Last week, CUFI founder and Chairman Pastor John Hagee authored an op-ed for Newsweek in which he offered a stark assessment of the Biden administration’s approach towards Iran. A key component of Pastor Hagee’s piece was his focus on the pivotal role Congress must play if we are to avoid seeing generations of “Americans, Israelis and the rest of the free world” suffer from President Biden’s repeated miscalculations concerning Tehran. In this week’s Action Update, we provide the latest developments regarding where things stand with Congress, the Iranians, the Europeans, and Israel, and then discuss what may come next.

State of Play

A lot has happened in recent days in the context of the Iran deal. First, 50 members of the House of Representatives, including 34 Democrats and 16 Republicans, sent a letter to President Biden exemplifying Pastor Hagee’s point that there is widespread bipartisan concern with President Biden’s approach to the Islamic Republic. The Members of Congress discussed several elements of the reported details of the deal that cause them pause, with a particular emphasis on the “an estimated one trillion dollars in sanctions relief over a decade,” that Iran is set to receive under the current terms of the agreement.

The group of elected officials, led by Reps. Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Garbarino (R-NY), went on to note, “Amid Iran-sponsored terror plots to assassinate former U.S. officials and Iranian-American dissidents on American soil, this is no time to remove, suspend, or dilute U.S. terrorism sanctions on Iran or the IRGC.”

Capitol Hill isn’t the only place where there is extreme trepidation with what is known about the potential deal. In Israel, Prime Minister Lapid has made no secret of his country’s feelings about the impending agreement, and he recently made some very strong statements during a visit to an Israeli Air Force base (but more on that in a minute).

The European powers are still myopically focused on getting something signed regardless of whether or not such a piece of paper actually stops Iran from acquiring a nuclear capability. Lately, they’ve been expressing pessimism about the once imminent deal coming to fruition. 

Josep Borrell, the European Union’s head of foreign affairs, recently said, “the last interaction is not converging, it is diverging… That is very much worrisome if the process does not converge. The whole process is in danger.”

If it seems like we’ve been here before, that’s because in many ways we have. The Iranians push for more, the Americans appear hesitant, and the Europeans – likely as a negotiating tactic – lament the potential death of the process. The question is, who are the Europeans trying to influence with these wild swings of optimism and pessimism?

Maybe we’re giving them too much credit; after all, if any of the Western powers had a decent negotiator in the room we wouldn’t be talking about such a weak and worthless deal. But either way, we’re not taking anything for granted. We’re not in the room, so we can’t predict the parties’ next moves. And neither is Israel. So where are we going from here? Sadly, but increasingly likely, we’re headed to plan B.

Plan B

During Prime Minister Lapid’s aforementioned visit to the Nevatim Air Force Base, he spoke with clarity and offered a warning to both the weak and the tyrannical, “It is still too early to know if we have indeed succeeded in stopping the nuclear agreement, but Israel is prepared for every threat and every scenario.”

“If Iran continues to test us, it will discover Israel’s long arm and capabilities. We will continue to act on all fronts against terrorism and against those who seek to harm us,” Lapid went on to say while standing in front of the advanced Israeli F-35 stealth fighter jet (reported to already have penetrated Iranian airspace on multiple occasions).

Lapid’s comments come on the heels of the announcement that Israel will be purchasing four KC-46A tanker jets. These are massive mid-air refueling aircraft that extend the range of attack jets. We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, as the planes wouldn’t be arriving until 2025 and 2026, but such planes are vital to any long-range attack scenario, and, well, you can use your imagination from there.

The Israelis know that at the end of the day, they must be able to rely on themselves for protection and deterrence. This week marks the 50th anniversary of the murder of eleven Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic games. It also marks the anniversary of the 2007 Israeli attack on Syria’s nuclear reactor – which destroyed that country’s nuclear program and likely saved countless Syrian lives given the civil war that began just a few years later.

The name of the Israeli operation to assassinate those responsible for the Munich terror attack was Operation Wrath of God. The attack on Syria’s nuclear plant was dubbed Operation Outside the Box. If history has shown us anything it’s that the Israelis will think outside the box and rain hell down upon those who would seek to harm them. We hope it never comes to that, but if it does, Tehran would do well to remember that the Israelis have never lost, and terrorism has never won. Regardless of how these events play out, we’ll be in Washington working to ensure Israel has the tools and space it needs to keep her people and her country safe.


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