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Iranian Americans and exiles increase pressure on Biden to end negotiations with Iran

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Iran

As the world rallies around the women’s rights movement protesting the Islamic regime following the death of 22-year-old Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, the pressure on Biden to cease nuclear negotiations intensifies.

“Iranian Americans have held rallies in Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco and many other places in the U.S., chanting for the downfall of Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, while calling on the international community to help” writes the Foreign Desk.

During a Sunday rally at the Los Angeles Federal building in Westwood, many young and old attendees spoke to the Foreign Desk and explained their reasons for being against a nuclear agreement while speaking on condition of anonymity:

While many Iranians have been vocal on social media and are attending solidarity protests, most are still fearful of retribution against their friends and family in Iran and requested that their actual names not be used in writing this piece. 

Some Iranian Americans stated that negotiations with Iranian officials would “legitimize the regime and their actions.” Other rallygoers explained that by negotiating with Iran’s regime and removing the economic sanctions, the regime could “build a nuclear bomb against Israel and the U.S..” Instead, they argued that the President should “do more” to punish the Islamic regime and “target its leadership.”

Young Iranian immigrants at the rally argued that instead of removing economic sanctions as stipulated in the nuclear negotiations, the President should actually “put more economic sanctions on the regime,” and that by placing harsher sanctions on the regime, their friends, family members, and the whole country would suffer, but it would significantly “hurt the regime.” 

When asked if they were confident that President Biden would stop negotiations with the regime, many believed that the administration would continue their talks, no matter how big the outcry.

The Foreign Desk  explains that the Iranian regime continues to crack down on protesters without relent. However, the State Department has again confirmed its intention to pursue a nuclear agreement with Iran’s regime.

“We are doing everything we can not only to support the human rights and the aspirations for greater freedom of the Iranian people, but also to hold accountable those within the Iranian system that are responsible for violence against the Iranian people,” said U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price. “When it comes to Iran, though, there would be no greater challenge to the U.S., to our partners, and to the broader international system than an Iran with a nuclear weapon,” said Price.

Price acknowledged that while a deal is not guaranteed to come together, he stated that America has been “sincere and steadfast” in negotiating a potential return to the nuclear agreement but reiterated that the U.S. is “not willing to bend.”

Many experts are comparing the President’s decision to negotiate with the regime amid the crackdowns to President Obama’s actions during the 2009 Green Revolution, where Iranian citizens took to the streets to protest the rigged presidential election results.

Iranian leaders like exiled Prince Reza Pahlavi stated that a nuclear agreement with Iran would be “worse” than the one signed in 2015.

“The Iranian regime has the capability, the technology, and the material to fabricate a bomb,” Pahlavi said. According to the Prince, the failure of the original Iran nuclear agreement would result in “the regime becoming even more radical.”

“Repeating the same mistake with hindsight is even worse than the first one,” he added.

Lawmakers in the House and Senate have called on the administration to cancel nuclear negotiations with Iran and enact a maximum pressure campaign against the regime just like the former Trump administration did. Members of Congress from both political sides have vowed that they will not vote to lift sanctions from Iran or officially finalize a nuclear agreement should one come through.

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EXCLUSIVE: Former Trump appointee explains an ‘America First Strategy’ in the ME

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Photo: Israeli Government

The author interviewed Ellie Cohanim, one of the authors of the new book: “An America First Approach to US National Security.” Ellie is the former U.S. Deputy Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism under the Trump administration. She is currently a Senior Fellow with the Independent Women’s Forum focusing on Iran, Israel, and global antisemitism, and is a national security contributor for the Christian Broadcasting Network. In 2021, Ellie launched and hosted for Jewish News Syndicate 30 plus episodes of the show “Global Perspectives with Ellie Cohanim.” Ellie spent 15 years in media and NGO management before serving in the public sector. How would you define an “America First” strategy in the Middle East?

Cohanim: An America First strategy in the Middle East would seek to advance American national security interests in that region, while maintaining our status as THE global superpower. To do that, the US would ensure that our principal allies in the region, countries like Saudi Arabia and Israel, are economically and militarily strong, and that our adversaries in the region are deterred.

