Friday, July 08, 2016

From the Archives: 'They won and we blinked' says former Sen. George Allen on Iran deal

Publisher's note: This article was originally published on on September 13, 2015. The publishing platform was discontinued July 1, 2016, and its web site is scheduled to go dark on or about July 10, 2016.  I am republishing this piece in an effort to preserve it and all my other contributions to since April 6, 2010. It is reposted here without most of the internal links that were in the original.

'They won and we blinked' says former Sen. George Allen on Iran deal

Former Virginia Governor and U.S. Senator George Allen spoke in Charlottesville on Saturday, September 12, at the monthly breakfast of the Albemarle County Republican Committee. His message to the gathered activists was one of inclusion, saying that political parties win elections by addition, not subtraction.

Before he delivered his remarks, the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner asked him about some foreign policy matters that are in the news. Allen said that, if he were still in the Senate, he would vote against the proposed deal with Iran on nuclear technology. He also said that the best solution to the refugee crisis in the Middle East is to build a “safe haven” in Syria rather than encourage migrants to come to Europe or the United States.

'Sanctions worked'
One aspect of the agreement with Iran that bothers Allen is the unfreezing of assets.

“One of the things I worked on when I was in the Senate,” he explained, was the issue of people who had been held hostage, injured, and killed by Iran over the years.

Going back to the Carter administration, he said, there were court judgments in favor of those injured parties that could be paid out of frozen Iranian assets in the United States and elsewhere.

“We have all these assets,” Allen said, “and they ought to be able to get their judgments paid out of those assets. Those assets are being released back to [Iran], going back to a regime that's going to use that money to support Hamas and Hezbollah and all sorts of terrorist organizations around the Middle East.”

On the nuclear aspect of the agreement, he said, “People will argue over the verification and so forth of that, and you can argue endlessly. But here's the other point: they are a state sponsor of terror and in five years the arms embargo is off. Then in seven or eight years the ballistic missile sanctions are removed.”

Iran, he said, is “a dangerous force and they can be even more dangerous after this when they can get more arms and they can get more missile technology.”

Acknowledging that the agreement will go forward, Allen said “I hope that I'm wrong but I see no evidence to evince any sort of confidence that this theocracy will change its ways and will only be stronger. In fact,” he added, from Iran's perspective, “they won and we blinked.”

Stated flatly, he concluded: “Sanctions worked. What we ought to do is keep the sanctions on but these other countries” that are party to the agreement “are all capitulating because they want to go [into Iran] to make a little money.”

'Safe haven'
On the matter of the refugee crisis in the Middle East – over four million refugees from Syria are now in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan but the United States has promised to take in just 10,000 – Allen was reluctant to suggest that the United States should commit to receiving more asylum seekers.

“I think the best solution to all of this is to create an area, a safe area, in Syria, maybe along the Jordanian border,” he said, “and just create a safe-haven city so that the folks from Syria don't have to leave their country on risky boats going to Greece.”

That solution, he said, “would be a whole lot less expensive to our government, to the governments of Europe and the world, to create that sort of a situation rather than having them so desperate to live and get food they have to make these risky trips. To me, that's the solution to it rather than creating this diaspora from” Syria in the United States and Europe.

Noting that he understands asylum laws and how they affect refugees from conflict zones, Allen concluded that “to me the solution would have been, and should be, and in fact, can still be, to create a safe haven for them in Syria.”


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