“I think the reason we’re all here is to highlight the threat to world order posed by the current Iranian government and its actions and its threat to peace and stability in the world,” said General James Jones. Former national security adviser of President Obama spoke in Brussels on January 25 in a transatlantic conference on “Camp Ashraf and policy on Iran.”
The following are excerpts from his speech:
I’d like to thank the organizers for including me and finding me worthy to be here.
I would like to thank everyone here at the audience for your passion and your commitment to one of the world’s biggest challenges and in many cases the courage and the sacrifice that many of you have made towards this tremendously worthwhile goal.
I think the reason that we are all here is to underscore the threat to the global world order posed by the current Iranian government and its actions, and its threat to peace and stability in the world and not just the region, I mean the world, and to the human rights, the threat to human rights and opportunities for a better life that is rightly a privilege of all Iranians and those who are held hostages in Iranian jails today, including three innocent Americans and anyone who suffers under the Iranian tyranny.
The president of the United States, president Obama, as in my personal view, has articulated US aspirations and goal for how the Unites States hopes to interact with all other nations, and he did so in 2009 in, really, three major speeches.
Now the first obviously was his inaugural address on January 20 in 2009, the next one was in Cairo later that year and the third one was when he accepted the Nobel peace prize again still later. All three of these policy statements offered the opportunity for a new beginning based on human dignity, respect for other cultures, religious freedom and the rights of all men and women to be free.
The fourth presidential statement was also important and I think I should mention and reemphasize the importance of that statement. And I quote, President of the United States saying affirmatively: “we will prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons capable state”. This one is today’s basis of foreign American policy with regards to Iran’s nuclear program and we are committed to the success of the journey and not only for our own national security but for the international security of the world.
This is not a backyard problem, Iran is not simply a local problem, it is not even a regional problem anymore, as was said several times before and I associate myself with that description. This is a global problem. And we must think about it and we must believe the following: a nuclear capable Iran is bad enough for the world to contemplate for many obvious reasons, but worse than that is that it will certainly trigger a nuclear arms race among the other countries in the region and still worse than that Iran could export, if it acquires the technology, that technology to terrorists and their subsidiaries, and when that happens the world as we know it will be changed so the moment is historic for all of us because that change will not be good.
What has been done today is not insignificant; allow me to mention a few things.
First the United States as a matter of policy has asserted its role of leadership on the need to reverse the proliferation of nuclear weapons and has successfully engaged with Russia to pass the start treaty ratification. In December it has also led a very successful international conference designed to highlight the threat of the spread of nuclear weapons and clearly and patiently gave the Iranian government a chance to reveal its true intentions by its activities not just by its words.
Over the past two years we have engaged an overt and covert messaging to try to see whether the possibility of logic and reason could prevail. Every new nation’s administration deserves an opportunity to test the global waters for a while and in the face of a little evidence that Iran has any intent to alter its nuclear weapon development program, the United States, both led and participated, in the world adopting the most far reaching sanctions perhaps ever imposed on a single nation. The significant participation of Russia, China and of course European Union, the full impact of these sanctions is being felt, the full impact will not be felt for some time to come.
Now, Iran’s actions have thus far created probably some unintended consequences for them. And their continued miscalculations will result in the following: The first is a US, Russian and Chinese alignment, the lights of which no one could have forecast just a year ago or two years ago. In fact the Russians cancelled a sale of weapons of 200 missiles to Iran, who would have thought that would be possible just a few short months ago.
Second the US, European and Arab solidarity on this particular issue has increased dramatically. In Iran, for reasons that only they could explain and no one else could accept, has just delivered major insult to Turkey in Istanbul. Turkey, the only major country, other than Brazil, to believe in the Iranian intensions in 2010, mistakenly so.
In short Iran is now more isolated than ever, but sadly, as the regime tries to survive, it’s the Iranian people who suffer even more. In the last few days, three executions of men whose only crime was the passion to be free, to be with their families and to visit their relatives in camp Ashraf.
The Iranian people are not alone in suffering in the hands of this regime. Going back to Khobar Towers, the support to Hamas and Hezbollah, attacks in Israel and elsewhere in the Middle East, many deaths of US and coalitions forces in Iraq come as a result of Iranian technology and weapons. Hostages taking as a terror tactic continues today. The legitimate concerns of all people in camp Ashraf, and the Iraqi pledges to the United States for their safety and security, needs to be recognized and revitalized. It has been said the time is running out for us with regard to Iran but let me suggest the time is running out for Iran’s government as well.
The global community has sent its message. In Istanbul it was rejected by Iran, sanctions are but one of many ways to cause change in the Iranian behavior. Suffering of the Iranian people cannot continue. The US will continue to pay close attention and to engage on all aspects of this issue from Human Rights to achieving peaceful use of nuclear energy that is the legitimate right of all nations.
So this is the path to follow if we are to look at our children in the eyes, and our grandchildren who someday will surely ask us the question of what it was we stood for and what it was we did in 2011, when we had the opportunity to make the world a better and safer place. So let us work together so that we can give them the answer they deserve because here, and on this subject and with this government failure is most certainly not an option.