Wicker Advocates Tough-On-Iran Approach

President Biden Coddles Rogue Nation, Risking Nuclear Tehran

October 9, 2023

We expect America’s enemies to look for ways to break down our door. We do not expect our own leaders to open it and let them in. But just last week, the Biden administration reaffirmed its support for a high-level Department of Defense employee who allowed herself to be influenced by one of our chief adversaries. Recent reports indicate that Dr. Ariane Tabatabai, a national security official, is a member of a group Iran created to promote its agenda to American leaders.

I was among the first to call for the immediate termination of Dr. Tabatabai’s security clearance. I led over 30 Senate Republicans in a letter to the Secretary of Defense, demanding that he make sure classified material was not compromised. We also requested more information about her involvement with the Iran-backed campaign.

It makes no sense that Dr. Tabatabai should retain her Department of Defense position. But instead of reversing course, the president has doubled down. She remains at her post, and President Biden continues to coddle Iran. 

Iran Cannot Be Trusted

The Supreme Leader of Iran pursues a dark agenda. His administration is inching closer to possessing a nuclear bomb, and it regularly suppresses the rights of women and girls. Last year, his morality police murdered 22-year-old Mahsa Amini for the “crime” of not wearing a head scarf. He has even tried to assassinate several Americans within our borders – simply because they speak against his regime. Simply put, Tehran is dangerous and untrustworthy. But President Biden sees Iran with rose-colored glasses, naively treating them like good-faith negotiators.

In 2018, President Trump withdrew from the Obama-Iran nuclear deal. He was right to do so, and he replaced it with tough sanctions that gave Iran a financial incentive to improve. President Biden’s softer approach has removed that motivation. In May 2021, Iran-backed terrorists shelled Israel. Instead of backing our ally, the president negotiated sanctions relief with Tehran. A few months later, his disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal communicated diminished American will in the Middle East. The administration even considered removing the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) terrorist designation, and last month they released $6 billion to the country in a prisoner swap. Iran agreed to use the money for humanitarian purposes, but then its president said what everyone already knew: Iran would spend the funds however it pleased.

Resist Iran by Firing Dr. Tabatabai

The United States faces an increasingly hostile world. Russia and China have demonstrated their appetite for aggression, and the last thing we need is a nuclear Iran. The world’s foremost state sponsor of terror does not deserve a seat at the negotiating table. Instead, I advocate for a tough approach.

I have opposed the president’s sanctions talks with Iran, and I have lobbied him to keep labeling the IRGC a terrorist group. I have also supported the PUNISH Act. This bill would enforce sanctions against Tehran until it ceases any attempts to assassinate Americans on our soil.

A nuclear-free Iran has been U.S. policy for decades. We are far more likely to accomplish this by avoiding give-away deals and by strengthening our military. Our goal should be to deter Iran from even considering moving against us.

Being tough on the Ayatollah helps the United States, its allies, and also the oppressed Iranian people. President Biden’s lenient policy sends cash to the anti-American Supreme Leader and jeopardizes our closest regional partner, Israel. Economic sanctions and American military power is our best chance of isolating Iran. The president may be unwilling to take these steps, but removing Dr. Tabatabai would be a great way to start.