United States Institute of Peace

The Iran Primer

GOP Platform on Iran

On Aug. 28, the Republican Party ratified its party platform and nominated Mitt Romney as its 2012 presidential candidate. The platform warns that President Barack Obama’s “failed engagement policy with Iran will lead to nuclear cascade.” It also labeled Venezuela as an “increasing threat to U.S. security” and an “Iranian outpost in the Western hemisphere.” The following are excerpts from the 2012 Republican platform on Iran.

The Current Administration’s Failure: Leading From Behind 
 
The Republican Party is the advocate for a strong national defense as the pathway to peace, economic prosperity, and the protection of those yearning to be free. Since the end of World War II, American military superiority has been the cornerstone of a strategy that seeks to deter aggression or defeat those who threaten our national security interests. In 1981, President Reagan came to office with an agenda of strong American leadership, beginning with a restoration of our country’s military strength. The rest is history, written in the rubble of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain.
 
We face a similar challenge today. The current Administration has responded with weakness to some of the gravest threats to our national security this country has faced, including the proliferation of transnational terrorism, continued belligerence by a nuclear-armed North Korea, an Iran in pursuit of nuclear weapons, rising Chinese hegemony in the Asia Pacific region, Russian activism, and threats from cyber espionage and terrorism. In response to these growing threats, President Obama has reduced the defense budget by over $487 billion over the next decade and fought Republican efforts to avoid another $500 billion in automatic budget cuts through a sequestration in early 2013 that will take a meat ax to all major defense programs.
 
Nuclear Forces and Missile Defense Imperiled  
 
We recognize that the gravest terror threat we face – a nuclear attack made possible by nuclear proliferation – requires a comprehensive strategy for reducing the world’s nuclear stockpiles and preventing the spread of those armaments. But the U.S. can lead that effort only if it maintains an effective strategic arsenal at a level sufficient to fulfill its deterrent purposes, a notable failure of the current Administration.
 
A strong and effective strategic arsenal is still necessary as a deterrent against competitors like Russia or China. But the danger in this age of asymmetric or non-traditional warfare comes from other quarters as well. With unstable regimes in Iran and North Korea determined to develop nuclear-tipped missiles capable of reaching the United States, with the possibility that a terrorist group could gain control of a nuclear weapon, it is folly to abandon a missile shield for the country.
 
Strengthening Ties in the Americas 
 
We will resist foreign influence in our hemisphere. We thereby seek not only to provide for our own security, but also to create a climate for democracy and self-determination throughout the Americas.
 
The current Administration has turned its back on Latin America, with predictable results. Rather than supporting our democratic allies in the region, the President has prioritized engagement with our enemies in the region. Venezuela represents an increasing threat to U.S. security, a threat which has grown much worse on the current President’s watch. In the last three years, Venezuela has become a narco-terrorist state, turning it into an Iranian outpost in the Western hemisphere. The current regime issues Venezuelan passports or visas to thousands of Middle Eastern terrorists offering safe haven to Hezbollah trainers, operatives, recruiters and fundraisers.
 
The Challenges of a Changing Middle East 
 
Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons capability threatens America, Israel, and the world. That threat has only become worse during the current Administration. A continuation of its failed engagement policy with Iran will lead to nuclear cascade. In solidarity with the international community, America must lead the effort to prevent Iran from building and possessing nuclear weapons capability. We express our respect for the people of Iran, who seek peace and aspire to freedom. Their current regime is unworthy of them. It exports terror and provided weapons that killed our troops in Iraq. We affirm the unanimous resolution of the U.S. Senate calling for “elections that are free, fair, and meet international standards” and “a representative and responsive democratic government that respects human rights, civil liberties, and the rule of law.” We urge the next Republican President to unequivocally assert his support for the Iranian people as they protest their despotic regime. We must retain all options in dealing with a situation that gravely threatens our security, our interests, and the safety of our friends.
 

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