OpinionMiddle East

The Biden administration’s disastrous Iran policy

There appears to be nothing Washington will not do to appease the mullahs of Iran.

U.S. President Joe Biden. Source: Twitter/@POTUS.
U.S. President Joe Biden. Source: Twitter/@POTUS.
Majid Rafizadeh
Majid Rafizadeh

There seems to be nothing the Biden administration will not do to appease the Iranian regime, called only a few years ago by the U.S. State Department the “top state sponsor of terrorism.” Since the Biden administration assumed office, it has been appeasing the Iranian regime financially and politically, and the mullahs, instead of taking reciprocal steps, have become empowered and emboldened. Iran is now holding uranium enrichment at 60%, around 10 days from 90%, or weapons-grade.

In short, the United States, instead of stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, is bribing the mullahs not to go to 90% enrichment, at least on the Biden administration’s watch, and especially ahead of the November 2024 U.S. presidential election.

Meanwhile, Iran laughably keeps claiming that it is not even seeking a nuclear bomb.

Here are some of the major and dangerous appeasements that the Biden administration has so far offered to this anti-American regime. The first concession, to Iran’s proxy militia group in Yemen, the Houthis, came a few days after the administration assumed office.

Even as the evidence—including a 2020 United Nations report—had shown that Iran was delivering sophisticated weapons to the Houthis, the Biden administration suspended some of the anti-terrorism sanctions on the Houthis that the Trump administration had set in place.

On Feb. 12, 2021, the Biden administration revoked the designation of Yemen’s Houthis as a terrorist group.

Almost immediately afterwards, on March 7, 2021, the Houthis “reciprocated” by attacking Saudi Arabia’s oil fields and a few months later, the United Arab Emirates.

A few months after that, in June 2021, the Biden administration lifted sanctions on three former Iranian officials and several energy companies.

Then, in a blow to the Iranian people and all advocates of democracy and human rights—days after the Iranian regime hand-picked an accused mass murderer, Ebrahim Raisi, to be its next president—the Biden administration announced that it was also considering lifting sanctions against Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

After that, the Biden administration looked the other way during the Islamic Republic’s malign actions in the region, such as smuggling weapons and shipping oil to Syria and Hezbollah in direct violation of U.S. sanctions, at the same time that Iran was busy increasing its influence in America’s backyard.

In January, Iran sent two warships to Brazil, on the way to station them at the Panama Canal. (Eventually, in May, the ships just sailed through the canal.)

In addition, in June, Raisi made a special trip to Venezuela to establish “strategic ties” and remind the world that Iran and Venezuela have “common enemies.” Moreover, the Iranian regime’s terror cells have been growing in Latin America as Iran’s terror proxy Hezbollah and Al Mustafa International University have both played a key role in expanding the mullahs’ presence and ideology in the region. The regime has also been expanding the number Iranian-trained imams and militants in Latin America, and increasing recruitment of radicals.

The Biden administration also looked away when the Iranian regime killed more than 300 people, including 40 children, in the recent protests in Iran.

Seemingly to further appease the ruling clerics of Iran, the Biden administration began issuing waivers, making the sanctions an ineffective joke. Last year, the Biden administration restored a waiver that had been rescinded by the Trump administration. The new waiver permitted companies from Europe, Russia and China to advance their work on Iran’s nuclear sites. This was most likely done in the hope of reviving the “nuclear deal” to enable Iran to have as many nuclear weapons as it likes, which Iran is apparently doing anyway. The waiver also further facilitates the flow of funds to the Iranian regime, lifts sanctions and enhances its global legitimacy.

The Biden administration further attempted, on March 16, to deny that it had issued a waiver to Iraq to pay $500 million to Iran. According to a report by the Free Beacon, the waiver was issued “a day after Biden administration officials denied Iran’s claims that the United States had paved the way for Tehran to receive the $500 million.” The regime will most likely use the funds to further arm Russia in its invasion of Ukraine, to brutalize its own citizens, to undermine U.S. national security interests, to fund its terrorist and militia groups across the Middle East and to expand even more deeply into Latin America.

On June 10, 2023 the Biden administration also gave yet another sanctions waiver to Iran’s satrapy, Iraq, to make a payment of $2.76 billion to the Iranian regime.

Thanks to the Biden administration, Iran’s oil exports are booming, having now surged more than two million barrels a day, the most since 2018. And they are selling it at levels close to the pre-sanctions era, to countries such as China, which desperately needs it, while the Biden administration suspended new oil and gas leases on U.S. public lands and waters.

Iran has furthermore been shipping vast amounts of oil to Venezuela without either country fearing repercussions from the Biden administration.

As if these appeasements were not enough, the Biden administration on Aug. 10 reached a deal with the Iranian regime behind closed doors, in which the United States agreed to pay $6 billion dollars and release a handful of Iranian nationals who are serving prison sentences in the United States, in exchange for the release of five Iranian-Americans imprisoned in Iran—more than a billion dollars per person—with still more payments apparently on the way.

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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