Ted Poe, Originally Published in the Washington Times, Wednesday, June 29, 2022
When I served as chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, I could proudly say that U.S. policy mitigated serious threats to international security and democratic principles in many areas. However, there was one area of foreign policy in which the United States always seemed to somehow fall short, and as a result, I found myself watching in horror as the threats emanating from the Islamic Republic of Iran grew more serious year after year.
Sadly, that trend is still ongoing today. Yet now that I am no longer in Congress, I feel more hopeful than ever that the correct officials and policymakers will soon respond to my advocacy for a change in Iran policy, not just in Washington but also in most European capitals. More specifically, I feel hopeful that Western leaders will soon begin paying due attention to crucial missing factors in most prior discussions at the Foreign Affairs Committee, namely the role of the Iranian people and opposition activists in the future of their country.
Of course, the relevant advocacy is not merely my own. It has been offered in equal measure by a number of my colleagues, and many American and European foreign policy experts besides. Some of them enjoyed positions of even greater influence than my own, including our previous vice president, Mike Pence. Last week, I was pleased to see that he persisted in his calls for a change in the focus of U.S. policy toward Iran, and also that he was prepared to lead by example.
Last week, Mr. Pence made a highly visible trip to Albania to visit Ashraf 3, the compound established in recent years by exiled members of Iran’s leading pro-democracy opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, also known as the MEK. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took a similar trip in May, thereby underscoring the depth of the impression the MEK has left on serious decision-makers in Washington. I had the privilege of serving in Congress at the same time as Mr. Pence and Mr. Pompeo. But I can also say from experience that the organization has left a similar impression on a number of my Democratic colleagues, and that support for the Iranian resistance is one of the most powerful outlets for bipartisanship in the U.S. today. READ MORE…