Joe Biden has underestimated Iran – opinion

©The Jerusalem Post

JOE BIDEN (photo credit: TOM BRENNER/REUTERS)

As the United States begins to transition away from the Trump administration, there is already great concern when it comes to the future Biden administration and Iran. Whether or not one supports President-elect Joe Biden, every American – and Israeli – should be concerned at the idea of a US president who is unwilling to see Iran for the sinister player in the Middle East it is.
For years, Iran has been meddling in Syria (and the rest of the Middle East) and serving as a destabilizing and violent force – by funding and aiding terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, training Syrian forces to carry out their strategic operations, and setting up military bases. Thanks to Iran, dozens of military sites controlled by Hezbollah are located on the Golan Heights border.
Understandably, the IDF’s response has been to repeatedly strike Iranian targets in Syria that were established since 2011 to carry out espionage and military activities against Israel. This month, tensions escalated after the IDF discovered three bombs on the Syria-Israel border that were placed by Syrians at the behest of Iran in a failed attack. The IDF retaliated by heavily striking, “warehouses, command posts and military complexes, as well as batteries of surface-to-air missiles” in Syria that were controlled by Iran. Fourteen Iranian or pro-Iranian forces were reported killed in the attack.
Iran (as has been its policy for years) flatly denies building a military presence in the region, and in an almost comical facade, claims its presence in Syria is merely “advisory.” Following the recent IDF airstrikes, Iran both restated its role is advisory and not military, while simultaneously threatening Israel with a “crushing response” to its actions. Anyone who cannot read between the lines and see Iran’s malicious intent is either ignorant or willfully blind.
But Iran’s military “exports” (or should we say “advisory roles”?) aren’t limited to Syria. Iran has nearly destroyed Lebanon by emboldening Hezbollah; it has decimated Yemen with an ongoing bloody conflict and military and fiscal support for an Iranian proxy group; it has escalated a desperate situation in Iraq by setting up proxy militias there; and it has sent Shia militias to fight in Libya on behalf of Turkey as well. All this while it continues to develop its nuclear program far beyond the limits specified in the Iran nuclear deal, and systematically violates the most basic of human rights for its own citizens.
You would think the US president-elect, no matter party he represented, would know better than to believe a regime hell-bent on war in five countries (and counting). Sadly, Mr. Biden has expressed his commitment to the completely defunct Iran nuclear deal in what is likely an overreaction to Trump’s policies – even the good ones.
Instead of taking a stand against the bloodthirsty Iranian regime, President-elect Biden would like to lift sanctions on Iran imposed by President Trump in 2015, enabling them to even more effectively fund terrorism and violence throughout the region. A return to the Iran deal would also be a hugely unpopular decision with Gulf states, including key US allies such as Saudi Arabia, which has expanded cooperation and ties with the United States throughout Trump’s presidency. Appealing to, or rather appeasing Iran, is sending the wrong message to Iran and the wrong message to American allies.
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Proponents of the Iran deal, which includes some of Biden’s supporters, argue that the Iran deal is the “best we can get” and that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is more “moderate” than other Iranian hardliners. But these proponents are missing a critical point: You don’t give in to bullies, and you don’t appease genocidal dictatorships. Returning to the Iran deal would mean just that.
Regardless of Trump’s and Biden’s starkly contrasting policies on domestic issues in America, both men should absolutely agree on one thing: Iran is a violent, human-rights abusing, terrorist-supporting regime that acts without any regard for international law and puts American lives at risk. The threat of Iran should be perceived as bipartisan because it is bipartisan. After all, intercontinental ballistic missiles don’t discriminate between Democrats and Republicans. It would be a historic mistake of the incoming Biden administration to throw out Trump’s policy on Iran.
The writer is CEO of Social Lite Creative LLC.
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