To their credit, a trio of Republicans spoke out about the fraudulent election in Iran. On the Senate floor, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) declared, “On Friday, the people of Iran head to the polls to make a false choice. They will be forced to select not the candidate of their choice, but from those chosen for them by the Supreme Ali Khamenei, who are guaranteed to continue the Supreme Leader’s policies of political and religious oppression and pursuit of nuclear capability at all costs.” The speech is worth listening to in full.
He is plainly under no illusion that containment is possible with a radical, theocratic dictatorship. That is someone with a firm grip on reality.
Likewise, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen issued a statement:
Today’s election in Iran was anything but free, fair and transparent. Elections aren’t fair when half of the country’s population is automatically disqualified because they are the wrong gender. They aren’t free when they are restricted to only the candidates that the Supreme Leader Khamenei and his Guardian Council hand pick. And they certainly aren’t transparent when the body in charge of selecting the candidates and certifying the election results is an unelected clerical body, unresponsive to the people of Iran and mostly handpicked by Khamenei himself. The Guardian Council is accountable to no one but the Ayatollah, and acts with no clearly defined set of guidelines or criteria for selecting the candidates.
This whole thing was rigged from the get-go. . . . The same economic, political and social impediments will continue to haunt the people of Iran and the international community will still be faced with the same obstacles as before the election – an Iran intent on being nuclear weapons capable and Tehran propping up Hezbollah and the Assad regime in Syria.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) issued a similar statement.
All of these Republicans grasp what the left and isolationist right seem not to understand: the nature of the regime should inform our assessment of its international aims and actions. A regime such as the one Cruz and Ros-Lehtinen describe is not interested in “joining the family of nations.” It does not take into account the suffering of its people in deciding to pursue nuclear weapons.
Those who imagine that all that stands between peace in our time is a piece of paper or “mistrust” are missing the Iranian elephant in the room. Moreover, by disclaiming interest in helping Syrian rebels against the Iran-Russia-Syria military onslaught and by talking down a military option (which includes keeping “containment” as a viable option), they convey to the Iranians that the United States is gullible and in search of excuses not to act.
It would help sharpen the debate and benefit the public if these three and others like them take issue with pronouncements that are at odds with reality and our national security. So when Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) suggests use of preemptive force may be inconsistent with Christianity (“I simply can’t imagine Jesus at the head of any army of soldiers and I think as Christians we need to be wary of the doctrine of preemptive war”) or when the bipartisan Iran Project urges that we ease up on sanctions and sit down for a bilateral chat with the mullahs, these three lawmakers should explain why these pronouncements are entirely wrong-headed.
The trio of statements I cite above indicate that at least these — Rubio, Ros-Lehtinen and Cruz — get it; now they need to engage opponents on the right and left.