Biden’s “Sanctions Relief” for the Iranian Regime Will Fuel Murder, Mayhem, and Terror

The Biden Administration simply refuses to learn from its mistakes.  Faced with an Iranian regime selling missiles to Russia and unveiling hypersonic missiles that threaten American and Israeli lives, this Administration is returning to the same flawed, misguided playbook of weakness and appeasement.  Rather than apply maximum pressure and build out a system of allies and partners who are motivated to keep the regime in check, Team Biden has instead chosen to reward the regime’s malfeasance by offering sanctions relief – while clinging to the absurd hope that this will dissuade Iran from producing and even using a nuclear weapon.

Any such deal will leave the world far less stable and seriously harm America’s security interests, as Iran has ambitions to greatly increase its exports of lethal weaponry.  This growth is already underway, in fact: Iran has shipped large amounts of advanced attack drones to Russia for its war in Ukraine.  In recent years, Iran has not only sold drones to Hezbollah, but also given the terrorist organization the means to produce them.  And last year, the regime opened a drone factory in Tajikistan.  Allowing an influx of cash to now line the Ayatollah’s pockets will not dissuade his regime from pursuing these lucrative lines of effort – indeed, quite the opposite.  Rewarding Iran with sanctions relief will only encourage it to further attack American interests, our military, and our security.

Sanctions relief will also give the regime in Tehran the resources it needs to crack down on the historic protests which began last November and continue even today.  Over 500 Iranians have been killed in these protests, and nearly 20,000 have been imprisoned by the regime in a brutal suppression.  By granting sanctions relief and appeasing the regime, President Biden and his top Iran envoy, Rob Malley, are abandoning the Iranian people and enriching their evil oppressors. 

Like its predecessors in the Obama-Biden Administration, Team Biden continues to mistakenly believe that the only way to keep Iran from attacking America and its allies is to appease and engage with it.  Nothing could be further from the truth: Iran is wholly opposed to U.S. interests.  They are our adversary and will use any advantage we give them to attack our people and make good on their threats to destroy Israel.  The regime’s ambitions also extend to working with other regimes – like the Chinese Communist Party and Putin’s cronies in Russia – dedicated to undermining peace and freedom.  One of their top generals recently affirmed this, saying that “The new world order geometry is altering with the emergence of several new powers, particularly in Asia and in different fields.”  Enriching the Iranian regime won’t just make the Middle East less safe; it will ensure that the regimes in Moscow and Beijing become more powerful as well.  This is devastating to the American people.

In the Trump Administration, we met the Iranian threat with maximum pressure.  We didn’t appease; we cut its oil exports significantly and, when necessary, undertook decisive action to maintain military deterrence – such as our strike that took out Qasem Soleimani.  The result? A greatly weakened regime in Iran that lacked the capability to fuel murder and mayhem at the levels we are unfortunately seeing now.  And by showing America was serious about deterring Iran, we were able to bring partners and allies together to help isolate the regime.  This was most evident in the signing of the Abraham Accords, a set of historic peace agreements that normalized relations between Israel and her Arab neighbors. 

What was true in the Middle East also held true in the rest of the world: Maintaining peace and prosperity depends on America’s ability to establish deterrence and show leadership in opposing malign regimes.  Our model of deterrence didn’t just keep the Iranian regime in check: It discouraged Vladimir Putin from attempting an invasion of Ukraine on our watch, kept the Taliban from killing a single American soldier after we negotiated a withdrawal agreement, and kept North Korea from conducting dangerous long-range missile tests.  The Biden Administration has favored a model of appeasement and engagement over hard deterrence, with predictable results: Our enemies do not take American power seriously.

Allowing the Iranian regime to prosper will only lead to further regional and global instability, as well as terrible retribution for those Iranians who wish to live free from the regime’s brutality.  Congress should not allow the Administration to continue these negotiations without congressional oversight.