Sponsored by the United Nations, America is one of several nations who are preparing to lift their sanctions on Iran. In preparation for the United States to do so, President Obama commended the Islamic Republic during his final State of the Union address Tuesday night for the shipping away of their enriched nuclear stockpiles. He did not mention that they were shipped to one of their sole allies, Russia. Nor did he mention that on Tuesday, 10 U.S. sailors were detained by Iran. Like parenting a delinquent child, this is not the type of behavior that deserves a reward and therefore, lifting sanctions would be a huge mistake.
Not just President Obama though, on Tuesday, January 12, it was also widely reported by the mainstream press that Iran had begun moving towards the implementation of the nuclear deal it reached at the last P5+1 meeting. In exchange for the lifting of various economically crippling sanctions, Tehran had agreed to dismantle its plutonium reactor, reduce its capacity for and stockpile of enriched nuclear material, as well as setting a greater transparency into its energy program for United Nations weapons inspectors such as the IAEA.
However, not only the United States of America, but for Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany as well to carry out their half of the Iran nuclear deal by lifting previously placed economic sanctions, now would be the wrong time. From their currently frozen assets, Iran is looking to receive $50 billion to $100 billion mostly in overseas oil sales which would be used not for the benefit of the Islamic Republic’s middle-class citizens but to purchase weapons equipment for the Revolutionary Guard. And while the president failed to mention this in his State of the Union address, this is mainly what is causing flags to be drawn.
Throughout December of 2015 and into the first weeks of January 2016, the United States had accused the Islamic Republic of test firing two medium range ballistic missiles near U.S. vessels docked on or operating in the Strait of Hormuz. On January 5, Iranian state-run television flaunted the unveiling of an underground “missile depot” according to a report in Reuters. The U.S. said that the same missiles had the capability of carrying nuclear warheads. Various parties of Congress had suggested that instead of heeding the Iran nuclear deal, fresh economic sanctions should be placed on Tehran for the erstwhile mentioned and other similar incidents. But on Tuesday, January 12, with the capturing of 10 U.S. sailors, matters got much worse.
Before it even hit Twitter, Fox News reported the incident. American soldiers just “wandered into their waters is what the Iranians are saying,” said Neil Cavuto of Fox News. The Iranians immediately said that the nine American men and one American woman would be released but that their two vessels would be indefinitely kept there. Other reports said that the soldiers, upon release, would be returned onto their vessels.
The soldiers, according to a Pentagon official, were traveling in the Persian Gulf from Bahrain to Kuwait when they were pulled over. It was later reported that the boats were actually on a training mission. Then, one of them [boats], according to a Pentagon spokesperson, had experienced a mechanical problem and this caused the vessel to drift into enemy vicinity.
Iran maintained that international borders had been breached by the two small vessels. The Daily Caller reported that the two boats were within “12 nautical miles” but not actually inside of Iranian territory. The American military claimed, however, that the route in the gulf between Bahrain and Kuwait was nowhere near Iranian borders and that indeed the operation had been premeditated by the Revolutionary Guard who boasted on their own state-run television, Fars News Agency, that the sailors were being held hostage and that they had been “arrested.” The sailors were locked in prison on Farsi Island and made to spend the night in Iranian territory. Their GPS devices were apprehended by the Iranian forces.
The American soldiers were held, according to Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) “incommunicado” and not allowed to reach their counterparts in Bahrain. So how is this incident not to be considered hostile? And how can this hostile government be trusted and rewarded with the lifting of sanctions?
The argument which the left could make is that the missile tests and the captured soldiers had nothing to do with the nuclear arrangement and that they are different issues. But such rhetoric and thinking would be foolish. As previously stated, the $50 billion to $100 billion of frozen oil revenue assets would only be spent on the same hostile military force as captured the sailors rather than attempted to help them and repair their boat. The issues are not different but one and the same.