Current Events

Rising Tensions, Tough Questions

During a divisive time in American politics, recent moves by Iran spark alarm among U.S. leaders on both sides of the aisle.

What’s Happening
Why It Matters

Current Events

BIG PICTURE

  • Iran: long considered an adversary of the U.S. and its interests.
  • The U.S. designated Iran a state sponsor of terrorism in 1984; this designation has remained through Republican & Democratic administrations.
  • In addition to other sanctions, this designation restricts foreign aid and enables policies against those supporting or facilitating acts of terror.
Current Events

What’s Happening

  • Iran announced a clear move towards developing nuclear weapons last week despite a 2015 multinational “nuclear deal” that limited their program. European nations remain in the deal; the U.S. withdrew in 2018.
  • Iran seized a South Korean oil tanker last week, holding approx. 20 sailors. Iran accuses South Korea of holding its funds “hostage;” South Korea froze Iran’s assets as part of U.S. sanctions.

 

Current Events

Timing Matters

  • Iran’s nuclear announcement comes a year after America targeted and killed a high-profile Iranian general.
  • Dec. 20: Iranian-backed militia attacked the U.S. embassy in Baghdad: “While this 21 rocket attack caused no U.S. injuries or casualties, the attack did damage buildings in the U.S. Embassy compound, and was clearly NOT intended to avoid casualties.” U.S. CentCom
Current Events

“No one should doubt the resolve of the United States of America.”

Acting Sec. of Defense Chris Miller, Jan. 3, 2021 - announcing the American aircraft carrier USS Nimitz will "halt" its return home only days after announcing the end of the ship's nearly 10-month deployment, citing "recent threats issued by Iranian leaders.” The Associated Press reported the U.S. recently deployed B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf to “caution" the Iranian regime against potential attacks.
Current Events

“A rogue president who sought vengeance against his OWN people has been doing much worse to our people—and others—in the past 4 years. What’s disturbing is that the same man has the UNCHECKED authority to start a nuclear war; a security concern for the entire int’l community.”

Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran Javad Zarif, re: Pres. Trump, on January 7, 2021.
Current Events

What's the way forward? 97-year-old fmr. Sec. of State Henry Kissinger, experienced as a consultant for both Republicans and Democrats, advises the Biden administration to stay the course. Read the article, making news around the world, on our source page.

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Kissinger: Return to Iran deal could spark Middle East nuclear arms race: READ MORE

“We should not fool ourselves,” the 97-year-old diplomat, consultant and author said. “I don’t believe that the spirit [of the Iran deal], with a time limit and so many escape clauses, will do anything other than bring nuclear weapons all over the Middle East and therefore create a situation of latent tension that sooner or later will break out.”
The current leaders in Iran “don’t seem to find it possible to give up this combination of Islamist imperialism and threat,” Kissinger said. “The test case is the evolution of nuclear capacities in Iran, if these can be avoided.”
“I do not say we shouldn’t talk to them,” he added.
Dennis Ross, a former adviser to presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, interviewed Kissinger at the JPPI farewell event for its founding director, Avinoam Bar-Yosef.

Good overview of the latest news: READ MORE

A list of the U.S. designated state sponsors of terror: READ MORE

Rocket Attack: Dec. 20, 2020

USS Nimitz 

Associated Press report: B52 Bombers