The Biden administration has apparently decided to totally ignore the involvement of Iran in Hamas's October 7 invasion of Israel. The Iranian regime, meanwhile, has been assisting Russia militarily in its war against Ukraine and is reportedly behind the latest Hamas terrorist massacre in Israel. The Biden administration, by ignoring sanctions against Iran's oil and gas exports, thereby enabling Iran to accumulate close to $60 billion with which to fund the Hamas war, as well as to advance its own nuclear weapons program.
Iran has not only been threatening the US with attacks, it has attacked US assets in Syria and Iraq 83 times since Biden became president, and at least 40 times in the past two weeks, wounding at least 46 American troops. Iran also recently threatened again to annihilate Israel, and has reportedly begun ordering its elite militias based in Syria into southern Lebanon "to participate in attacks on Israel."
Worse, Biden is reportedly again trying to meddle again in the government of a sovereign democracy by strongly intimating that he wants Israel's duly elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gone. The reason, presumably, is so that Biden can install some weakling who will do whatever Biden and his newly minted, extremely pro-Iran ambassador to Israel, Jack Lew, tell him. That doubtless includes approving some horrendous "nuclear deal" enabling Iran's to have as many nuclear weapons as the mullahs like after Biden leaves office, as well as preventing Israel from winning the war that the terrorist group Hamas started, the same way he is preventing Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky from winning the war that Russia started.
By effectively crippling America's oil production his first day in office and enabling Russia to sell its oil at inflated prices, Biden has literally financed Russia's war with up to $1 billion a day. In addition, by cancelling sanctions on Iran, Biden financed Iran's proxy war against Israel. The Biden administration, then, has funded both sides of two wars in two years.
To top everything off, Biden is calling – in the middle of a genocidal Palestinian war to annihilate the Jews – for a "Palestinian state." Perhaps he imagines that would burnish his image as having "done something." As a news analyst said, "That is not a 'two-state solution;' that is a 'final solution.'"
On April 21, 2018, the Commander of Iran's Army, Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi, warned:
"When the arrogant powers create a sanctuary for the Zionist regime to continue survival, we shouldn't allow one day to be added to the ominous and illegitimate life of this regime. The Army will move hand in hand with the IRGC so that the arrogant system will collapse and the Zionist regime will be annihilated."
A few hours later, Hassan Nasrallah, chief Iran's Lebanese proxy Hizballah, said:
"The forces of the resistance today have the ability, the power and the missiles to hit any target in Israel."
The Commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Hossein Salami, has made the strategy of his regime vehemently clear by stating on Iran state TV Channel 2, in 2019:
"Our strategy is to erase Israel from the global political map. And it seems that, considering the evil that Israel is doing, it is bringing itself closer to that."
Salami also bragged:
"Today, more than ever, there is fertile ground... for the annihilation... of the Zionist regime. In Lebanon alone, over 100,000 missiles are ready to be launched. If there is a will... these missiles will pierce through space, and will strike at the heart of the Zionist regime. They will prepare the ground for its great collapse in the new era".
The Iranian regime has set up weapons factories abroad for manufacturing advanced ballistic missiles and arm in foreign nations, including Syria. Some of the weapons Tehran is producing there include precision-guided missiles, using advanced technology to strike specific targets. Iran's uses its foreign weapons factories and proxy armies, such as Hamas, Hizballah, and the Houthis in Yemen, for "plausible deniability." Both of these methods of "outsourcing" its aggression give it an advantageous military capability for waging wars or striking other nations through third countries such as Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq.
Israel has "targeted 15 Iran-linked facilities... the fourth reported attack by Israel against Iranian targets in Syria in the past two and a half weeks." Last week, Yemen's Houthis, whom Secretary of State Antony Blinken removed from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations just weeks into Biden's term, fired missiles at Israel from Yemen.
As the Biden administration has not been enforcing sanctions and tried to hand the Iranian regime $6 billion more, Iran has been enjoying a windfall of revenues. In April 2023, a bipartisan group of 12 US Senators urged the Biden administration to enforce Iranian oil sanctions, writing:
"United States sanctions should be enforced to the fullest extent of the law. As Iranian oil sales continue to rise, and the IRGC continues to target U.S. citizens and service members, including inside the U.S., it is imperative that we use all available government assets to limit the activities of the Iranian regime."
US sanctions have not been hurting Iran's economy since the Biden administration assumed office. Iran is now producing more oil and selling it at levels higher to the pre-sanctions era to countries such as China. As Iran's hardline President Ebrahim Raisi boasted, "We are not worried about oil sales."
Tehran's major revenues come from exporting oil. The sale of oil accounts for nearly 60% of the government's total revenues and more than 80% of its export revenues. Several Iranian leaders have, in fact, hinted at Iran's major dependence on oil exports. "Although we have some other incomes, the only revenue that can keep the country going is the oil money," then President Hassan Rouhani acknowledged in 2019.
The White House is not taking any action.
The Biden administration must immediately impose drastic economic sanctions on Iran's energy and financial sectors. Such sanctions, as they did before, would threaten the ruling clerics' hold on power and to proceed with their nuclear program, forcing the leadership to recalculate its priorities. The US needs for once to hold those who violate commitments worldwide strictly accountable, and make clear that if they continue advancing their hostilities – with Iran, its nuclear weapons program -- military options are on the table.
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