These US rewards to Iran for terrorism, destabilizing the region, treating its own people with brutality and cheating on 2015 nuclear deal would significantly increase Iran's revenues; these, in turn, will doubtless be funneled into the pockets of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Quds Force and their militia and terror groups including Hamas, the Houthis and Hezbollah for still more expansionism and terror. Pictured: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi delivers a speech in Tehran, on January 3, 2022. (Photo by Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images)
When it to comes to the Iranian regime, all the Biden administration seems to care about is appeasing the ruling mullahs, reaching a weak nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic, and enhancing the global legitimacy of a country that the US itself called "the world's worst state sponsor of terrorism."
These US rewards to Iran for terrorism, destabilizing the region, treating its own people with brutality and cheating on 2015 nuclear deal would significantly increase Iran's revenues; these, in turn, will doubtless be funneled into the pockets of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Quds Force and their militia and terror groups including Hamas, the Houthis and Hezbollah for still more expansionism and terror.
Since the Biden administration assumed office, it has pursued the maximum appeasement policy with the ruling mullahs of Iran. These acts have included removing one of Tehran's terrorist proxy groups, the Houthis, from the List of Foreign Terrorist Organizations, as well as lifting sanctions on Iranian entities involved in missile production, the Mammut Industrial Group and its subsidiary Mammut Diesel, which had been sanctioned by the Trump administration. Appeasement also included turning a blind eye to the theocratic establishment's military adventurism in the region, such as launching barrages of missiles in Iraq where US troops were stationed; sending precision guided missiles to Syria, and smuggling weapons to the Houthis in Yemen.
How has the Iranian regime responded to America's attempts at propitiation? By launching more missiles near US bases in Iraq and by ratcheting up its threats against US allies in the Middle East, primarily Israel. Only last week, at the end of April, reports surfaced that Israel's Mossad has recently foiled terrorist attempts by the Iranian regime to assassinate an Israeli diplomat who works at the Israeli consulate in Istanbul, as well as an American General stationed in Germany and a journalist in France. The names of the individuals targeted were not revealed.
Also late last month, Mansour Rasouli, a member of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), was arrested in a European country in relation to the planned terrorist attack. He was reportedly a member of Unit 840 of the Quds Force, an elite branch of one of the five militias of the IRGC, and the one that conducts foreign operations to export the mullahs' Islamic revolution abroad. Rasouli reportedly received $150,000 to prepare the assassinations, and was promised an additional $1 million after he killed the three targets. It is at the moment unclear if the Biden administration is considering removing the IRGC, designated as a terrorist organization by the Trump administration, from the List of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. The Biden administration might be retaining just the Quds Force on the list, an act that that would create a grievously fictitious loophole that the ruling Iranian regime will be sure to exploit to the fullest.
Recently, Israel's intelligence services foiled an assassination attempt against an Israeli businessman, Yair Geller, in Turkey. The Iranian cell, consisting of nine individuals, was reportedly run by Yassin Tahermkandi, age 53, an Iranian-based intelligence officer, and Saleh Mushtag Bhighus, his Turkish counterpart. Iran's regime also targets foreign political leaders and diplomats whom the regime opposes, and recently has called for the assassination of high-level American officials . The Iranian regime apparently also has "target packages," which presumably include foreign citizens, residents who are human rights defenders, critics of the Iranian leaders, political activists, and dissidents.
On April 29, 2022, the ruling mullahs of Iran and Hezbollah also held "al-Quds Day," or Jerusalem Day, where demonstrators chant "Death to Israel" and "Death to America" while the Iranian regime shows support for Palestinians and promotes the destruction of the Jewish state. Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, one of Iran's proxy militias, praised recent deadly rocket attacks against Israel coming from Gaza and Lebanon. He also threatened other Arab nations that they will be attacked by Iran if they allow Israel to use their territory as a military base.
Additionally, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi openly called for the destruction of Israel as he addressed anti-Israeli rallies:
"This great movement that we are witnessing today in the form of protests is a symbol of the solidarity of the Muslim people that will lead to the destruction of the Zionist regime."
Other high level officials joined him, including General Esmail Ghaani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps's expeditionary force, as well as the Quds Force, who announced his support for any group that will attack Israel. "We support any front that is formed against this criminal regime," he announced, "and we will support any community that is ready to fight this criminal regime". IRGC commander General Hossein Salami stated that his government will not give up until it reaches its goal of destroying Israel:
"You know we are people of action and reaction. Our answers are painful and we set the stage for our goals. We will not give up on you, wait; You have seen our answers."
And on occasion of the recent Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Iranian regime's state-controlled daily newspaper Kayhan published a front-page article praising Hitler and bashing the Jews, which stated:
"[T]he logic that Hitler showed by expelling them [the Jews] from Germany is that he is smarter and more courageous than all current European leaders".
The editor-in-chief of Kayhan, Hossein Shariatmadari, is considered to be close advisor and representative of the Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. European nations, it adds, have "endorsed the myth of the Holocaust" because they are looking for an "excuse for [their] cowardice and humiliation." The Iranian regime also sponsors Holocaust denial cartoon contests.
Instead of standing with its staunch allies in the Middle East, the Biden administration appears determined to stand with the Iranian regime. The ruling mullahs nonetheless appear intent on taking over their oil-rich neighbors (such as here and here), and eliminating Israel and the United States -- all as America seems to imagine, falsely, that it can bribe its way into being spared.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He has authored several books on Islam and US foreign policy. He can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@Post.Harvard.Edu