Incredibly, after the horrific October 7 attack against Israel by Hamas (Iranian terrorist proxy), new aggression against Israel by Yemen’s Houthi rebels (also an Iranian terrorist proxy), and a surge in attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria by Iran-backed militias, the Biden Administration last week approved a $10 billion sanctions waiver for Iran.
Apparently because of how controversial this payment is, the Biden Administration tried to keep it secret. However, it was revealed by Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.), who entered details of the waiver into the congressional record, according to the Wall Street Journal.
This foolish and dangerous decision to give Iran access to $10 billion is an indication that despite Iran’s responsibility for the recent wave of deadly violence in the Middle East, the Biden Administration plans to continue to appease Iran and has not dropped its determination to negotiate a new nuclear agreement with Iran that is even worse than the controversial JCPOA agreement negotiated by the Obama Administration.
According to the Journal, the $10 billion dollar waiver was part of an unwritten agreement with Iran intended to keep the Middle East quiet until after the November 2024 U.S. elections. As I wrote in American Greatness on August 4 and September 8, this is a secret, unwritten deal agreed to last spring that will give Iran $20 billion in sanctions relief and allow it to enrich uranium to a dangerous level just short of weapons-grade.
This agreement reportedly was negotiated by Biden officials as a secret and unwritten “understanding” to evade congressional oversight.
A $6 billion ransom payment agreed to last August to free five innocent Americans imprisoned in Iran was part of the secret deal. American and Qatari officials froze the $6 billion on October 12 in response to pressure from Members of Congress because of reports that Iran was behind the Hamas terrorist attack against Israel.
However, several lawmakers, including Rep. Mike Waltz, have questioned whether the freeze of these funds is permanent and believe they will be turned over to Iran in a few months after international outrage over the Hamas terrorist attack has faded. The new $10 billion sanctions waiver is an indication that Iran will eventually receive the $6 billion, possibly soon.
The $10 billion waiver was approved by Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Biden Administration officials defended the waiver by claiming these funds would be used by Iraq to buy electricity from Iran and insisted that these funds could only be used for “humanitarian and other non-sanctionable purposes.”
These explanations are ridiculous not just because money is fungible but because Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has said Iran will spend funds from U.S. sanctions waivers “wherever we need it.”
But even more absurd is the notion that instead of holding Iran responsible for funding and training Hamas, Hezbollah, and Houthi terrorists and Syrian and Iraqi militias in the aftermath of the worst violence against the Jewish people since the Holocaust, the Biden Administration decided to reward Iran with $10 billion.
The Biden Administration decided to continue to honor its secret deal with Iran after Hamas terrorists funded, armed, and trained by Iran invaded Israel, murdered 1,300 Israelis, and took an estimated 240 hostages back to Gaza.
This comes on top of an estimated $71 billion in additional revenue Iran accrued since 2021 because the Biden Administration failed to enforce U.S. sanctions, mostly on Iranian oil exports. This windfall enabled Iran to increase funding of Hamas and other terrorist proxies.
This Biden Administration’s feckless approach to Iran reflects a deeply incompetent foreign policy that has undermined America’s credibility on the world stage and emboldened U.S. adversaries.
Making this worse, the Biden Administration has tried to implement bad foreign policies in secret to hide them from the American people and congressional oversight.
Robert Gates wrote in his memoir that then-Vice President Joe Biden was “wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” Gates’ memoir was published in 2014. Nine years later, President Joe Biden is in charge of U.S. foreign policy while suffering from visible mental decline and surrounded by a team of extremely weak foreign policy advisers.
This is how we get inexplicable foreign policy decisions such as agreeing to pay Iran billions of dollars after it sponsored a genocidal attack against Israel. This is why our world is so much more unstable today than it was when President Trump left office.
How much more damage will Joe Biden do to American and global security in the 424 days left in his first term?
Fred Fleitz is vice-chair of the America First Policy Institute Center for American Security. He previously served as National Security Council chief of staff, CIA analyst and a House Intelligence Committee staff member.