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A 4-pronged strategy US must deploy to defeat world’s No. 1 state sponsor of terrorism

OpinionA 4-pronged strategy US must deploy to defeat world’s No. 1 state sponsor of terrorism

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The world is on fire, and the Biden White House is fanning the flames. 

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has continued to say, “Death to America is not just a slogan, it’s a policy.” The Biden administration must take these words seriously. Americans are still being held hostage by Hamas, and our servicemembers are under daily threat from Iran-backed groups. Following the Oct. 7 assault on Israel, there have been at least 56 attacks on U.S. troops by Iranian proxies, injuring nearly 60 Americans.  

Instead of President Joe Biden’s strategy of appeasement, the United States must follow a strategy of strength. In the Senate, I have outlined key aspects for how we must deter and defeat Iran.

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First, we must reject an Iranian nuclear deal. As our servicemembers, partners, and allies are bombarded, it is important to remember restoring the Obama-Biden Iran nuclear deal would do nothing to stop these attacks while further rewarding the regime’s support for terrorism.  

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in Tehran

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei attends a meeting with a group of students in Tehran, Iran, on Wednesday, Nov. 1. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

And even after witnessing the devastation Iran has inflicted on Israel, Americans, and the world, Biden just doubled down on this appeasement and unlocked $10 billion more for the ruthless regime. 

Second, we must hold Iran accountable for its terrorism against the United States and our partners. Since Biden took office, his refusal to enforce existing sanctions on Iran has lined the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) pockets with over $80 billion. That, coupled with an additional $6 billion for Biden’s “hostage deal,” has only emboldened Iran and greenlit more terrorism.  

In April, I demanded the Biden administration enforce much-needed sanctions on Iranian oil and gas shipments – pointing out that, even though there is available funding from the Treasury Department, the Homeland Security Investigations Office has not been empowered to seize Iranian oil and gas shipments.  

My new bipartisan bill, the Iranian Sanctions Enforcement Act, would equip the Homeland Security Investigations Office to interdict shipments and actually enforce oil sanctions on Iran. To prevent this from being undone by a future president, I am seeking to codify this authority into law.  

In response to the elimination of the terrorist general Qasem Soleimani, the IRGC has placed active bounties on the heads of former administration officials, including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. To this day, former officials face persistent threats to their lives from Iranian terrorists bent on revenge. Tehran has also expanded its range to target Iranian dissidents living in the U.S.   

That’s why I’m also working to reinstate a maximum pressure campaign on Iranian government officials and the regime’s energy and financial sector through my PUNISH Act. My effort would prevent the Biden administration from lifting sanctions until the State Department can certify that the IRGC has not supported any attempt or activity in the last five years to kill a U.S. citizen, a former or current U.S. official, or an Iranian dissident living within the United States.  

Finally, we must support the expansion of the Abraham Accords. Iran fears peace more than anything, and it views the Abraham Accords as a threat just as powerful as America’s high-powered weapons.  

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As co-chair of the Senate Abraham Accords Caucus, I continue to show our Arab partners that Israel is not only worth defending, but cooperative security is worth joining in the campaign against Iran and its proxies. 

And even after witnessing the devastation Iran has inflicted on Israel, Americans, and the world, Biden just doubled down on this appeasement and unlocked $10 billion more for the ruthless regime. 

That’s why I have led bipartisan efforts to expand Israel’s regional defense partnerships against Iran, including my DEFEND Act, which is now law, to develop an integrated air and missile defense infrastructure with Middle Eastern partners.  

This infrastructure is key to American security in the region. In fact, the Department of Defense has admitted this integration has been used to defend Israel and U.S. servicemembers against incoming missiles and drones from Iran and its proxies.  

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Looking forward, I am working to pass the bipartisan MARITIME Act, which will increase our ability to defend against illegal Iranian maritime activities. These initiatives not only reduce the burden on U.S. forces but drastically expand the range and capabilities of our partners and allies against Iran-backed proxies.   

The world’s No. 1 state sponsor of terrorism is never to be trusted. Iran is counting on Biden’s appeasement to continue its onslaught. Congress must take measures to cut Biden’s billions flowing to Iran, hold the regime accountable for their attempts to kill Americans, and strengthen and further grow the Abraham Accords. By doing so, we can keep Americans and our servicemembers safe and send an important, clear signal of support to our partners and allies in the region.  

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM SEN. JONI ERNST

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