The Biden administration must not exclude the U.S. regional allies and the American people from the ongoing negotiations with the Iranian regime and keep them in the dark: they are the ones directly affected by any "deal." Pictured: Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani (R) and his delegation leave a negotiating session at Coburg Palais in Vienna, Austria on December 3, 2021. (Photo by Joe Klamar/AFP via Getty Images)
The Biden administration must not exclude the U.S. regional allies and the American people from the ongoing negotiations with the Iranian regime and keep them in the dark: they are the ones directly affected by any "deal."
How could America allow Israel -- not to mention itself -- to be excluded from the negotiations to lift sanctions on the Iranian regime when the ruling mullahs have made it clear that their top ideological priority is to eradicate the Jewish state and "wipe Israel off the map"? Recently, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, known as the "butcher of Tehran" after reportedly being involved in the 1988 massacre of nearly 30,000 political prisoners, openly called again for the destruction of Israel:
"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."
In addition, General Esmail Ghaani, the head of the Quds Force, vowed his backing to any group that attacked Israel:
"We support any front that is formed against this criminal regime," he proclaimed, "and we will support any community that is ready to fight this criminal regime".
The Iranian regime has for decades been using its proxies, Hamas and Hezbollah, repeatedly to attack Israel. Lately, Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, praised the deadly rocket attacks from Gaza and Lebanon against Israel.
Furthermore, how could the Gulf states, the repeated target of Iran's terror groups, have been excluded from the negotiations to remove sanctions against Iran's regime? A few days after the Biden administration removed Yemen's Houthis from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations in February 2021, the U.S. State Department had to call on the Houthis to "immediately cease attacks impacting civilian areas inside Saudi Arabia and to halt any new military offensives inside Yemen." Nevertheless, on January 17, 2022, the Houthis attacked the United Arab Emirates, blew up three oil tanker trucks in Abu Dhabi, and killed three people.
The leader of Lebanon's Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, also recently threatened that Iran would attack Arab nations if they allowed Israel to use their territory as a military base.
When it comes to the U.S., the Iranian regime, specifically the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), has plenty of blood on its hands. Attacks that the IRGC was involved in include 9/11, for which a U.S. federal court ordered Iran to pay $7.5 billion to the victims' families; the 1983 bombing in Lebanon of the U.S. Marines barracks, in which 241 Marines were killed; the 1984 United States Embassy annex bombing in Beirut and the USS Cole bombing.
Iran's regime has been killing Americans and taking hostages for over four decades. This is a regime that, while the Biden administration was offering it sanctions reliefs, released a video showing the IRGC blowing up the U.S. Capitol. "Last week, Iran's chief diplomat allegedly admitted the IRGC calls the shots in Tehran," US Senator Pat Toomey tweeted in response to the footage. "Now, Iran releases a fake video of the [IRGC] blowing up our Capitol."
As 49 U.S. senators recently warned the Biden administration in a joint statement:
"By every indication, the Biden Administration appears to have given away the store. The administration appears to have agreed to lift sanctions that were not even placed on Iran for its nuclear activities in the first place, but instead because of its ongoing support for terrorism and its gross abuses of human rights. The nuclear limitations in this new deal appear to be significantly less restrictive than the 2015 nuclear deal, which was itself too weak, and will sharply undermine U.S. leverage to secure an actually 'longer and stronger' deal. What is more, the deal appears likely to deepen Iran's financial and security relationship with Moscow and Beijing, including through arms sales."
Now, Iran's negotiating team -- with which U.S. interests are being negotiated by the same Russia currently trying to crush the Western-backed democracy, Ukraine -- has excluded not only the U.S., but also those countries directly impacted by Iran's nuclear breakout and terrorism: the latest countries it is devouring: Syria and Iraq.
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