Column: U.S. needs to stand up to Iran
When Sen. Debbie Stabenow joined 41 of her Democratic Senate colleagues to vote for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, more commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, back in 2015, they made a catastrophic foreign policy mistake that has left the U.S, Israel, and the international community at large much less secure.
As recently as July 27, their mistake once again became painfully obvious when Iran conducted a successful launch of a long-range missile into space: such a blatant pretext for continued advancement of its ICBM program, you’d have to be completely naive not to realize it. But, given the terms of the deal negotiated under President Obama, this type of activity isn’t a violation of the nuclear deal.
Iran is free to continue testing and perfecting its nuclear delivery systems, just as long as it doesn’t enrich uranium or plutonium to dangerous levels. This is not what I consider a comprehensive plan to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of the world’s most prolific state sponsor of terror, the same state that has explicitly called for the annihilation of the state of Israel.
As a result of the deal, Iran has experienced a windfall of cash flowing into its coffers. With sanctions eased and foreign assets unfrozen, Iran has had an influx of over $100 billion, which it has used to double down on terrorist activities, and dramatically expand its military budget.
The consequences can be felt throughout the already unstable Middle East as Iran provides support to Hamas and Hezbollah, and actively works to further destabilize Syria by sending thousands of its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to support Bashar al-Assad’s brutal regime that has slaughtered and displaced millions of Syrians. U.S. policy has essentially bolstered Iran’s ability to carry out these terrorist activities and threaten American interests in the region, including putting American service members, stationed in the Middle East, at risk.
This cannot continue. A nuclear-armed Iran poses an existential threat to one of our closest allies, Israel, and puts American security in jeopardy. Both of our U.S. senators here in Michigan — Stabenow and Gary Peters — voted in favor of this reprehensible deal.
Stabenow’s vote on the Iran deal is one of the key factors that spurred me, an American, a Jewish woman, and a staunch supporter of Israel, to enter the U.S. Senate race and take her on next November. A member of Congress is no friend of Israel if he or she doesn’t vote in our close ally’s best interest when it counts the most — when there is a deal on the table that puts the Jewish state’s very existence in danger.
The American people opposed the Iran deal by a 2 to 1 margin, and yet we’re in this perilous situation because Stabenow pushed it through anyway. We can’t keep sending the same people back to Washington and expect different results.
We need elected officials who support Israel because it’s a moral obligation, not because it’s politically expedient.
Lena Epstein is the third-generation owner and general manager of Southfield-based Vesco Oil Corp.