New Castle News

January 17, 2014

Our Opinion: Congressional action against Iran is ill timed and harmful

By Staff
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — We think a war with Iran is something worth avoiding.

After all, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan haven’t gone anything like the scenarios American officials presented. There’s no reason to believe armed conflict will be markedly different with Iran.

Yet Iran presents a danger the United States cannot overlook. That deals mainly with its nuclear program and the possibility that nation could produce nuclear weapons.

A nuclear Iran would be a tremendous destabilizing factor in the Middle East. Not only would this pose a serious threat to Israel — a key American ally — but other nations in the region have absolutely no interest in seeing Iran with a nuclear arsenal.

One of the consequences of this almost certainly would be an effort on the part of Saudi Arabia and possibly other countries to produce their own nuclear arms. It doesn’t take a great deal of imagination to envision what the presence of atomic weapons would mean to an area as inherently unstable as the Middle East.

That’s why recent talks and agreements to open Iran’s nuclear program to international inspection are encouraging. The general goal is to obtain broader agreements that would ensure continued inspections and guarantee Iran is not developing nuclear weapons.

The Tehran government has always insisted its nuclear program is peaceful and intended for energy production. But considering it’s sitting on a lake of crude oil, such a claim has been met with widespread skepticism.

So we are encouraged by the idea that talks with Iran will lead to an easing of tensions that will open its nuclear program and help to return that nation to the international community through a normalization of relations and an easing of international sanctions against it.

But then comes Congress.

Lawmakers of both parties are pushing legislation that actually threatens to increase sanctions against Iran. They present it as a tool designed to encourage the Tehran government to comply with international demands, but the timing could not be worse.

We don’t know if the current talks will produce results. But we do know they appear to be a step in the right direction. We also know the current Iranian regime and its willingness to talk with the West is on shaky ground with radical elements in the country. It can’t afford to be seen as giving in to congressional threats.

Besides, any success from sanctions depend on international efforts. Congress doesn’t have that.

Perhaps there will be conflict with Iran in the future. But if there is a way around it, America and the rest of the world ought to pursue that option. Congress is doing precisely the opposite.