After recovering from the shock of the foiled Iranian terror plot, the real questions emerge:
(1) How prepared are we for future attacks?
(2) How likely is it that more attacks will be launched?
And most importantly:
(3) How will the U.S. now respond?
The plot clearly demonstrates the Iranian regime’s disposition toward the United States. Had the Iranians been successful in their planned executions, it would have been a large-scale terror attack on U.S. soil. They might not have succeeded this time, but now we must worry about their next plan — and whether it will be carried out by Iranians or by copycat terrorists.
If the Iranian regime’s sole goal was to knock out the Saudi ambassador, Adel Al-Jubeir, they could have done so in an easier place with less security, vigilance and national intelligence. They could have followed him to an obscure venue. Yet they chose to make a point. They chose to carry out the attack on U.S. soil, to bomb the Israeli Embassy and to kill some American citizens while they were at it.
Even if the U.S. calls this an act of war, the American government cannot respond as such. In the case of Iran, the U.S. still maintains that “all options” are on the table, which acknowledges the option of a military attack. But it would help us to focus more on the other options, namely, non-militaristic aggression, even though many believe sanctions have not been effective in combating the Iranian government. There is evidence to prove that sanctions have in fact choked off the regime in various ways. However, in order to truly benefit from sanctions, the U.S. would have to better enforce them, apply them more strategically in areas such as banking and travel and to freeze assets.
The U.S. could also employ the help of other nations who have ducked out of the responsibility of punishing this global enemy. Lastly, and most importantly, the U.S. should not forget the easiest and most powerful tool in combating the Iranian regime: its 70 million disenchanted people. While the Mullahs’ regime in Tehran may have deep support, both financially and through an extensive network of clergy and Revolutionary Guardsmen, the people of Iran and their desire to break free from this tyrannical regime is far more widespread across a large and vibrant population.
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