The last time a world leader publicly announced an existential threat to the international community, roughly 6 million people of a specific “ethnicity” were brutally tortured and murdered. Almost 70 years later, Iran makes that same threat to the land of those people: Israel.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has time and again used harsh rhetoric in contempt of Israel’s place in the world. In May 2011, Ahmadinejad compared the creation of Israel to the spread of cancer throughout the body, saying that this “regime infects any region” and “must be removed from the body.” It’s quite clear what he wants. Ahmadinejad is specifically calling for the genocidal ousting of the State of Israel. Such hate speech cannot be tolerated by anyone.
Along with violent, racist speech, the Iranian government has continued to support a secretive nuclear program that threatens international safety. This program started as far back as 1957, when the U.S. government launched the Atoms for Peace program. Fast forward 50 years later, and this program promotes anything but peace.
Nuclear power has the potential to solve energy crises and to help medical and scientific research. It would make sense for Iran to rely on these resources at a time when the economy isn’t so great. Iran’s nuclear plants, however, have levels of enriched uranium that are much stronger than what is necessary for Iran to provide its civilians with humanitarian needs, according to findings by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Unfortunately, these nuclear developments are close to reaching weapons capability. The West believes the amount of enriched uranium that Iran possesses suggests that it will attain nuclear weapons very soon.
The IAEA, which is the governing body that regulates nuclear programs across the world, released a report Feb. 21 that found Iran has installed 180 more centrifuges in one of its many power plants at Natanz, which can produce enriched uranium five times as fast. These actions were taken contrary to IAEA wishes, and against the international community’s pressures. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is strongly concerned and is – quite frankly – disturbed by Iran’s secretive behavior towards its nuclear program. Since 2006, the UNSC has passed over five resolutions that implement tough sanctions in attempt to stop Iran’s aggressive actions, yet no progress has been made.
Besides the UN, individual countries have been asking Iran to stop too. The United States, along with multiple European countries, have imposed economic sanctions to pressure Iran to halt its nuclear program. It would be nice if Iran’s people benefitted from this nuclear program, but unfortunately, the Iranian public suffers from the actions of the nuclear program. The sanctions cause deteriorating effects on the economy, but with the Iranian government’s cooperation, this wouldn’t be an issue. Iran’s economic issues could be solved if it adhered to the resolutions by slowing down its nuclear program.
Both genocidal remarks and nuclear proliferation make Iran a serious threat not only to Israel, but also to the United States. Iranian leaders continue to disregard international regulations, which makes for a very hostile situation in the Middle East. It’s a situation from which no one can benefit.
Israel shares many values and democratic policies with the United States. As Americans with interests in maintaining stability in the Middle East, it is important that we continue to support Israel’s right to defend its people against internal and external attack, and to ask Iran to stop its nuclear proliferation program. After these measures are taken, we will be one step closer to achieving coexistence in the Middle East.
-Max Klapholz is a freshman biology major and vice president of political affairs of Huskies for Israel.