Link Round-Up 7/12/2014 »« Culture is the Problem

Marco Rubio’s Incredibly Asinine Iran Sanction Proposal

Well, guys, it’s clear, Marco Rubio and this other senator better never talk about Iran ever because it’s apparent that their knowledge about it is worthless. Take a look (Via The Hill):

Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced a bill Thursday that would impose sanctions against Iranian leaders who violate human rights.

“The U.S. should strongly support the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people, and stand against ongoing systemic human rights violations by the Iranian regime,” Rubio said. “This legislation would take significant steps to require President Obama to hold Iranian leaders and individuals accountable for all human rights violations they have directed.”

S. 2585, the Iran Human Rights Accountability Act, would designate Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani and other top Iranian leaders as human rights violators. It also freezes their assets and bans them from using travel visas.

So why this proposal is incredibly stupid?

1) Iranian people have made their democratic aspiration very clear again and again, and they support reformists. Rouhani is a symbol of those democratic aspirations. This only represents the aspirations of a small minority among the Iranian opposition, who are mostly Iranian-Americans, completely oblivious to the realities of Iran. They have been asking people to boycott elections and people have been turning up for election in 60+%, and they only boycotted one election (2011 Parliamentary) because they were asked by – wait for it – reformist leaders Mousavi and Karroubi. So, in this ant-Iranian people bill, it’s pretty cheeky of them to stick it to Iranian people and act as if it’s in their interest.

2) Iranian people have made it pretty clear that they want the relationship of the country with the West to improve. This bill will harm the already fragile reconciliation process that is half-assedly under progress. So, again, against people’s aspirations.

3) Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei never steps outside Iran. He rarely steps outside Tehran (he visits Mashhad every year abut his travels to any other place is very rare). He doesn’t have any assets outside Iran in his own name. This sanction will not harm him a single bit.

4) Seriously, Rouhani? In what alternate universe he is a human rights violator? You might be able to say he hasn’t done much about human rights violations (which is false, he has done as much as he can and is under his power), but violation? Come on. This is just showing a middle finger to Iranians who elected Rouhani with so much hardship.

5) If you want to help human rights in Iran, you have to make Iran and USA friends, not enemies. Seriously, improving relations will empower the moderates and the reformists, who will in turn reform the human rights situation with a freer hand, and it will improve the economy, which reduces the cost of human rights activism, and it will make travelling between two countries easier, again a help for human rights activists. So by trying to make the relationship worse, Rubio is actually harming the human rights situation.

6) This will also damage nuclear talks which will be a disaster for Iranian people.

Hey, it’s said that Rubio wants to run for president. In foreign policy it seems his head is firmly up his ass. I wonder what this says about his qualification.

Comments

  1. says

    Rubio’s position is more of that American narcissism. It has nothing to do with Iran and everything to do with the image of Iran which exists in some Americans’ heads, specifically the ignorant and crazy Americans who make up the base of the Republican party.

    Republicans need a bogeyman, an external threat to mobilize their constituents, especially if they can claim that President Obama is not doing enough to counter that threat. For years Iran, because of its nuclear-weapons program, served as one such bogeyman. The threat was real — nuclear weapons in the hands of people like Khamenei and Ahmadinejad would have been genuinely dangerous.

    Rouhani’s opening to the world and Obama’s acceptance of it to negotiate present the Republicans with a problem (where normal people would be sighing with relief). They don’t want peace or reduced tensions, they want a bogeyman to scare Americans with. They’ve repeatedly tried to sabotage the reconciliation between the US and Iran. They don’t care at all what Rouhani is actually doing or intends to do. The point is to restore enmity.

    (I imagine that some of the religious hard-liners in Iran similarly want to make the US an enemy again in the eyes of Iranians, for analogous reasons, and would also like to sabotage the reconciliation.)

    The proposal only seems stupid if you assume Rubio wants to help Iranian victims of human rights violations or reduce the nuclear threat. He doesn’t care about either of those things. This is all about American internal politics.

    As for Rubio — or any Republican — becoming President, that would be very dangerous. This proposal is a good example of why.

  2. Hoosier X says

    Hey, it’s said that Rubio wants to run for president. In foreign policy it seems his head is firmly up his ass. I wonder what this says about his qualification.

    It says he is perfectly qualified for the GOP nomination.

  3. Nick Gotts says

    They don’t care at all what Rouhani is actually doing or intends to do. – Infidel753

    Actually, I’m not sure this is so. The real problem the American elite have had with Iran ever since the Islamic revolution has not been the (very real) human rights violations carried out by the regime, but its insistence on acting as if Iran were an independent state. A democratic Iran would still be liable to do this, and might still be hostile to Israel and at odds with Saudi Arabia; but attempts to sabotage its economy and technological development would be much less easy to justify.

  4. Kevin Kehres says

    It’s just a right-wing dog whistle. There is precisely and exactly zero chance that this proposal goes anywhere beyond the stage where it’s at.

    Rubio is just sticking to the script. Iran=bad. Obama=bad. Obama “coddling” Iran = impeachable offense.

    It’s theater. Nothing more.

    But thank you for continuing to provide us with reality-based commentary.

  5. colnago80 says

    I am afraid that Kaveh is going to have to understand that a great many Americans are still carrying a grudge over the takeover of the US Embassy in Tehran. This grudge transcends political and ideological boundaries. The Ayatollahs don’t help their cause with their threats to remove the State of Israel from the map, particularly as support for Israel is very high here (>60% favorable).

