Rick Santorum: Trump Is Right on Sanctions. Iran's Largest Export Is Terrorism | Opinion

The horrific shooting at the Pittsburgh synagogue marks just the latest chapter in a long history of attacks upon the Jewish people and their religion. Sometimes, these anti-Semitic assaults occur by individuals, but far too often, they are caused or fueled by rogue nations like Iran. That’s why it’s imperative for all Americans to stand up for decency, tolerance, and the right of the Jewish people to defend Israel, their homeland.

While I don’t agree with everything President Trump has said and done, his determination to fend off the radical extremists in Iran remains a crowning achievement.

Following its annulment of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in May, on Monday the U.S. officially re-imposed all sanctions on Iran that the previous administration lifted—a move that is destined to be proven effective with time.

When I represented Pennsylvania in the Senate, I introduced a bill to put Iranian sanctions in place, and after negotiations, the end product was ultimately responsible for bringing Iran to the White House’s negotiating table in the first place. Tehran would have cooperated with America further, had the 2015 nuclear deal not short-circuited the legislation.

The beneficiaries of the Iran agreement weren't the American people or Israel, but the European companies that trade with the regime. Rather than accept that Tehran has become the leading driver of radical Islamic terrorism throughout the globe and adjust their business dealings accordingly, the EU has now undertaken an aggressive campaign to weaken President Trump's sanctions, putting the pocketbooks of European companies ahead of the security interests of the western world.

The European Union has proposed establishing a special purpose vehicle which, in the words of EU foreign policy head Federica Mogherini, “will mean that EU member states will set up a legal entity to facilitate legitimate financial transactions with Iran and this will allow European companies to continue to trade with Iran in accordance with European Union law...” Mogherini added that the creation of the financial vehicle “is aimed at keeping trade with Tehran flowing”—a short-sighted swipe at the White House’s strategy to pressure the regime.

GettyImages-1057221152 On the eve of renewed sanctions by Washington, Iranian protesters burn U.S. and Israeli makeshift flags during a demonstration outside the former U.S. embassy in the Iranian capital Tehran on November 4, 2018. ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images

Thankfully, the Trump administration is having none of this. In late September, the president told the U.N. General Assembly not to relent on its “campaign of economic pressure” on Tehran. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton are warning allies and others against trying to evade sanctions, with Secretary of Defense John Bolton boldly stating that “we do not intend to have our sanctions evaded by Europe or by anyone else.”

Thanks to the current White House’s leadership, European companies (such as Airbus and Siemens, which previously said they would supply planes and turbines to Iran), must choose to either follow American law and help the U.S. defeat the most significant threat to world peace, or instead opt to play games with EU leaders, risking their business relationship with the American market. Any rational business will choose to keep a door open with the most powerful economy in the world over the latter, hence the brilliance of the administration’s strategy.

The media has often taken President Trump to task for holding our European allies’ feet to the fire. Whether demanding that European countries pay their fair share of the NATO defense budget or ensure that the EU does not impose unfair tariffs on American products, the president has ensured that our allies don’t take advantage of us. The same holds true with our dealings with Iran and, for the sake of our national security, that can’t change anytime soon.

After all, Iran’s largest export is terrorism. Although our allies and the companies associated with them may prefer to ignore terrorism and the anti-Semitic statements made by the regime, such as its denying of the Holocaust and advancing of a host of other conspiracy theories, the threat is real and, if it is to be squashed, cannot be ignored by the most powerful nation on Earth. Here’s hoping that the White House will stay firm.

Rick Santorum served as a U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania from 1995 to 2007.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own.​​​​​​​​

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