BIPP: Thoughts on Iran

John Angileri, BIPP Intern

Tensions are high with Iran.

On Dec. 29, American airstrikes killed 24 members of Kata’ib Hezbollah, an Iran-
backed Shia militia that operates in Iraq and Syria. On Dec. 31, Iraqi Shia protestors and
militiamen — led on-scene by Katea’ib Hezbollah commander, Abu Mahdi al-
Muhandis — threatened to storm the US embassy in Baghdad, torching guard posts, hurling
rocks, and killing an American security contractor. On Jan. 3, another American airstrike
killed general Qassem Soleimani, leader of Iran’s elite Quds force. From Jan. 3-7, mourners in Iran
and Iraq gathered in what seemed to be a rather impressive funeral for him. On Jan. 8,
Iranian missiles struck an American base in Iraq, injuring 11 soldiers. Hours later, Ukranian
International Airlines Flight 752 crashed just outside of Tehran shortly after it took off,
killing all 176 passengers and crew members inside. It had been shot down by the Islamic
Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran, who took three days to admit responsibility for the disaster,
saying a lone Iranian defense operator mistook the plane for a U.S. cruise missile in a statement
on Jan. 11. Mass anti-government protests ensued in Tehran. (They must have drawn a
different crowd than the Soleimani funeral).

Throughout the days of violence and destruction, U.S. and Iraqi officials have delivered executive
addresses, eulogies and tweets with words sometimes pointing toward, sometimes pointing
away from, but most times enigmatic about, a war between the United States and Iran. U.S. President Donald Trump’s political opponents have bemoaned the killing of Soleimani, either for the way that it was done (without
consulting Congress) or just for the action itself. The discourse surrounding Soleimani’s death
has devolved into the Left indicting Trump — who ran on a staunchly anti-interventionist
platform — as a warmonger. In tandem with this, the issue of Iran has been presented to the
American public as nothing more than an ever-so-simplistic and reductionist decision between
peace and war.

So-called “peace” has been the mission of the activists, politicians, celebrities, and others who
disagree with recent U.S. policy toward Iran. To achieve this, they say the United States should not engage
in any sort of military action against Iran.

But is doing nothing really how peace can be achieved in the Middle East? How can this be,
when the region is currently in a state of war and a lack of freedom (which is in large part created by
the regime controlling Iran)? Iran currently funds militant terrorist groups and props up
repressive regimes across the region, perpetuating violence and suffering in Yemen (Houthi
rebels), Syria (Assad regime), the Gaza Strip (Hamas), Lebanon (Hezbollah), Iraq (Asa’ib Ahl al-
Haq), Israel (Hamas, Hezbollah), Bahrain (Al-Ashtar), Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
A Middle East in which the Iranian regime is able to spread its malign influence throughout the
region unchecked will never be a peaceful one. For several years, the leaders of the
international community have focused their diplomatic efforts on Iran, highlighted by the Joint
Comprehensive Plan of Action. Iran has not changed. The killing of Soleimani — one of the ringleaders of Iran’s state-sponsored death and destruction — is a necessary measure to let the Iranian regime know that its actions have consequences.

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