President Obama will do anything to save his potentially catastrophic Iran nuclear deal. Secretary Kerry lauded Iran’s release of 10 U.S. Navy personnel this morning – though the President failed to acknowledge their detainment during his State of the Union address. Kerry cited “relationship building” with Iran as the reason our sailors were quickly released. Ironically, repeated demonstration of American weakness provoked the Iranians into capturing them in the first place.
Iran flouted international law and custom by releasing photos of the sailors in execution-style positions, forcing one sailor to videotape a “confession” and coercing a female sailor to wear a Muslim-style head covering. Centuries of custom and tradition ban using detainees for propaganda, as does the Geneva Convention.
The Navy incident is just the latest of Iran’s deliberate provocations:
Iran continues to support Hezbollah – a terrorist organization – fighting alongside Russia to prop up Bashar al-Assad’s repugnant regime in Syria. Assad’s forces have killed over 250,000 people and caused a refugee crisis engulfing our European allies and soon coming to U.S. cities.
- A few days ago, Iran revealed an underground missile depot and President Rouhani ordered an expansion of Iran’s ballistic missile program.
- In December, Iran fired several unguided rockets within 1,500 yards of a U.S. aircraft carrier.
- Last October, Iran tested sophisticated long-range ballistic missiles potentially able to carry nuclear warheads in clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
- Four Americans still languish in Iranian prisons
When attempting to sell the nuclear deal, President Obama promised that non-nuclear sanctions on human rights, terrorism, and missile development would be “fully enforced.” Yet, the Administration has not kept this promise. No new sanctions have been levied. Even many Congressional Democrats are utterly mystified by Obama’s non-response to clear provocations. In fact, Obama’s response is to prepare a $150 billion sanctions-relief payment to the mullahs. In a few days, the Administration will reward Iran’s behavior with billions of dollars to finance its terrorism machine, nuclear weapons program and missile development.
Obama and Kerry are naïve to think backing down on sanctions, issuing statements thanking Iran for its offensive and illegitimate behavior, and proceeding to give them billions in sanctions relief is seen as anything other than capitulation by Iran and its neighbors.
Congress needs to condemn Obama’s willingness to ignore bad behavior by the world’s foremost sponsor of Islamic terrorism. . The first thing Congress should do is pass new sanctions consistent with the President’s promise to uphold sanctions on human rights, terrorism and missile development. When the President vetoes the bill, he will have to explain why he has broken his promises.
I am leading bipartisan legislation, HR 4333, the Zero Tolerance for Terror Act, to set up legislative fast track for imposing new sanctions on Iran. I’ve also co-sponsored legislation, HRes 571, to establish a Select Committee to oversee the implementation of the nuclear agreement.
Under Obama and Kerry, those using military force, proxies and terror to advance their political and territorial ambitions no longer fear us. If America is to once again be secure, and the world a less dangerous place, our next president must reverse Obama’s failed policy of appeasement.