While United States President Joe Biden is courageously standing up to Russian President Vladimir Putin, he is simultaneously working on appeasing the genocidal Iranian regime in hopes of restoring the deeply flawed nuclear agreement.
What gives? Biden’s leadership has demonstrated the effectiveness of the crushing sanctions against Putin and the world labeling him a war criminal, guilty of targeting civilians for destruction. But, at the same time, his Administration tell us that they have to do a deal with Iran because sanctions don’t work.
Well, do they or don’t they?
One of Iran’s conditions for returning to compliance with the agreement they never complied with is that the US remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from the list of foreign terrorist organizations (FTO). At the time of the designation, dire warnings were issued about retaliation that never happened and there is no reason to take one of the most bloodthirsty terrorist organizations on the planet off the list as a concession.
How can America decimate the Russian economy for its aggression while simultaneously removing sanctions against the terrorist government of Iran and saying their terrorists are not terrorists? Why would Biden accurately call Putin a war criminal while at the same time saying the Iranians are not terrorists?
Iran and the IRGC have engaged in the same practices – threatening neighbors with annihilation and murdering civilians around the world – for 40 years. From the imprisonment of American hostages in our Embassy in 1979, to murdering 19 US Air Force Personnel in Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996, to thousands of American soldiers murdered and injured in Iraq, the Iranian regime and the terrorists of the IRGC have caused rivers of American blood to flow, all while promising that Israel would be exterminated.
How can the US boycott Russian oil to stop Putin’s money spigots while simultaneously removing sanctions against the terrorist government of Iran and send them, literally, airplanes filled with cash? This contradiction in the administration is acute and risks undoing the position of international leadership and moral stature President Biden has rightly earned. De-designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard from the US list of terrorist organizations will forever compromise Biden’s legacy and moral stature.
Like the assassins Putin has unleashed in Ukraine with a kill list, the IRGC is the principal terrorist arm of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. And Putin and the IRGC’s involvement in the Syrian civil war has contributed to deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Arabs, whose only crime was to clamor for freedom, as the people in Ukraine are doing now.
It’s incomprehensible that Putin and Russia have remained party to the nuclear negotiations in Vienna with Iran. Controversial US negotiator Robert Malley should have expelled them as soon as they invaded Ukraine. The US allowing Putin to be involved in regulating Iran’s nuclear program would be comical if wasn’t tragic.
Iran cannot be rewarded for terrorism and nuclear blackmail with $100 billion in sanctions relief and American legitimacy for a nuclear program that will lead to a nuclear bomb. Iran is an energy superpower and need a nuclear bomb for peaceful purposes, as much as I, as a rabbi, need a ham sandwich.
The tragic events in Ukraine illustrate the cost of appeasing tyrants. Making the same mistake with Iran will all but guarantee war in the Middle East. Our ability to confront Putin is limited by his nuclear weapons. Imagine the danger the world will face if Iran gets a bomb. And removing the IRGC from the terror list will permanently compromise American security and leadership. As we impose crushing sanctions against one nuclear tyrant in Moscow, let’s not be stupid enough to create another in Tehran.
As the State Department Terrorism Report documents, the IRGC creates instability throughout the Middle East by providing aid, arms and training to terror groups. The IRGC is the principal terrorist arm of the genocidal regime in Tehran, which seeks a nuclear bomb, the destruction of Israel, the destabilization of the Middle East and the global dominance of radical Islam.
In Lebanon, support for Hezbollah has destroyed that country’s democracy and created an ongoing threat to Israel. Funding and arms provided to Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups has led to repeated conflagrations and made peace between Israelis and Palestinians impossible. The IRGC involvement in the Syrian civil war has contributed to the massive death and devastation in that country. IRGC support for the Taliban endangered US troops in Afghanistan. Just weeks ago, the administration sanctioned the IRGC for funneling tens of millions of dollars to Yemen’s Houthi terrorists, who have attacked our Gulf allies, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and have the capability to threaten Israel. Paradoxically, this is after the US administration removed the Houthis from the terrorist list.
IRGC-backed terrorists have also directly targeted Americans. In the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing, 19 American service members were killed. In 2011, a plot to bomb a restaurant in Washington, D.C. was foiled. In 2013, members of the IRGC in Nigeria were arrested for gathering information on public places and prominent hotels frequented by Americans and Israelis to facilitate attacks. More recently, the IRGC developed plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.
The organization is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more according to the Pentagon. It has also been behind attacks on bases of coalition forces fighting ISIS and the US Embassy in Baghdad.
Besides the terrible precedent of allowing another nation to dictate to the US who should be considered terrorists, removing the IRGC from the terrorist list would require an Orwellian redefinition of what constitutes terrorism and an insult to the victims of IRGC attacks. It is outrageous that rather than penalizing Iran for its open flouting of the terms of the nuclear deal the president would consider capitulating to their demands for concessions. Such a show of weakness would only further encourage Iran’s sponsorship of terror and destabilization of the region.
America should not negotiate with terrorists.
Our soldiers are being murdered by IRGC terrorists. They should be brought to justice, not exonerated to win Iranian support for a nuclear deal that will not prevent their acquisition of a bomb. We are seeing the impact of your sanctions on Russia. This is not the time to ease the pressure on Iran after its open flouting of the terms of the nuclear agreement.
Our ability to confront Russia is limited because of the fear the madman in Moscow could launch nuclear weapons. Imagine the danger the world will face if the radical Islamists get the bomb and America becomes subject to nuclear blackmail.
The world has no trouble labeling Putin as a war criminal for his unprovoked and indiscriminate attacks on the Ukrainian people. Why should we treat the mullahs who dispatch terrorists to murder men, women and children through the Middle East any differently?
The writer, “America’s Rabbi,” is the international best-selling author of 36 books, including most recently The Israel Warrior and Holocaust Holiday: One Family’s Descent into Genocide Memory Hell. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter @RabbiShmuley.