Sunday , 21 April 2024

Biden Administration’s Jitterbug with Iran’s Regime

gatestoneinstitute.org – The recent decision to shower Iran, the “leading state sponsor of global terrorism,” with yet another $10 billion in sanctions waivers, “freeing up $10 billion elsewhere to spend on terrorism, missiles, nuclear weapons and the repression of Iranian women,” defies logic and morality.

Despite galactic evidence of Iran’s atrocities — such as, since October 2023, more than 165 attacks by its proxies on American assets, which include the murder of three US service members; its support for terrorist organizations such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Houthis; its brutal crackdown on dissent at home, and its massively destabilizing actions across the Middle East — the Biden administration continues to court Iran and further enrich its regime, which thrives on chaos and bloodshed, especially against the country throwing the money at them.

“The FBI believes Iran is capable of a variety of attack options against US targets, to include cyber operations intended to sabotage public and private infrastructure …. [I]t’s clear the Iranians are determined to carry out attacks in the United States….” — Robert Wells, assistant director of the Counterterrorism Division at the FBI, March 20, 2024.

“The mullahs give up nothing but get a windfall nonetheless… For [Senate Majority leader Chuck] Schumer, apparently, regime change in Israel is the national-security priority — not stopping billions of dollars to the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.” — Former National Security Council official Richard Goldberg, New York Post, March 14, 2024.

Former US Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe’s assertion that the Biden administration’s actions has already enriched Iran by “closer to $60 billion” is nothing short of chilling. This staggering sum undoubtedly enabled Iran to further enrich its uranium to near weapons-grade level; to help Hamas attack Israel, and to torment its own people.

It is high time for the Biden administration to send a clear and unequivocal message to Iran, China, Russia and North Korea that the days of impunity are over.

The recent decision to shower Iran, the “leading state sponsor of global terrorism,” with yet another $10 billion in sanctions waivers, “freeing up $10 billion elsewhere to spend on terrorism, missiles, nuclear weapons and the repression of Iranian women,” defies logic and morality. (Image source: iStock/Getty Images)

In the intricate and often perilous world of international relations, every decision carries weight, consequences, and the potential to shape the course of events. At the heart of this delicate dance lies the Biden administration’s policy towards Iran — a policy that has been veering dangerously off-course, betraying not only the principles of national security but also the essence of American values.

The recent decision to shower Iran, the “leading state sponsor of global terrorism,” with yet another $10 billion in sanctions waivers, “freeing up $10 billion elsewhere to spend on terrorism, missiles, nuclear weapons and the repression of Iranian women,” defies logic and morality.

Despite galactic evidence of Iran’s atrocities — such as, since October 2023, more than 165 attacks by its proxies on American assets, which include the murder of three US service members; its support for terrorist organizations such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Houthis; its brutal crackdown on dissent at home, and its massively destabilizing actions across the Middle East — the Biden administration continues to court Iran and further enrich its regime, which thrives on chaos and bloodshed, especially against the country throwing the money at them.

According to testimony this week before the US House Committee on Homeland Security, chaired by Rep. Mark E Green (R-TN), Robert Wells, assistant director of the Counterterrorism Division at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), stated:

“The FBI believes Iran is capable of a variety of attack options against US targets, to include cyber operations intended to sabotage public and private infrastructure …. [I]t’s clear the Iranians are determined to carry out attacks in the United States….”

Former National Security Council official Richard Goldberg wrote in the New York Post last week:

“The mullahs give up nothing but get a windfall nonetheless… For [Senate Majority leader Chuck] Schumer, apparently, regime change in Israel is the national-security priority — not stopping billions of dollars to the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.”

One cannot help questioning the purpose of sanctions if they are repeatedly waived or ignored. Sanctions are intended to exert pressure, to hold rogue regimes accountable for their actions, and to deter future aggression. Yet, in the case of Iran, these punitive measures seem to have become little more than symbolic gestures, easily brushed aside by a regime that remains steadfast in its pursuit of power and influence, particularly when it must look as if crime does pay — spectacularly.

Consider, for instance, the recent decision to again grant Iraq a sanctions waiver, allowing it to purchase energy from Iran. This move not only provides a lifeline to the Iranian economy but also undermines efforts to isolate and contain a regime that poses a clear and present danger to regional stability. By turning a blind eye to Iran’s malevolent activities, the Biden administration is effectively legitimizing and enabling a regime that thrives on terror and oppression.

Moreover, the staggering scale of the sanctions relief being provided to Iran is cause for alarm. As Goldberg wrote in August 2023:

“At least $16 billion has now been made available to Iran without any congressional input—and more might be on the way. Another $6.7 billion is reportedly moving to Iran via the International Monetary Fund Special Drawing Rights… and reportedly … another $3 billion of regime assets frozen in Tokyo. India and China….”.

The release of billions of dollars in frozen assets, coupled with the relaxation of restrictions on Iranian oil exports, amounts to a windfall for a regime that has shown no qualms about using its newfound wealth to fund terrorism, suppress dissent, and advance its own hegemonic ambitions.

Former US Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe’s assertion that the Biden administration’s actions has already enriched Iran by “closer to $60 billion” is nothing short of chilling. This staggering sum undoubtedly enabled Iran to further enrich its uranium to near weapons-grade level; to help Hamas attack Israel, and to torment its own people. The Biden administration’s support for terrorism, war and disruption – whether for the Taliban in Afghanistan; Putin’s “minor incursion” into Ukraine; China’s murder of more than 70,000 Americans a year with fentanyl and other opiates; for the Palestinian Authority, which openly pays its people to murder Jews; and for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and terror proxies such as Hamas, the Houthis and Hezbollah, in the Middle East and Latin America — represents not only a betrayal of America’s values but, as we have been seeing since October 2023, a clear and present danger to global security.

By providing billions of dollars in sanctions relief, the Biden administration is effectively financing Iran’s nuclear program, allowing it to put the finishing touches on nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles to carry them, as well as for its proxy wars and terrorist activities that have done nothing but fuel conflict and instability. The recent surge in violence by Iran-backed groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis serves as a reminder of the deadly consequences of appeasing and financing states that sponsor terrorism.

It is all too clear that the Biden administration’s approach to Iran is not only misguided but dangerous. By neglecting long-term security considerations and catering to a regime that clearly jeopardizes global stability, the Biden administration is not only endangering American lives but also strengthening a regime that thrives on chaos and bloodshed.

Worse, by appeasing Iran and essentially funding its malign activities, the United States has also been alienating its allies while emboldening its enemies and undermining its own credibility on the world stage.

The time has come for the Biden administration to reassess its Iran policy, and to hold the Iranian regime accountable for its actions. This means enforcing sanctions rigorously, exacting a serious price on Iran for its attacks — especially the 165-plus recent attacks on US assets — on its dash for nuclear capability; its support for terrorism, and to show the Iranian regime and others adversaries waiting in the wings that the US can and will stand firm in the face of attempts to sow discord.

It is high time for the Biden administration to send a clear and unequivocal message to Iran, China, Russia and North Korea that the days of impunity are over.

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He has authored several books on Islam and US Foreign Policy. He can be reached at [email protected]

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