Pro-Tehran lobbying group pressing Congress to repeal ballistic missile ban
The pro-Iranian group, the National American Iranian Council (NIAC), is pressing Congress to get the UN to repeal its ban on Iran stockpiling weapons, including ballistic missiles.
NIAC is suspected of being little better than a mouthpiece for the mullahs in Iran and their call to end the UN arms embargo echoes that of Iranian negotiators in the nuclear arms talks.
Basically, the fear is that Iran could purchase the parts and technology to improve their ballistic missile program that can already hit targets throughout the Middle East - including Israel.
“NIAC is the same group that lobbies Congress to defund human rights and democracy promotion programs in Iran for fear of undermining the mullahs,” said one former senior Senate aide with intimate knowledge of Iran sanctions. “What the Iran lobby doesn’t want you to know is that UN Security Council sanctions are directly tied to the dismantlement of Iran’s ballistic missile program—a key element being excused from the P5+1 agreement.”
One senior congressional aide familiar with efforts to sanction Iran said NIAC is widely viewed as Tehran’s in-house lobbying shop.
“NIAC has absolutely no credibility on Capitol Hill, where that organization is viewed as a de facto lobbyist for the Iranian regime,” said the senior congressional staffer.
“To cite the latest example, for many months NIAC has opposed the inclusion of ballistic missile limitations or anything else non-nuclear in the negotiations with Iran, yet today NIAC sent an email to congressional staff that actually backs up the Iranian regime’s ridiculous, last-second demand that the United Nations drop its non-nuclear arms embargo on Iran,” the source said.
Elliott Abrams, a deputy national security adviser for George W. Bush, said the Iranian arms embargo will become even more critical in future years.
“The arms embargo on Iran is even more critical today than when it was imposed in 2007 in UN Security Council Resolution 1747,” Abrams explained. “Since then Iran has helped kill or maim thousands of Americans in Iraq, has sent more and more arms to Hezbollah and the Assad regime in Syria, has intervened in Yemen, and now has an expeditionary force of Revolutionary Guard troops fighting in Iraq and Syria.”
“To end the arms embargo now would be throwing gasoline in a fire: the flames would spread. It is dangerous and absolutely against U.S. national security interests to lift the arms embargo on Iran,” Abrams said.
One Western source present in Vienna and apprised of the talks cast doubt on NIAC’s legal analysis concluding that the arms embargo was only aimed at Iran’s nuclear program.
Indeed, the goal of the embargo was to prevent Iran from sending heavy weapons to Hezb'allah and other terrorist groups, not curtail its nuke program, although it's a side benefit to prevent Iran from improving its missile technology.
The embargo seems to be one of the sticking points at the nuclear talks in Vienna. This is surprising given how much we've already given in to Tehran's demands. We've already made it possible for them to build a nuclear weapon. What's the big deal about an arms embargo?
Given what we've already conceded, it seems logical to assume that we'll give in on the embargo too. Despite talk that we may walk away from the negotiations, it seems likely that some kind of deal will be struck this weekend.