How Should We Deal With Iran?

On Friday, Bret Stephens posted a column in The New York Times about the recent aggressive actions taken by Iran against international shipping. Bret Stephens is not a supporter of President Trump, but in this instance, his views seem to be in line with the policies of the Trump administration.

The column notes:

On April 14, 1988, the U.S.S. Samuel B. Roberts, a frigate, hit an Iranian naval mine while sailing in the Persian Gulf. The explosion injured 10 of her crew and nearly sank the ship. Four days later, the U.S. Navy destroyed half the Iranian fleet in a matter of hours. Iran did not molest the Navy or international shipping for many years thereafter.

Now that’s changed. Iran’s piratical regime is back yet again to its piratical ways.

Or so it seems, based on a detailed timeline of Thursday’s attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman provided by the U.S. Central Command, including a surveillance video of one of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps patrol boats removing an unexploded limpet mine from the hull of one of the damaged tankers.

The column notes that the evidence points to Iran as behind the recent attacks:

In this case, however, the evidence against Iran is compelling. CentCom’s account notes that “a U.S. aircraft observed an IRGC Hendijan class patrol boat and multiple IRGC fast attack craft/fast inshore attack craft (FAC/FIAC) in the vicinity of the M/T Altair,” one of the damaged tankers. The Iranian boats are familiar to the U.S. Navy after decades of observing them at close range. And staging deniable attacks that fall just below the threshold of open warfare on the U.S. is an Iranian specialty.

So what do we do now?

The column concludes:

It can’t be the usual Trumpian cycle of bluster and concession. Neither can it be the liberal counsel of feckless condemnation followed by inaction. Firing on unarmed ships in international waters is a direct assault on the rules-based international order in which liberals claim to believe. To allow it to go unpunished isn’t an option.

What is appropriate is a new set of rules — with swift consequences if Iran chooses to break them. The Trump administration ought to declare new rules of engagement to allow the Navy to engage and destroy Iranian ships or fast boats that harass or threaten any ship, military or commercial, operating in international waters. If Tehran fails to comply, the U.S. should threaten to sink any Iranian naval ship that leaves port.

If after that Iran still fails to comply, we would be right to sink its navy, in port or at sea. The world cannot tolerate freelance Somali pirates. Much less should it tolerate a pirate state seeking to hold the global economy hostage through multiplying acts of economic terrorism.

Nobody wants a war with Iran. But not wanting a war does not mean remaining supine in the face of its outrages. We sank Iran’s navy before. Tehran should be put on notice that we are prepared and able to do it again.

Sometimes you simply have to stand up to a bully in order to correct his behavior.

About That Treaty…

It is no secret that Iran has been a major provider of funds and arms for terrorists in the Middle East and other areas in Asia and Africa. The Iranian nuclear treaty does not seem to have slowed their arming of terrorists or their belligerent attitude.

Yesterday Fox News reported that a U.S. Navy ship stopped a shipment of arms going from Iran and likely headed for Yemen.

This is one of the pictures from the article:

IranianArmsShipmentThe article reports:

The Navy said the shipment included 1,500 AK-47s, 200 rocket-propelled grenade launchers and 21 .50-caliber machine guns.

After the U.S. seized the weapons stash from the dhow, a traditional sailing vessel, the Navy let the crew go. A U.S. official told Fox News current rules do not allow western naval forces to seize the crew in addition to illicit cargo. “You have to find a country willing to prosecute,” the official said. 

A defense official reached by Fox News would not reveal the nationality of the dhow’s crew.

Last month, Iran announced that it tested missiles marked with the phrase “Israel must be wiped out,” in violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution tied to the recent nuclear deal. The resolution forbids Iran from working on its ballistic missile program for eight years and bans sales of its conventional weapons.

It is becoming very obvious that the only reason Iran was even willing to negotiate the recent nuclear deal was that it wanted the economic sanctions lifted. It is also becoming very obvious that even stricter sanctions need to be imposed. Iran is acting as a major supporter of terrorism. That needs to stop. Allowing Iran to continue arming terrorists and building a nuclear program to wipe out Israel is simply the suicide of western civilization. To allow Iran to continue its present behavior will have horrible consequences in the not-to-distant future.