It should be a broad, multidimensional strategy that includes, among other things, Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, regional interventions, terrorist-related activities and human rights abuses. This comprehensive strategy emphasizes the use of soft power and prevents a war with Iran.
The ballistic missile program, which is a pillar of Iran’s foreign policy and is directly linked to the nuclear program, should be restricted and part of any nuclear deal. States should urge the UN Security Council (UNSC) to impose sanctions on Tehran if it continues to test-fire ballistic missiles, in violation of UNSC Resolution 2231.
The resolution “calls upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.” It has fired more than 10 ballistic missiles since the nuclear deal.
An effective policy recommendation would be to make any agreements with Iran contingent on respecting human rights and freedoms, as well as a full moratorium on the death penalty for children. Iran is the world’s leading executioner per capita.
Governments should impose political and economic sanctions against Iranian officials who are responsible for human rights violations, just as the US previously did against affiliates of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which Washington recently designated a terrorist organization. More importantly, the international community should bring to justice those who committed the 1988 massacre of thousands of political prisoners in Iran.
Countering Tehran does not mean going to war with it. It means change from within by relying on the Iranian people and the organized opposition.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh
Countering Tehran does not mean going to war with it. It means change from within by relying on the Iranian people and the organized opposition. Officially and publicly supporting them would be the strongest blow to the mullahs’ rule, which is an aberration. Tehran fears this soft power more than regional and global hard power.
In addition, the US should create a united front with regional powers to counter Tehran’s hegemonic ambitions. Many countries in the region would welcome this initiative.
Iran’s military sites should be inspected as part of the nuclear deal. The current agreement paves the way for Iran to obtain nuclear weapons, as there is no efficient enforcement or monitoring mechanism. In addition, the deal’s sunset clauses, which lifts restrictions on the nuclear program after 14 years, should be removed. There should also be inspectors from various countries, not just from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Tehran has been able to expand its influence so remarkably and repress its own people via a multidimensional policy. Thus a multidimensional counterstrategy is required.
• Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a Harvard-educated, Iranian-American political scientist. He is a leading expert on Iran and US foreign policy, a businessman and president of
the International American Council. He serves on the boards of the Harvard International Review, the Harvard International Relations Council and the US-Middle East Chamber for Commerce and Business. Twitter @Dr_Rafizadeh