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Press Release Published: Sep 14, 2023

Hearing Wrap Up: Biden Administration has Failed to Act Transparently or Assertively In Actions and Negotiations with Iranian Regime

WASHINGTON—The Subcommittee on National Security, the Border, and Foreign Affairs held a joint hearing titled, “A Dangerous Strategy: Examining the Biden Administration’s Failures on Iran.” Members discussed with subject matter experts how the Biden Administration has participated without transparency in unlawful negotiations with Iran, facilitated a ransom payment to Iran to free five Americans, and provided no explanation for the removal of a top special envoy. Members also discussed how the Biden Administration’s reversal of the “maximum pressure” strategy has allowed Iran to skirt sanctions, supply U.S. adversaries like China and Russia with oil and weapons, and decrease stability in the Middle East.

Key Takeaways:

The Biden Administration is having unacknowledged negotiations with the Iranian Regime over its nuclear arsenal and has failed to brief Congress or the American people on any such negotiations with Iran. This violates established federal laws.

  • Richard Goldberg— Senior Advisor at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies—broke down the Biden Administration’s actions and negotiations with Iran which have been obfuscated to the American public and Congress: “While the White House and State Department deny the existence of this agreement for political and legal reasons, the overwhelming evidence points to an undeniable conclusion: America is paying Iran’s extortion racket, ceding to Tehran nuclear threshold status just to avoid making tough decisions before next year’s presidential election.”

  • Mr. Goldberg continued: “We are in a nuclear deal today. We are in a nuclear deal right now. They negotiated it in secret since May. They have been issuing waivers tied to their nuclear program of Iran under false pretenses, now twice. One for Iraq for $10 billion dollars and now for South Korea $6 billion dollars. They have been violating U.S. law by not enforcing our oil sanctions, tacitly allowing oil exports to skyrocket with 200 barrels a day going to China.”

The Iranian Regime has extorted a $6 billion dollar payment in addition to five Iranian prisoners in a swap for detained Americans, showing the Biden Administration’s feeble negotiating ability and incentivizing Iran’s further hostage taking .

  • Michael Makovsky— President and CEO of the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA)—discussed the issue of Iran moving around fungible money after the Biden Administration falsely claimed the money paid for the prisoners is only allowed for humanitarian purposes: “I think also the issue is even if they [use the money for humanitarian purposes], money is fungible so that would just free up other money that they could spend on other things for far more nefarious purposes.”

The Biden Administration strategy thus far has shown weakness and must return to the policy of maximum pressure to stop the Iranian regime from skirting sanctions and funding terrorism and U.S. adversaries around the globe, making Americans less safe at home and abroad.

  • Victoria Coates— Vice President of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy at the Heritage Foundation—posed the question why the Biden Administration isn’t doing more to combat the hostile actions of the Iranian regime: “Again the question becomes why is the Biden administration allowing these exports, which enrich Tehran with resources they will only use to attack America and our allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia and provide the energy our enemy China desperately needs at a discount price? Certainly, demonstrating a willingness to tolerate rising Iranian exports was a key concession to tempt the regime back to negotiations in the first place.”

Member Highlights:

Subcommittee on National Security, the Border, and Foreign Affairs Chairman Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.) examined what further actions should be undertaken by the U.S. and the international community to increase pressure and positioning with the Iranian regime.

Rep. Grothman: “Mrs. Coates, what additional steps do you think should be taken by the U.S. and the international community to ensure Iran’s cooperation with facility inspections?”

Mrs. Coates: “The revelation of the Iranian nuclear archive in 2018 was a critical revelation of the internal failures of the original JCPOA which was not negotiated in good faith. Clearly, if the regime in Tehran has wanted a good faith gesture towards the Americans, handing over that archive would have been a way to increase confidence in the deal ten-fold. So, I think that the fact that they are not a believable, credible, negotiating partner is the fundamental problem when you’re dealing with a situation like their nuclear program. I would suggest if one wanted to get to a comprehensive deal that would give the American people some confidence that we weren’t kick the can down the road yet again with yet another rogue nuclear program, that we would insist on changes in their sponsorship of regional proxies, we would insist on restrictions on their missile programs, and concur completely that we would stand with the Iranian people against the regime that has oppressed them for so long.”

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) zeroed in on the Biden Administration’s negotiating practices which thus far have handed the hostile Iranian regime everything they’ve wanted without any notification to Congress.

Rep. Foxx: “What is your assessment of the Biden Administration’s negotiating team and position?

Mr. Goldberg: “I think if we go back to the beginning of 2021 as the Iranians start testing the new Administration to see what kind of mettle Joe Biden has, they started escalating their nuclear program quite extensively, more than we had ever seen during the Trump Administration’s maximum pressure campaign, instead of pushing forward on maximum pressure, continuing military deterrents, responding as our military men and women were under attack in Iraq and Syria, we started relaxing sanctions, we started pulling back censure resolutions in Vienna at the IAEA. Iran said ‘great, we’re going to start escalating more and more…we’re going to take the open door you have created, race forward on a nuclear program, reclaim the upper hand, and wait till you come begging to us’ and unfortunately that’s what’s happened to this Administration.” 

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) blasted the unreported details of the Biden Administration’s prisoner swap with the Iranian regime.

Rep. Biggs: “Are there proxies for the Iranian regime that commit acts of terror in the Middle East or elsewhere?”

Mr. Goldberg: “Yes sir, the National Iranian Oil Council, the Central Bank of Iran, the National Iranian Tanker Corporation, these are all organizations and institutions that are designated today under U.S. sanctions that are designated for terrorism finance of the Quds force and other terrorist organizations that has not stopped the bank account this money is coming out of are designated for terrorism finance.”  

Rep. Biggs: “And that is known to the Biden Administration?”

Mr. Goldberg: “They absolutely know that…”

Rep. Biggs: “And we are not enforcing the sanctions that ostensibly remain in place?”

Ms. Coates: “No and we’ve gone from 324,000 barrels a day getting out of Iran to China to over 1.1 million.”

Rep. Biggs: “Also Iran is manufacturing and stepped up their manufacturing of weaponry of non-nuclear weapons that they are distributing and selling. Are the countries that they are selling to, are they friends to the U.S.”

Ms. Coates: “One of them being Vladimir Putin’s Russia, I would say these are countries that are diametrically opposed to the United States and I think one questioned we have to ask Congressman is ‘why the Administration is being so permissive of these shipments of drones to Russia when their only use to blow up American aid the President is asking the Congress for’”? 

CLICK HERE to watch the hearing.