A session of the Subcommittee on National Security, the Border, and Foreign Affairs – part of the House Oversight Committee, titled A Dangerous Strategy: Examining the Biden Administration’s Failures on Iran on September 13, 2023

US Lawmakers Decry Biden’s 'Dangerous' Secrecy On Iran

Thursday, 09/14/2023

US lawmakers convened Wednesday to examine the Biden administration’s secrecy and “failures” on Iran, calling it a “dangerous” strategy. 

The Subcommittee on National Security, the Border, and Foreign Affairs – part of the House Oversight Committee – held the hearing to discuss Washington’s secret dealings with the regime, including Tehran’s nuclear program and negotiations for the release of American hostages in exchange for billions of dollars as well as the circumstances surrounding the dismissal of the Special Envoy on Iran, Robert Malley.

In his opening remarks, Chairman Glenn Grothman (R-Wis) emphasized that the Biden Administration has failed to be transparent with Congress and the American people on talks and actions regarding the Iranian regime. He condemned the White House for a sanctions waiver as part of its prisoner swap on the anniversary of September 11, freeing up $6 billion for “the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.”

Decrying the 2015 nuclear deal signed under the Obama administration, Grothman said “the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, was touted by the left as the fix-all to the Iranian nuclear dilemma. In reality, it did little to reign in the Iranian regime while rewarding it with literal pallets of cash.”

Expert witnesses at the session of the Subcommittee on National Security, the Border, and Foreign Affairs titled A Dangerous Strategy: Examining the Biden Administration’s Failures on Iran on September 13, 2023

He continued that the Trump administration withdrew the US from the deal “due to Iran’s continued bolstering of its ballistic missile program and its funding of terrorist groups around the globe” and that the current administration has failed to uphold its pledge to return the US to the JCPOA. “Instead, the administration has negotiated in secret and has failed to be transparent” despite the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act’s expansive disclosure requirements. 

“In March 2023, the International Atomic Energy Agency detected enriched uranium particles at 83.7 percent, prompting great concern as weapons grade uranium is enriched at 90 percent or higher. In addition to its nuclear program, Iran continues work to perfect its ballistic missile program. In May of this year, Iran unveiled its 4th generation liquid fuel ballistic missile, which can carry a 1,500-kilogram warhead around 1,200 miles,” he pointed out. 

Grothman highlighted that “Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, or the IRGC, continues to provide arms, training, and financial support to militias and terrorist organizations in Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Yemen,” mentioning that the IRGC provides the terrorist organization Hezbollah $700 million a year in assistance. 

“Since President Biden took office, Iran or its proxies have attacked US forces in the Middle East almost 100 times,” he noted. 

On the prisoner swap deal, he said the White House claims the $6 billion could only be used for humanitarian purposes but Iran says it will decide how to spend the money. He stressed the necessity to “ensure that the increase in ransom payments does not incentivize hostile nations like Iran to continue to kidnap American citizens.”

Referring to the suspension of Iran envoy, Robert Malley, which he called “highly unusual”, he said Malley's career has been marked by a “long history of appeasement toward adversaries of the US, and mentioned his repeated meetings with the terrorist organization Hamas under the Obama administration and Iran’s former Foreign Minister Javad Zarif “to undermine President Trump’s maximum pressure campaign against Iran.”

Speaking as one of the expert witnesses at the hearing, Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) President Michael Makovsky said the Biden administration has not articulated any strategic goal toward Iran, elaborating that in its National Security Strategy, the administration only outlined a series of policies. 

He noted that the administration endlessly pursued diplomacy at the exclusion of other tools, an approach which “even enriches and strengthens the regime ... The administration accepts the regime’s existence, works with it and mutes criticism of its awful human rights abuse.” 

The US only retaliated to four of Iran’s nearly 100 attacks on US forces in the region, he said, adding that “Iran has even retaliated against US forces for Israeli actions because it fears Israel and not America." So laxly enforced are the sanctions that is has resulted in a triple rise in Iranian oil export revenues in 2023 in comparison to 2020, Makovsky stressed. 

Richard Goldberg -- from the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies – described the recent unacknowledged deal with Iran as “a perilous arrangement negotiated in secret, without congressional oversight or review, in breach of statutory requirements.” Secret talks took place against the backdrop of continued attempts by the regime in Tehran to assassinate former US officials and kidnap or kill Iranian Americans on US soil, he added. 

He said that it defies logic to believe that the US is paying $6 billion for five people, making it “a historic hostage ransom payment.” Considering other concessions given to Iran such as a waiver of $10 billion of Iran’s oil money blocked in Iraq and a special drawing rights of the IMF for fiat currency of about $7 billion, and $25 billion of oil revenues through a lax enforcement of sanctions that has led to record high export of oil to China, “this is not a $6-billion deal... this could be at least a $50 billion deal.” 

“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," he stated. 

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