our allies. According to The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), for two decades the Iranians hid their nuclear activities from the international community. They have continued to fail to comply with their safeguard obligations and to the Paris agreement. They have shown they are not interested in negotiating in good faith.
Due to continuing concerns arising from Iran, and the importance of demonstrating to the world that the United States takes foreign policy negotiations with the utmost seriousness, I have become a cosponsor of the bipartisan Iran Counter-Proliferation Act of 2007. This legislation increases economic and political pressure on Iran to persuade the regime to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons. The bill closes the loopholes in existing sanctions law, strengthens U.S. tools to cut off funds to Iran's nuclear program and prohibits U.S. nuclear cooperation with those aiding Iran's nuclear efforts. The Act also specifies that the restrictions will be lifted when the President certifies that Iran has ended its efforts to develop nuclear, chemical or biological weapons or ballistic missiles, has been removed from the list of countries supporting international terrorism, and poses no threat to U.S. national security, interests, or allies.
According to the New York Times, in May 2007 international inspectors reported that Iran has mastered a crucial process that would allow it to produce fuel for a nuclear weapon. Iran's efforts to develop a nuclear arsenal should make us more than just a little uncomfortable. Iran is a nation whose president pledged to "wipe Israel off the map" and eventually aspires to "a world without America." It is my hope that diplomacy and the use of sanctions can prevent troop deployment to Iran in the future and secure a safer America BEFORE the United States is forced to respond to the awful scenario of nuclear aggression in the Middle East.