Amb. Kenneth Blackwell-file photo

MEK_Iran: Ambassador Blackwell: We must get tougher on Iran

 

Amb. Kenneth Blackwell-file photo

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations,
BlackPast
John Kenneth Blackwell who served as the mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio (1979–80)

The Iranian regime’s foreign policy has increased in its brazenness, with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) attacking or seizing commercial vessels in the Gulf, bombing Saudi oil infrastructure, and continuing its aggressive policies in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, but Professor Ken Blackwell warns that the US should not decrease pressure on the mullahs.

He wrote: “The regime’s recent actions cannot simply be interpreted as a response to rising levels of pressure from the US. Its abuses both at home and abroad have been getting worse for quite some time. And they have done so not because of newfound foreign pressure but because of the predictable absence thereof.”

In his op-ed for Townhall, he quoted the head of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI),  Maryam Rajavi, as saying that the impunity enjoyed by the regime’s leaders have resulted in emboldening them to export terrorism and warmongering.

The regime’s crimes have been overlooked in favor of appeasement for four decades now, the most heinous of which was the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners who refused to disavow the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), the main Iranian opposition. The massacre was the subject of an extensive exhibition at the NCRI’s international conference in July, where Rajavi noted that even after they brought this evidence to the West, they remained silent.

Blackwell wrote: “America is known to be the foremost defender of human rights around the world and has taken on the scourge of terrorism head-on. Human rights abuses and terrorism are the two pillars of the clerical regime’s strategy for survival… As long as Tehran is not held directly accountable for more than 30,000 deaths, the regime will be emboldened to carry out more violations with impunity. Why would Tehran see any reason to scale back its malign activities, unless the US leads the way by making it clear that its standards for regime behavior have changed?”

He advised that the only way to do this is by holding the regime accountable for its past crimes and bringing those responsible to justice. They must be shown that their actions have consequences. He further noted that while the “maximum pressure” policy is a step in the right direction, economic sanctions are not enough on their own. Instead, the regime’s crimes must be referred to the UN Security Council.

Blackwell wrote: “A proper investigation of the massacre will undoubtedly lead to a conviction in the International Criminal Court for a number of high-ranking Iranian officials, including the current Justice Minister and the current judiciary chief. The US should clearly send a message that Iranian officials are not immune from their wrongdoing. The Iranian people will see that the world supports them as never before and will rise up to demand, once and for all, a new, democratic government. The American administration needs to bring Tehran’s human rights violations into focus to force the regime to rethink its aggression.”

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