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Hassan Ruhani Hassan Ruhani

Iran must not go unpunished

May 16, 2019

The attacks on Tuesday by armed drones on Saudi oil-pumping stations, and two days beforehand on oil tankers off the coast of Fujairah in the UAE,

represent a serious escalation on the part of Iran and its proxies, should the initial conclusions of an international investigation prove to be accurate. 

 Riyadh has constantly warned world leaders of the dangers that Iran poses, not only to Saudi Arabia and the region, but also to the entire world. This is something former President Obama did not realize until the Iran-backed Houthis attacked the US Navy three times in late 2016.

 The recent attacks on oil tankers and oil pipelines were aimed at subverting the world economy by hitting directly at the lifeline of today’s world of commerce. Tehran should not get away with any more intimidation, or be allowed to threaten global stability. 

 It was in 2008 that the late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz called upon the US to “cut off the head of the snake,” in reference to the malign activities of Iran.

 Nearly a decade later, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman referred to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as the “new Hitler of the Middle East.” We are in 2019 and Iran continues to wreak havoc in the region, both directly and through its well armed proxies.

 Crown Prince Mohammed was therefore clearly correct when he argued that appeasement does not work with the Iranian regime, just as it did not work with Hitler. The next logical step — in this newspaper’s view — should be surgical strikes. The US has set a precedent, and it had a telling effect: The Trump strikes on Syria when the Assad regime used Sarin gas against its people.

 We argue this because it is clear that sanctions are not sending the right message. If the Iranian regime were not too used to getting away with their crimes, they would have taken up the offer from President Trump to get on the phone and call him in order to reach a deal that would be in the best interests of the Iranian people themselves.

 As the two recent attacks indicate, the Iranians insist on disrupting the flow of energy around the world, putting the lives of babies in incubators at risk, threatening hospitals and airports, attacking civilian ships and putting innocent lives in danger.

 As the case always is with the Iranian leadership, they bury their heads in the sand and pretend that they have done nothing. Nevertheless, investigations indicate that they were behind the attack on our brothers in the UAE while their Houthi militias targeted the Saudi pipelines.

 Our point of view is that they must be hit hard. They need to be shown that the circumstances are now different. We call for a decisive, punitive reaction to what happened so that Iran knows that every single move they make will have consequences.

 The time has come for Iran not only to curb its nuclear weapon ambitions — again in the world’s interest — but also for the world to ensure that they do not have the means to support their terror networks across the region. 

 We respect the wise and calm approach of politicians and diplomats calling for investigations to be completed and all other options to be exhausted before heading to war.

 In the considered view of this newspaper, there has to be deterrent and punitive action in order for Iran to know that no sinister act will go unpunished; that action, in our opinion, should be a calculated surgical strike.

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