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Biden enriched Iran by more than $50 billion. Here's how to turn off the spigot

OpinionBiden enriched Iran by more than $50 billion. Here's how to turn off the spigot

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The shocking news came just over a week ago, on October 7: Iran’s proxy terror force Hamas had flooded across Israel’s border and within hours had slaughtered hundreds of Israelis.

While the Biden administration was no doubt shocked too, it shouldn’t have been surprised that its relentless appeasement of Iran is now exposed for the folly it is.

Others are noticing as well, which is why Biden is being pressured to re-freeze the $6 billion hostage ransom payment made to Iran last month. A good start perhaps, but it doesn’t address Biden’s months-long Iran sanctions relief campaign totaling more than $50 billion that only emboldened Tehran’s commitment to sponsor terrorism. 

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Congress should now demand an end to all of it, not just the $6 billion. 

Here’s why:

In May, White House Middle East Coordinator Brett McGurk secretly traveled traveled to Oman to pass a message along to Iran: America will pay the Ayatollah’s price to keep Tehran from producing weapons-grade uranium. Later that month, the Sultan of Oman traveled to Iran to broker the deal while the governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) — an institution subject to U.S. sanctions for its role in terror financing — unexpectedly departed for Washington. 

With dozens of Americans living in Israel dead at Hamas’ hands, and many more missing or held hostage in Gaza, how can the president of the United States look those families in the eye and tell them it’s in America’s interest to appease the regime that sponsored this massacre? 

In June, leaks to Israeli media revealed the extraordinary concessions Biden made to the Ayatollah: Iran would “stop the process of enriching uranium to high levels” in exchange for sanctions relief.

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The Biden administration then issued a sanctions waiver to provide Iran with at least $10 billion frozen in Iraq – and allow the money to be deposited in Iranian bank accounts in Oman. 

Unnamed officials would soon admit the U.S. had already stopped enforcing oil sanctions on Iran – tacitly approving a million barrel per day increase in exports from Iran to China and generating tens of billions in annualized revenue. By the time the administration authorized the much-discussed $6 billion from South Korea, a full-blown appeasement and enrichment effort towards Iran had been underway for months.

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This is why fixating only on the $6 billion obscures how Biden has financed Iran’s nuclear protection racket, emboldened its murderous regime, and enabled the mullahs to focus their resources on destroying Israel, the one country conducting operations to stop Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons. 

The Biden message sent to the ayatollah is that the U.S. fears escalation and will pay any price to avoid a direct confrontation. That was a green light for Iran to activate its terror subsidiaries and commence the kind of barbaric slaughter we witnessed last week. 

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While Biden’s words condemn Hamas’ heinous crimes against humanity, he continues to enrich Hamas’ parent company, Iran. And while Biden is correctly giving Israel the time, space, and resources it needs to prepare for Hamas’ destruction, he’s simultaneously giving Iran the time, space, and resources it needs to rebuild that which Israel destroys. 

With dozens of Americans living in Israel dead at Hamas’ hands, and many more missing or held hostage in Gaza, how can the president of the United States look those families in the eye and tell them it’s in America’s interest to appease the regime that sponsored this massacre? 

Does the White House still believe it can trust a handshake deal with the ayatollah to stop developing nuclear weapons even after their negotiating partner just sponsored a horrific slaughter?

Put simply, an anti-Hamas policy and pro-Iran policy cannot coexist. Reversing course starts by locking down all funds made available for Iran this year – in Iraq, Oman, and Qatar. It also includes enforcing oil sanctions already on the books, which the White House has refused to do. 

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With only days remaining before the U.N.’s missile embargo on Iran expires, too, the administration and our European allies should be pressed to immediately trigger the snapback of all U.N. sanctions on Iran.

But after all that has happened, if the White House still won’t shut down its campaign of Iran appeasement, the Congress should show them how. 

Richard Goldberg is senior advisor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former National Security Council official.

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