Keep All Options on the Table While Talking to Iran: Prof. William Martel

Concord Monitor

William C. Martel is Associate Professor of International Security Studies at The Fletcher School, Tufts University.

Good questions from Ayotte, Troubling Answers from Hagel

It came as no surprise during Chuck Hagel’s confirmation hearing to serve as defense secretary that Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte wanted to learn more about his views on Iran.

Iran is a leading state sponsor of terror that is aggressively seeking a nuclear weapons capability. The regime in Tehran has long engaged in bombastic and aggressive behavior, often using reckless language.

As a reminder, Iran took Americans hostage in 1979, actively supports terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas, and provided the roadside bombs that killed American men and women in Iraq. Dangerously, Iran has called for our close ally Israel to be wiped off the map, while oppressing the Iranian people and providing Iraqi militias training and explosives to kill our troops.

If a regime that engages in these sorts of activities ever acquired a nuclear weapons capability, it would represent a grave threat not only to American national security but to security and stability in the Middle East.

A recent column by Asher Mayerson focusing on Ayotte’s questioning of Hagel sought to defend Hagel’s efforts to block unilateral American sanctions against Iran (“Ayotte could learn a thing or two from Hagel,” Monitor Forum, Feb. 8).

Hagel explained his votes against sanctions on Iran by saying that he only opposed unilateral sanctions because they “don’t work and they just isolate the United States.”

Read the full op-ed