The United States failed to fully enforce the Iranian arms embargo while the nuclear talks were ongoing between the P5+1 and Iran, Reuters reported on Monday. The U.S. government pursued “far fewer violations of a long-standing arms embargo against Iran in the past year compared to recent years.” Reuters reported that two senior U.S. officials revealed that the decline in the number of prosecutions was not due to a decrease in attempts by Iran to violate the arms embargo but rather because “uncertainty among prosecutors and agents on how the terms of the deal would affect cases made them reluctant to commit already scarce resources with the same vigor as in previous years.”
As part of the final nuclear deal, the U.S. and its partners agreed to lift the UN arms and ballistic missile embargoes on Iran in five and eight years respectively, prompting concerns about Iran’s ability to further destabilize the Middle East. In July, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, who retired on September 25, 2015, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that “we should under no circumstances relieve pressure on Iran relative to ballistic missile capabilities and arms trafficking.” Michael Singh, former senior advisor for Middle East affairs at the National Security Council, wrote in The Wall Street Journal that with the nuclear deal, Iran “appears” to not be making promises to limit its arms trafficking and ballistic missile development. He also explained that for over a decade Iran has tried to get the restrictions, contained within United Nations Security Council Resolutions, lifted. Iran did not abide by these resolutions and today has the most advanced arsenal of ballistic missiles in the region. The Islamic Republic continues to traffic weapons to terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Taliban. Conflicts around the region are also fueled by Iranian armaments: the Syrian civil war, rocket attacks against Israel by Hamas and Hezbollah, the conflict in Yemen, and sectarian conflict in Iraq.
Eitam and Naama Henkin were shot in front of their four children while driving in the West Bank by assailants in another car. The Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, announced that each member of the cell has admitted to having had assigned roles in the attack: a driver, two gunmen, someone to clear the way for the car, and a commander, who recruited the other members but was not physically present. All five members were reported to have been involved in other attacks in the past.