Restoring the Sacred

Friday, July 24, 2015

Robert M. Morgenthau at "Stop Iran Now Rally," Times Square, July 22, 2015

Former Manhattan District Attorney, Robert M. Morgenthau, the paradigmatic prosecutor of our time, spoke at the Stop Iran Now Rally in New York's Times Square two days ago.  His remarks were encapsulated today in the Wall Street Journal:
July 23, 2015 7:05 p.m. ET
From former Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau’s prepared remarks for the Stop Iran Now rally in New York’s Times Square, July 22:
The proposal would give Iran access to $150 billion in frozen assets. That provision is particularly galling. Over the years, survivors of Americans murdered in Iran’s terrorist acts have sued Iran, and often won large judgments. The problem is, Iran refused to pay. I fail to see the logic in returning those embargoed funds without first requiring Iran to make good on the debts it owes to those survivors.
Although the proposal was negotiated in good faith, even the administration worries that some of those billions would go toward sponsoring terrorism—what the State Department euphemistically calls “destabilizing actions.” This is not only a strategic issue, but a moral one. We simply cannot give terrorists the means to destroy innocent lives. Until Iran renounces terrorism, we cannot release those funds. And make no mistake: Neither side to this deal predicts that it will reduce Iranian terrorism. An Iranian newspaper that serves as a mouthpiece for the Iranian supreme leader put it this way: “In spite of various pretensions and fantasies, this agreement will not lead to cooperation between Iran and America on regional issues.” And even President Obama, at his recent press conference, conceded that try as we might to curb Iran’s destructive policies, he’s “not betting on it.”
With respect to Iran, an effective international sanctions regime is the only real alternative the world has to war. We must not dismantle those sanctions until we are assured that Iran’s hostile intentions have been thwarted.
As district attorney, some of my most important cases were those in which we ensured that the sanctions against Iran were obeyed. I took on those cases because I believed the sanctions were crucial to prevent Iran from spreading even wider mayhem. We should keep those sanctions in place so long as Iran threatens the survival of its neighbors, and sponsors terror around the world. Near the end of his life, President John Kennedy delivered a speech in which he told Americans of the peace he hoped to bring to the world. He called it “genuine peace . . . not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women, not merely peace in our time, but peace in all time.”
This proposal does just the opposite.

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