Seventy-four additional senators from both sides of the aisle signed a letter co-authored by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), pressuring President Obama to address Iran's nuclear program. While earlier initiatives called for more sanctions against Iran, this raging congressional tide wants the U.S. to “stress its military option.” While there will always be hawkish conservatives beating the drums of war, this proposal has been gaining bipartisan momentum over the past couple of weeks, culminating in a demand that the White House must take seriously. Hopefully Obama realizes that these battle cries are founded on paranoia and insecurity before the nation gets involved in what would be a devastating conflict.
The senators who support threatening Iran refuse to understand that the situation concerning Iran's supposed nuclear program is vastly different because of Iran's recent regime change. Hassan Rouhani plans to lead Iran down a different path from that of its former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In many ways, Rouhani is an egalitarian. He promises a cabinet comprised of ministers across the political and regional spectrum in Iran in order to end sectarian strife and disharmony between factions. Also, he is committed to openly discussing Iran's nuclear program with the West as long as Iran is treated with decency and respect. Can he be faulted for wanting his countrymen to be dealt with as equals on the international stage? While Ahmadinejad's administration's aggressive, non-apologetic ways seemed to earn Iran increasingly harsher economic sanctions, the country's leaders were not the ones who paid the price. On account of a small group of corrupt extremists, millions of innocent men, women, and children were profoundly affected. The elite Iranians involved with the nuclear program are too affluent to be affected by these sanctions.
These senators threatening for a "military option" ought to be ashamed. How long will the U.S. and other Western powers self-righteously devastate the Middle East over insecurities and suspicions? Instead of considering military action against Iran, the U.S. ought to understand Iran's position, or things could escalate. Rouhani has clearly stated that Iran refuses to dignify threats. The only outcome of this line of action is violence and bloodshed. Harsher economic sanctions would only cause suffering among the innocent and make peaceful discussions less likely. The U.S. ought to capitalize on Iran's new-found willingness to rebuild communications because more could be learned about their nuclear program from diplomacy than from childish threats.