    However, Rubio and other Rethuglicans are, to a great extent pandering to Sheldon Adelson, a gambling impresario who made most of his billions in casinos in Las Vegas and the Far East. Adelson is willing to spend almost any amount of money to elect a Rethuglican president.

    It should also be pointed out that many of the Iranian exiles you refer to are members of Rabbi David Wolpe’s congregation in Beverly Hills, Ca. who aren’t worried about where their next meal is coming from and who have a hardon against the Ayatollahs who they feel forced them out of the country.

  6. colnago80 says

    Re Nick Gotts @ #3

    Actually, animosity against Israel in considerably lower in Iran amongst the population then it is in most other Muslim states. It’s the ayatollahs and the thugs in the Revolutionary Guards who vie with each other to see who can present himself as the most anti-Israel individual.

  7. Juergista says

    “Iranian people have made their democratic aspiration very clear again and again, and they support reformists.” you get to be kidding me, 800 executions during Rouhani’s time which is more than the period of Ahmadinejad.

    Rouhani = Colt and Cake = Iran-Contra

    I am Iranian, and I fully support Senator Rubio’s bill, 100%, and please before you all go accusing me for warmongering, know this “The war against the Iranian people and their democratic aspirations began three decades ago and i s still going on.”

    No to War, No to Appeasement, Yes to international support for a democratic change in Iran by the People for a government of the people.

    • Kaveh Mousavi says

      “you get to be kidding me, 800 executions during Rouhani’s time which is more than the period of Ahmadinejad.”

      And what is Rouhani’s role in those executions? Did he arrest them, convicted them, or signed the execution orders? I’m sure you know that all of this is completely outside his jurisdiction.

      Are you inside Iran or outside it?

      And what you support leads to war, whether you want to or not. If there is no reconciliation, war happens sooner or later.

      Of course, like all anti-reformist opposition, your comment is filled with slogans, and void of any real practical solutions.

  8. Mary Coleman says

    It seems that many comments on this article consider human rights “irrelevant” and I think it demonstrates pretty clearly you’re shilling all in for Iran regardless of what is right or wrong. Making ethical and moral choices may be irrelevant and inconvenient to you, but there is a very real human toll being paid by a large swath of Iran’s citizens right now. I’d be HAPPY to see a deal if it removed Iran’s centrifuges, allowed for open and in-depth inspection by appropriate international authorities and put Iran on a path towards liberalized democracy. If you are against any or all of those things happening sometime in the future then we can only assume what your true motivations are in regards to Iran.

    • Kaveh Mousavi says

      It seems you didn’t bother to read the original post.

      “If you want to help human rights in Iran, you have to make Iran and USA friends, not enemies. Seriously, improving relations will empower the moderates and the reformists, who will in turn reform the human rights situation with a freer hand, and it will improve the economy, which reduces the cost of human rights activism, and it will make travelling between two countries easier, again a help for human rights activists. So by trying to make the relationship worse, Rubio is actually harming the human rights situation.”

      Sanctions and bad relations with the world has never helped Iran advance its human rights and it never will.

      • colnago80 says

        Human rights in Iran are all very well but, as we sit here today, they really must take a back seat to preventing the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran. Once that’s accomplished, we can start talking about normalization of relations and human rights.

        • Albert Bakker says

          So what acquisition of nuclear weapons are you talking about? Someone should probably inform IAEA, they might be able to do something with this information. And at what point, if there isn’t actually any attempt to acquire nuclear weapons, will this prevention of acquisition of nuclear weapons be accomplished? I can probably guess the answer to that question since we do have precedence of these cautious prevention policies, likewise aided by international inspection bodies and their unassailable know-how, once it was accomplished that Saddam Hussein had been prevented from having stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction with which to attack Tony Blair within the hour, sanctions were lifted and the human rights situation was thereafter quickly normalized.

    • atheist says

      @Mary Coleman – July 11, 2014 at 9:25 pm (UTC 0)

      It seems that many comments on this article consider human rights “irrelevant” and I think it demonstrates pretty clearly you’re shilling all in for Iran regardless of what is right or wrong. Making ethical and moral choices may be irrelevant and inconvenient to you, but there is a very real human toll being paid by a large swath of Iran’s citizens right now.

      It is difficult for me to know what to make of your comment, and so I am going to be charitable and assume you are naive. It is not that human rights are irrelevant in Iran, it is that, first, “Human Rights” are often used as a pretext for less savory agendas. In the example given, Senators Kirk and Rubio are not actually trying to improve human rights in Iran. Rather, they are trying to damage the diplomacy that is occurring between Iran and the P5+1 (the “Joint Plan of Action“). Part of this diplomacy concerns the lifting of economic sanctions from Iran, and Kirk & Rubio are trying to torpedo this for reasons that have nothing to do with Human Rights.

      There is an additional point beyond this: Westerners and especially Americans seem to believe that they can control other nations, altering foreign governments’ and tribes’ policies, by fiat. This is not always the case, and even when the West does do this there is often blowback later. This belief of Westerners that they control the world is dangerous & delusional.

  9. abear says

    If Rubio and his friends were Iranian he would be one of the “hardliners” behind the Revolutionary Guard or the Quds Force.
    That, and he needs to throw out some raw meat to the knuckledragger faction of the Republican Party, which unfortunately seems to be the majority of the GOP, to shore up his tough guy credentials.

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