Postal: How has the United States’ standing in the Middle East differed between the Trump and Biden administrations?

Cohanim: Under President Trump, for four years we had peace, stability and prosperity in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region. Under President Biden, in just three tumultuous years there has been war in the region, which holds the potential for becoming a regional conflict and even a nuclear confrontation. Meanwhile, the US’ status in the region and the world has diminished due to Biden’s disastrous mishandling of the Afghanistan withdrawal, his emboldening of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and his weak response to Iranian attacks on our personnel and assets in the region. 

 

Postal: Do you think the United States and Israel are/were in a stronger position to deter Iran’s nuclear and territorial ambitions in Biden or Trump’s administration?

Cohanim: America’s position of strength has not changed under either administration vis-à-vis the Islamic Republic of Iran. What has changed is our Iran policy. Under President Trump’s administration, the US contained and constrained Tehran. Trump applied a “Maximum Pressure” sanctions campaign which left the Iranian Regime with only $4 billion in accessible foreign currency reserves by the end of his term, giving the Iranians less cash and less ability to fund their terror proxies and their nuclear program, and Trump eliminated Qassem Soleimani. While all President Biden needed to do was to continue implementing such successful policies, his administration instead did the exact opposite.  Under the Biden administration, Israel, our leading ally in the region, was attacked for the first time directly from Iranian soil. This was an unprecedented escalatory attack by the Iranian regime, and could only happen under the Biden administration.

Postal: In your chapter of the book, you discuss the weakening of US relations with Israel and Saudi Arabia under the Biden administration. How has the Biden administration affected the likelihood of future normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and deals between Israel and other Muslim countries (i.e., new Abraham Accords)?

Cohanim: The good news is that the Abraham Accords have withstood the test of multiple Hamas provocations against Israel, and now the current war. Despite numerous claims from the Biden administration regarding “successful” efforts to normalize ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel, I do not think that the Biden administration will be able to clinch such a deal. In the Middle East, people have a long memory. Saudi Arabia’s de-facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has not forgotten President Biden’s snub when he first came into office, and Biden’s incredibly poorly advised behavior towards the Crown Prince when he made his first visit to the Kingdom as president. The last thing the Crown Prince wants is to hand Biden his first foreign policy success with a Rose Garden peace deal ceremony. So, I do not believe President Biden can broker Saudi/Israeli normalization.

However, I am also convinced that it is a matter of “when” and not “if” such a peace deal will happen between those two countries, as it serves both of their interests to make such a deal. The Saudis understand better than anyone that it is the Islamic Republic of Iran that threatens the Kingdom’s security and stability, not Israel.

Postal: What do you think of the Biden administration’s latest statements withholding arms to Israel?

Cohanim: President Biden will go down in history for his abject moral failure in not standing by Israel while she fights a five-front war. Biden has shown his despicable personality for trying to keep his anti-Israel arms embargo concealed until he could first deliver a speech on the Holocaust. Biden’s behavior is despicable on so many levels.

Ultimately, Biden is betraying the American people. He came into office presenting himself as a “centrist Democrat,” but has proven repeatedly to be beholden to the radical, extremist, pro-Hamas wing of his party.

Postal: How does the Biden administration’s support of a Palestinian state differ from the Trump administration’s support of a Palestinian state under its Peace to Prosperity framework?

Cohanim: The Biden administration stated that they will “unilaterally recognize” a Palestinian state. What the borders of that state are and who would lead it, nobody knows. 

The Trump administration’s “Peace to Prosperity” was a detailed plan that was premised on the realities on the ground in Israel. The plan required that the Palestinians reach benchmarks proving a real desire to live in peace with their Israeli neighbors. It included over $50 billion in investment in the region, which would have been a road to prosperity for all. Perhaps most significantly, the Palestinian state envisioned under the Trump plan would have been demilitarized, the wisdom of which could not be more clear following the October 7 massacre and attack.

The author would like to thank Ellie Cohanim for participating in this interview.

 

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