Rep. Ron Paul was a lonely voice of reason on Wednesday after the US Congress voted 421-6 on a bill that the congressman calls the “Obsession with Iran Act 2012.”
The Iran Sanctions bill, which changes the existing sanctions law by adding penalties for those that aid Iran’s petroleum, petrochemical, insurance, shipping and financial sectors, is what Paul views as an unnecessary step towards war with a country that in his opinion has no intention to produce nuclear weapons.
“A vote for this … will show that it’s just one more step to another war that we don’t need,” the congressman said in an Aug. 1 speech against the bill. “We have not been provoked, [Iran] is not a threat to our national security and we should not be doing this. For the past 10 to 15 years we’ve been obsessed with this idea that we go to war and try to solve all the problems of the world. At the same time, it is bankrupting us.”
At a time when the US has spent billions of dollars on a war with Iraq and Afghanistan, further involvement with Iran would just hurt the country – and especially the economy, he said.
Imposing sanctions and blockading a country are an act of war – and the US fights too many that it can’t afford.
Additionally, there is no evidence that Iran has ever enriched uranium above 20 percent – and the IAEA and CIA have determined that the country is not on the verge of building a nuclear weapon, Paul said. By pressuring Iran to close down its nuclear power plants, to the point where the US repeatedly imposes tough sanctions, Americans are simply preoccupying themselves with a country that has no intention of going to war.
“What we continue to be doing is obsess with Iran and the idea that Iran is a threat to our national security,” the congressman said. “Iran happens to be a Third World nation. They have no significant navy, air force, or intercontinental ballistic missiles.”
And even if Iran did have the resources to go to war with the US, the country has no history of invading its neighbors, aside from its involvement in the Gulf War, he said.
By voting for the Iran Sanctions bill, America is engaging in another costly mistake that mirrors the war against Iraq – a war that was a façade, based on a false idea that the country was hiding weapons of mass destruction, Paul said.
In his speech, the congressman also expressed his opposition to US intentions to fight for civil liberties in Syria. Earlier this year, President Obama signed a secret order authorizing clandestine aid to the rebel forces in the country.
But before concerning itself with civil liberties abroad, Paul thinks the US should reflect on its own actions.
“Do you think we’re protecting civil liberties by arbitrarily dropping drones or threatening to drop drones any place in the world, with innocent people dying?” the congressman said. “If we want to really care about civil liberties in Syria, why don’t we really care about the secret prisons we have and the history of torture we have in this country?”
While the US is making kill lists, it is preaching for civil liberties abroad and “poking our nose in other people’s affairs, just looking for the chance to start another war," this time in Iran, Paul said.
But disregarding the congressman’s speech, the overwhelming majority in the House of Representatives voted to impose further sanctions on Iran on Aug. 1, thereby increasing tensions between the two countries.