We recognize that our readers have no doubt been following events inside Israel over the past weeks and we, too, are watching these events with concern. However, as you know, we take no position on internal Israeli politics. As such, in this week’s Action Update we will focus on a number of issues related to Iran.

Cruz vs Blinken

Last Wednesday, there was a rather dramatic exchange between Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) hearing to discuss the proposed 2024 State Department budget.

During his remarks, Cruz spelled out how the Biden administration is aiding and abetting Russia, China, and Iran, by waiving certain sanctions on the Islamic Republic. The effect of these waivers is that these three evil powers, with Iran sitting at the nexus of this axis, are able to buy/sell more oil, purchase and develop more weapons, and harm innocent people.

During the exchange, Cruz specifically cited the exponential increase in the number of oil tankers Iran is using to sell oil to various nations around the world, and the significant rise in total Iranian oil exports which fund the regime’s nuclear program, support for terrorism, and subjugation of its own people.

“This administration has shown weakness on Iran since day one and continues to do so. Just in the last few weeks there have been reports that you again waived congressional sanctions to allow Iraq to move money to the Central Bank of Iran, which the Ayatollah uses for terrorism, for ballistic missile development, and nuclear weapons work,” Cruz said.

Based on comments made by others during the hearing, it’s clear that Cruz is hardly alone in being frustrated by the Biden administration’s inept effort to address Iran’s malign activities.

Congress vs the President

This frustration extends well beyond sanctions waivers. Case-in-point: last week a dozen Senators, led by longtime CUFI ally Sen. James Risch (R-ID), sent a letter to the European Union (EU) High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy calling upon the EU to end their “hesitation to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of Iran as an addition to the EU Terror List.”

As regular readers of the Update know, the IRGC is both an extremely powerful element of the Iranian state and a terrorist organization, all rolled into one. The U.S. has designated the IRGC a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), so one would think American policy in this matter would be consistent. But according to conversations we’ve had  with our partners in the United Kingdom, the State Department is quietly, yet actively, seeking to dissuade others from designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization.

No doubt the State Department’s justification for doing so is in-line with Germany’s (and other European states) hesitation in moving ahead with the common-sense move to call the IRGC what they are. Specifically, these countries are concerned such a move could close the door to communication with Iran. But such a position begs the question: what have these negotiations gotten us? Iran is helping Russia kill Ukrainians, selling oil to China, continues to back Hezbollah, and has dramatically advanced its nuclear program. So, what does the West actually have to show for all the years of breaking bread with the tyrants of Tehran?

In the aforementioned SFRC hearing, Cruz noted, “I'm deeply concerned… that no matter how much you may want to help Ukraine there is something the Biden administration wants more, which is to re-enter a nuclear agreement with Iran.”

If Cruz is right, and we suspect he is, then despite Iran advancing its nuclear capability by leaps and bounds since President Biden took office, Tehran’s arrest, torture, and abuse of their own people, and their material support for Russia’s criminal war in Ukraine, the Biden administration has still failed to accept that the only real solution to the Iran problem is regime change from within.

Words vs Actions

At this stage, the Biden administration appears to be willing to pay lip service to the protesters dying in Iran’s streets, but they can’t bring themselves to advance the commonsense policies that will actually aid Iran’s civil and human rights movement. At present, ours are not the actions of a country that sits at the head of the international table.

We’ve had some discussions here at the office recently concerning the Biden administration’s reasoning on these matters. In sum, we’re trying to figure out the thought process that serves as the cornerstone for the Biden administration’s approach to the Middle East. And despite well over a half-century’s worth of experience in foreign policy matters amongst our team, we came up with nothing. There is no rhyme or reason to Washington’s disconnected, contradictory, and fundamentally feeble approach dealing with Iran.

This must change. And to that end, the CUFI Action Fund is supporting legislation that would effectively take away the Biden administration’s ability to waive certain sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

In the press release announcing that legislation, Sen. Cruz said, “There is absolutely no reason to continue issuing these waivers, which allow Iran and Russia to cooperate on building up Iran’s nuclear program. These waivers were nevertheless renewed in August, because the Biden administration remains obsessed with reentering a nuclear deal with the Iranian regime. Now the administration says it is committed to countering cooperation between Iran and Russia. They should embrace this legislation.”

We couldn’t agree more.


The CUFI Action Fund Team


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