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Three things the Biden administration must do now to stop Iran’s mullahs

Everyone understands that Team Biden wants to win the election next November and is anxious not to provoke an escalation. The problem is that this posture of fear invites aggression.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks from Nantucket, Mass. about the hostage release on Nov. 24, 2023. Source: YouTube/White House.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks from Nantucket, Mass. about the hostage release on Nov. 24, 2023. Source: YouTube/White House.
Majid Rafizadeh
Majid Rafizadeh

The Biden administration’s policy of placating the ruling mullahs of Iran and their proxy, Yemen’s Houthis, has clearly failed. If the Biden administration thought that rescuing Iran’s economy, which had hit bottom, and removing the Houthis from the list of Foreign Terror Organizations would make both into allies, the plan appears to have backfired. Iran’s regime financed and helped plan the invasion of the invasion of Israel by Hamas, which is another Iranian proxy. Iran has been arming the Houthis to target the United States and its allies in the region and disrupt the shipping in the Red Sea; its militias in Syria and Iraq have fired on U.S. troops more than 100 times just since Oct. 17.

It is likely only the warships that the Biden administration helpfully placed in the Eastern Mediterranean that have deterred yet another Iranian proxy, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, from further escalating their attacks on Israel’s north. The Iranian regime has become disruptive to the highest level since the Iran-Iraq war, and unfortunately, due to what seems like a hugely misguided security paralysis in Washington D.C, shows no signs of letting up.

If the Iranian regime is allowed to advance to nuclear weapons capability, it will be on course finally to drive the United States out of the region; threaten its oil-rich neighbors; destabilize Europe; deploy military assets in Venezuela and Cuba, and, at last, come for the “Great Satan,” the United States.

Iran’s involvement in the wars against Ukraine and Israel continues to broaden. Iran and Russia are fast making headway constructing a plant in the latter country that will mass-produce Iranian-designed kamikaze drones, presumably to help Moscow attack Ukrainian targets.

Iran, meanwhile, has been trying, through its proxy, Hamas, to annihilate the “Little Satan,” and has reportedly ordered its elite militias in Syria into Southern Lebanon “to participate in attacks on Israel.” The regime’s nuclear program has also reached a critical point as it apparently just is a technical step away from producing nuclear bombs.

The Biden administration, it turns out, has not only been funding both sides of two wars—Hamas’s invasion of Israel and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—it has also indirectly started both wars, dating from its surrender to the Taliban by abandoning Afghanistan. The United States also abandoned, as Russia, China, North Korea and Iran surely noticed, an unknown number of Americans; friends who for 20 years had risked their lives helping the United States; a $96 million air base, an $806 million embassy and $7 billion in state-of-the-art military equipment.

The Biden administration needs to apply three policies, which in all likelihood it will not:

First, the administration should make it plain to Iran’s ruling mullahs that if Tehran advances its nuclear program further, all military options are on the table. It must be made unmistakably clear to Iran that the United States will not allow Iran’s current regime, a designated state sponsor of terrorism, to arm itself with nuclear weapons and emerge as yet another global nuclear threat in the Middle EastEurope and South America.

Second, economic sanctions, to cut the flow of funds to Iran and its terrorist Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, must be re-imposed, rather than have the U.S. look the other way. The Biden administration, in addition, needs to stand firm with secondary sanctions against countries such as China, which are violating U.S. sanctions by buying oil or trading with Iran. Countries can choose to do business with the United States or with Iran—but not both.

As Tehran’s major revenues come from exporting oil, U.S. Sen. Lindsay Graham has suggested targeting Iran’s oil refineries:

“What I would do is I would bomb Iran’s oil infrastructure. The money financing terrorism comes from Iran. It’s time for this terrorist state to pay a price for financing and supporting all this chaos,” he said.

Removing even just one oil refinery might also “send a message” and persuade Iran’s ruling mullahs to rethink their plans, he added.

Presumably intended as bribes in exchange for not starting wars, these billions of dollars are now being used predictably to start wars—and to finance terrorism. U.S. taxpayers, therefore, have been paying for the murder of at least 31 Americans at the hands of Hamas on Oct. 7; the abduction by Hamas of “20 or more Americans” who have been held hostage; the Iranian bounties on the heads of former U.S. officials, and the finishing touches that Iran is undoubtedly putting on its nuclear weapons program.

In April 2023, a bipartisan group of 12 U.S. senators urged the Biden administration to enforce Iranian oil sanctions, writing:

“United States sanctions should be enforced to the fullest extent of the law. As Iranian oil sales continue to rise, and the IRGC continues to target U.S. citizens and service members, including inside the U.S., it is imperative that we use all available government assets to limit the activities of the Iranian regime.”

Everyone understands that Team Biden wants to win the presidential election next November and is anxious not to provoke an escalation. The problem is that, as with British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, it is precisely this posture of fear that invites aggression. “You were given the choice between war and dishonour,” Winston Churchill said in response to Chamberlain signing the Munich Agreement in 1938. “You chose dishonour, and you will have war.”

Originally published by The Gatestone Institute.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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