Why Rand Paul ought to change his stance on Iran

One of many leaders of the Iranian activists with whom I work requested me who was the lone Republican senator to dam Senate Decision 47. The decision reaffirmed American help “for the Iranian residents who’ve taken to the streets in peaceable protest for his or her basic human rights, and [condemned] the Iranian safety forces for his or her violent response.” It known as for “the worldwide group to talk out in opposition to the Iranian regime’s human rights violations, and [urged] continued efforts to carry these violators accountable together with via further coordinated sanctions.”

The Senate Overseas Relations Committee and the Home Overseas Affairs Committee permitted this bipartisan decision. That’s no small feat in right this moment’s age of political polarization. The decision known as for no American boots on the bottom, solely a dedication to face by our beliefs in help of individuals craving for his or her freedom in opposition to a regime that has been our nemesis for 43 years.

So, who could possibly be in opposition to one thing that helps the rights of people that have been intimidated, tortured, raped and executed by a authorities whose basic nature and insurance policies are anti-American? The reply is Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), my fellow ophthalmologist. My colleagues inform me he is a wonderful physician.

As a senator, Paul could infuriate Republicans and Democrats alike when he thwarts the need of bipartisan majorities on overseas help, however he’s constant along with his stances. Whether or not he’s blocking help to Israel or Egypt, or hindering Senate actions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Paul attracts consideration to himself in a campaign that, to many, is just about isolationism. As Senate Minority Chief Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has stated, “My colleague, Sen. Paul, has at all times been principally an isolationist. He’s happy with it and believes that’s the place America should be.”  

Paul opposed 49 fellow Republicans in March when he stated, “Condemning a [nuclear] deal that isn’t but formulated is akin to condemning diplomacy itself.” Nevertheless, the Biden administration was not renegotiating an settlement — it needed a return to the identical Iran nuclear deal, and Paul voted in opposition to that Joint Complete Plan of Motion (JCPOA) in 2015. But, we could discover some settlement in difficult the knowledge of withdrawing from the deal. I believed on the time that withdrawing from the JCPOA was a mistake with no “Plan B.” Paul evidently thought the settlement was working effectively, regardless of proof that Iran was dishonest on its provisions.  

Paul needs to cease help to nations equivalent to Egypt for human rights abuses, but he apparently doesn’t thoughts enriching Iran with a trillion {dollars} in sanctions aid by returning to the JCPOA. Isn’t he troubled by the contradiction, since Iran is a number one state sponsor of terror and its IRGC has the blood of a whole bunch of American troopers on its palms? I might ask him to revisit his understanding of the Islamic Republic of Iran, an unrepentant revolutionary theocracy. Its basic mission of Twelver Shia Islamic energy justifies the human rights abuses of their individuals. I would like America to be on the facet of freedom.  

Past the JCPOA, Paul voted in opposition to 98 Democratic and Republican senators for laws to sanction Iran for its non-nuclear work on ballistic missiles and unlawful arms transfers to and from Iran. “By a vote of 98-2, the Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Actions Act of 2017 impose[d] new obligatory sanctions in opposition to individuals and entities concerned in Iran’s ballistic missile program and sanctions in opposition to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards” and mandated “the president to dam belongings of any individual or entity concerned within the provide, sale or switch of unlawful arms to or from Iran.” 

So, is Rand Paul “a grandstanding obstructionist whose chief pleasure appears to be blocking the few payments on which there’s broad settlement,” as described by the conservative Weekly Commonplace in 2018, utilizing the advocacy of diplomacy as a curtain to cover his isolationism? Or is he merely a libertarian, appalled by America’s spendthrift methods and the giving of our help to oppressive regimes? Some assume he’s a chip off the outdated block, since his father, former congressman Ron Paul, held related beliefs concerning overseas coverage. Rand Paul’s stance is extra nuanced than his father’s, however his vote in opposition to supporting Iran’s protestors is tough to know. Solely Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) voted with Paul to not sanction Iran for its missiles and unlawful arms. 

Does Paul imagine {that a} world the place we withdraw and create an influence vacuum crammed by China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin is safer for our youngsters? America is safer and extra affluent after we interact on this planet and lead with the ability of our beliefs. One of the best ways to keep away from conflict, when coping with adversaries, is to point out energy. Paul stated it himself in his temporary 2016 presidential marketing campaign: “Peace via energy solely works you probably have and present energy.”  

I might ask Sen. Paul to please rethink his stand concerning the Iranian protesters. Most regime adjustments happen nonviolently. Let’s not be on the facet of oppression — let’s lead with humility and energy. 

As Ronald Reagan stated, “It’s time for us to appreciate that we’re too nice a nation to restrict ourselves to small desires. … The years forward shall be nice for our nation, for the reason for freedom and the unfold of civilization.” These are phrases that ought to encourage the Iranian individuals and so they’re phrases that make me proud to be an American.

Dr. Eric R. Mandel is the director of MEPIN, the Center East Political Data Community. He usually briefs members of Congress and their overseas coverage aides. He’s the senior safety editor for the Jerusalem Report. Comply with him on Twitter @MepinOrg.