Politically suffering from America’s debacle extraction out of Afghanistan and his inability to deter Putin’s aggression on Ukraine, President Biden is in search of recognition for some positive accomplishment. Problem is he is focusing this effort on resurrecting the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran, otherwise known as the Nuclear Weapons Deal.
President Trump was justified in pulling out from JCPOA for two reasons. First, from the very beginning, Iran never honored a single element of the deal. Second, Trump’s predecessor ignored mandated consent.
By claiming JCPOA was an agreement and not a treaty, President Obama approved it as an executive decision rather than receive Senate approval as stated in Article 2, Section 2, Paragraph 2 of the U.S. Constitution. A treaty by any other name is still a treaty. There is no reason to believe that Biden will honor the U.S. Constitution any more than did his former boss.
Biden will also follow Obama’s policy of ignoring anything negative about Iran during the negotiations. Iran had basically a free run to commit terrorist acts throughout the world without much attention paid to it from 2009 to the first month of 2017. Iran also had $140 billion of frozen assets freed up by the Obama Administration and a relaxation of previous sanctions.
None of that funding went to bettering the life of the country’s people or non-militant critical infrastructure, but rather was used to advance Iran’s role as the world’s number one exporter of state-sponsored terrorism.
The biggest recipients of this financial windfall were the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), the Quds Force, and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS). The success of these three organizations is what Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was talking about in his recent comments that Iran has for decades been an octopus encircling Israel with its tentacles. Considering that “Quds Force” directly translates to “Jerusalem Force”, there can be no denying Iran’s intent to destroy Israel.
From the time the Dawa Party took over in Iraq in 2004, the Baghdad government has been taking its orders from Iran despite the presence of American soldiers in the country. Up until the drone strike ordered by President Trump, the Iraqi government took most of its orders from Quds Force Commander General Qasem Soleimani.
To the northwest of Iraq is Syria, whose brutal dictator Bashar Assad would have fallen from power a decade ago if not for Iran and Russian military and financial support. To Syria’s south and also bordering the Mediterranean Sea is Lebanon, firmly under the thumb of the Iranian-controlled Hezbollah.
These three tentacles not only reach out for Israel, but also for Jordan, a monarchy with a very stable and humanitarian king.
The tentacle to Israel’s south is Gaza, where Hamas is receiving continual funding from Iran. Exercising the philosophy that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, Shia Iran has no problem funding Hamas’ attacks on Israel.
On the south side of the Arabian Peninsula, Iran’s fifth tentacle works to create further regional conflict and to destabilize Saudi Arabia. It was from here Iranian-made drones and rockets, used by Houthi rebels, struck targets in Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. The U.S. designation of the Houthi rebels as a foreign terrorist organization was removed one month after Biden became president.
Iran’s tentacles stretch beyond the Middle East. If not for joint European police operations, the MOIS would have achieved success in its bomb plot to kill hundreds of Iranian opposition members and international government leaders outside Paris in 2018. This failed operation was supervised by the Iranian chief of security at its Austrian embassy.
In 2011, the FBI prevented IRGC from bombing a Washington, D.C. restaurant and killing the Saudi Ambassador to the United States and other patrons of the restaurant.
In 2019, the U.S. Department of Defense released a report attributing 605 American service-member deaths in Iraq to the IRGC. A joint FBI-Saudi Arabian government investigation proved the IRGC carried out the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing that killed 19 American service-members and wounded 498 citizens of numerous countries.
Sadly, the Clinton administration attempted to cover up IRGC involvement in Khobar Towers. The Obama administration downplayed Iran’s involvement in atrocities committed in Iraq against Sunnis who managed to survive Islamic state occupation. This included Pentagon spokesman, John Kirby, claiming there existed no evidence Iran had forces in Iraq while I had photographs of Qasem Soleimani in Kirkuk supervising Shia militias and Iranian troops.
The common denominator of the Clinton and Obama administrations glossing over Iranian involvements in international terrorist activities was that both presidencies were working nuclear weapons negotiation deals with Iran.
Now the Biden administration will be presenting us with part three of the same story. Iran will continue its role as the world’s number one exporter of state-sponsored terrorism.
Meanwhile, there should be no doubt the Biden Administration will continue to downplay the brutality of the Iranian government for the sake of getting a nuclear weapons deal that was never honored in its previous iterations.
Colonel Wes Martin (Ret.) served as an inspector for U.S. Department of Defense Nuclear Agency.