Remember when the Justice Department announced that it was indicting four Iranian nationals accused of forming a plot to kidnap an American journalist and spirit her back to Iran where she would have been imprisoned or executed? It has been almost a week since the scheme was revealed and President Joe Biden has not said a single word about the revelation. Not only that, he is still trying to cozy up to the Iranian regime in the hopes of resurrecting the infamous Nuclear Deal.
Perhaps the president thinks he does not need to address the issue because Secretary of State Antony Blinken had a 15-minute phone call with her yesterday. After the conversation, he took to Twitter to express his support for independent journalists and to issue a rather milquetoast threat, presumably to Iran. We can only assume because he didn’t bother to call out the country by name.
Good conversation today with @AlinejadMasih, who has demonstrated tremendous courage. I affirmed that the U.S. will always support the indispensable work of independent journalists around the world. We won’t tolerate efforts to intimidate them or silence their voices.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) July 20, 2021
Masih Alinejad, the journalist who the Iranians planned to abduct, posted a thread on Twitter in which she said that Blinken “found the idea that they’d abduct” on American soil to be “particularly egregious.”
The journalist, who was under FBI protection for two weeks and had to move to three safe houses, told the secretary of state that human rights is “a bipartisan issue” and that Iranian citizens are “fighting for the same rights that we in America take for granted.”
Alinejad indicated that Blinken assured her that “the U.S. would hold the regime accountable for this plot.”
1-Today, in a 15 minute call, @SecBlinken said he was relieved the Islamic Republic's plot to kidnap me was foiled by the FBI. He found the idea that they’d abduct me from the American soil particularly egregious. pic.twitter.com/0NHnQYEHCj
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) July 19, 2021
Unfortunately, recent events suggest that Blinken was paying Alinejad lip service. Not only has President Biden failed to make any public comment about the kidnapping plot, he is doing the polar opposite of holding the Islamic Republic of Iran accountable for its actions. Last week, he eased sanctions on the regime, allowing it to access funds from South Korea and Japan.
The Wall Street Journal reported:
Iran’s violations of the 2015 nuclear deal also continue. Lame duck President Hassan Rouhani says the country can enrich uranium to weapons-grade purity, or about 90%. So far it has stopped at 60%, but that’s well above the 3.67% allowed under the deal. The government is stockpiling other illicit material and ignoring its inspection obligations to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Even Russian diplomat Mikhail Ulyanov admitted, “Iran seems to be going too far.”
Reuters also noted that Iran advised Iraqis to “widen their attacks by retaliating against U.S. forces in Syria.”
The Journal also explained that “Shiite militias have attacked U.S. positions in Iraq at least 26 times since President Biden took office.”
So let’s get this straight.
Iran has continued to violate the 2015 nuclear deal even before former President Donald Trump pulled out of the agreement, encouraged militias to target U.S. troops, and attempted to kidnap an American citizen presumably to imprison or execute her, and President Biden is still making friendly overtures toward the regime. His administration has already conducted six rounds of indirect negotiations with the regime, which is demanding an easing of sanctions and a removing of restrictions on Iranian banks. They are also demanding that the U.S. remove the foreign terrorist designation on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif claimed that the Biden administration signaled that it is willing to comply with each of these demands in exchange for nuclear compliance. Of course, Zarif’s claims could easily be false. But, as the Journal points out, “his claims fit the pattern of Obama-Biden negotiations.”
Biden seems to be so desperate to renew the Iran Nuclear Deal that he is willing to overlook Tehran’s many offenses against the United States. The attempted abduction of an American citizen alone should be enough to pull out of negotiations with the terrorist regime and immediately take punitive measures. The president’s feckless inaction on this matter is sending a severely problematic message to the regime: You can do whatever you want to us, and we’ll take it with a smile as long as we come to a nuclear agreement.
It appears that the Iranian government is taking this message to heart. When an American president can’t even publicly condemn the attempted kidnapping of a citizen, it is clear to the rest of the world that the commander-in-chief is not willing to protect the people who he has sworn to protect.