Credit Christians United for Israel (CUFI) – February 16, 2021
In this month’s CUFI policy report, we’re focused on the Islamic Republic of Iran. As you likely know, CUFI opposed the Iran nuclear accord in 2015. While we would love to see Iran abandon its nuclear program and rejoin the community of nations, the nuclear accord signed in 2015 was too weak to get the job done. Equally as bad, as a result of the accord, the world’s leading sponsor of terror got a huge payday.
MAXIMUM PRESSURE CAMPAIGN ON IRAN
While he was in office, President Trump exited the Iran nuclear agreement and ratcheted up a campaign of maximum pressure against Tehran. This campaign was focused on sanctioning the regime and those elements of the Iranian economy, including its financial sector, that enabled the Islamic Republic to continue its malicious activities throughout the Middle East and around the world. As a result of President Trump’s maximum pressure campaign, President Biden is in an enviable position of strength should the Biden administration choose to engage the Islamic Republic.
BIDEN ADMINISTRATION’S RECENT APPROACH
After the 2020 election, members of the CUFI policy team reviewed what we knew about President Biden’s position concerning Iran. And as the President began to name people to his senior foreign policy team, we looked at their positions as well, and a clear pattern emerged. Without explicitly saying it, Secretary of State Tony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, and President Biden himself all seemed to implicitly agree that the old agreement was too short and too weak. We inferred this because they were calling for a longer and stronger agreement with Tehran. This was a welcome development.
Unfortunately, our optimism turned to skepticism when the President named Robert Malley to serve as the administration’s envoy to Tehran. The hallmark of Malley’s brand of foreign policy is appeasement. In his decades long career, Malley seems to have never missed an opportunity to exhibit weakness. He seems to believe that dialogue is an ends, not a means, and that we should trust our adversaries to change their behavior.
Earlier this month, however, the President gave an interview to CBS News during which he said the US would not relieve sanctions on Iran unless the Iranians comply with the original deal. It’s worth noting that Iran has never actually complied with the original agreement. In fact, just this month international inspectors discovered nuclear material at two Iranian sites that indicated – yet again – that Iran was pursuing a nuclear weapon.
DEVELOPING A COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGY
The President’s position is the minimum standard. Certainly, there should be no reward for Iran openly violating an agreement they were already quietly breaking. And while the President’s position that we need a longer and stronger agreement is good, it’s missing one word: comprehensive. Any deal with the world’s leading sponsor of terror and a serial human rights abuser must address Iran’s support for terror and human rights abuses.
The United States has a moral responsibility to not only cease doing business with a malicious regime that is pursuing nuclear weapons but to also ensure that the regime does not use the threat of nuclear weapons development to get a pass on torturing and murdering innocent people both inside and outside their borders.
At CUFI, we will stay on top of these issues and keep you informed of any developments. And if/when the moment comes at which point the White House or Congress needs to hear from their constituents, we’ll be asking you, the people, to make your voice heard in our nation’s capital.