Joe Biden, Israel, And The Iranian Mullahs


While Washington shifts its attention to other matters, the Israelis continue to cast a wary eye towards Iran. This October in D.C., Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullha bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Afterward, Lapid repeated earlier warnings that “Iran is becoming a nuclear threshold country.” The Biden administration seems to be belatedly coming to realize that Iran has no interest in returning to Vienna to discuss curbing its nuclear ambitions—ambitions that, despite the common narrative, were helped along, not impeded, by the naïve 2015 accord. This was the deal that served up pallets of cash to the theocratic state in return for vague assurances of compliance. (Donald Trump pulled us out of this unilateral agreement in 2018).

What is there to say about Iran? Well, there are two very good standards by which to measure a government: what it says, and what it does. When it comes to Tehran, the Obama administration opted to ignore these two criteria. Trump’s diplomats understood the Mullahs better. And now the Biden people are waking up to a stark reality. US Special Envoy to Iran, Robert Malley, candidly admitted recently: “We have to prepare for a world…where Iran doesn’t have constraints on its nuclear program and we have to consider options for dealing with that, even as we hope that we can get back to the deal.” He must know that no one will deal with this president without demanding huge concessions in their favor. One must wonder, however, if Biden may become so desperate for a foreign policy “win” that he will acquiesce. In the meantime, it is wait and see what Iran has up its nuclear sleeve.

Israel, a nation surrounded by enemies hell-bent on its annihilation, cannot afford to be so glib. They, too, apply the litmus test of words and actions to Tehran…and it is chilling what they find.

First, what do Iran’s leaders, past and present, have to say? It seems to not matter to the West that when he was the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad predicted the “elimination” of the Jewish State. Nor do many care to remember that when he was president up until August 2021, Hassan Rouhani referred to Israel as the “festering Zionist tumor.” (Interestingly, Rouhani was often touted by the media to be a “centrist” and “reformer.”)  And what of current Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi. As far as this gem goes, Ram Ben-Barak, a former Mossad deputy chief, tweeted: “Raisi’s election as Iran’s next president is conclusive evidence of [Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei’s decision to radicalize Iran’s conduct on foreign, nuclear, and terrorist policies.” Khamenei himself has happily proposed that Israel will not exist in a quarter-century. And yet another of their so-called “moderates”, former president Hashemi Rafsanjani, has declared Israel a “fake temporary state” and “a foreign object in the body of a nation and it will be wiped off the map.”

Yes, but how do you really feel?

Perhaps such overtly bellicose clarion calls for Israel’s demolition are just red-meat posturing for their more radicalized citizens. So let us ask instead what does Tehran do? They are the leading sponsor of terrorism in the Levant. Iran continues to support Hamas in Gaza by providing the missiles that routinely rain down upon Israeli civilians. They are a funding agent of Hezbollah in Lebanon. They are the regional destabilizer funneling arms and other materiel to our enemies in Iraq for 20 years, as well as the more militant rebels in Syria. They even have worked with the Taliban in Afghanistan in the past, although that relationship is tenuous.

This is the enemy with whom the Obama administration in one of its many unconstitutional side-steps, made a one-sided deal that prima facie defied common sense…much to Israel’s horror.

During the Cold War, the logic behind the uneasy peace with the U.S.S.R. was that while thousands of nuclear-tipped warheads sat at the ready on either side of the Iron Curtain, the idea of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) kept both sides rational and at bay. Bit what if MAD seems like a great idea to a certain group of apocalyptic jihadists eager to sell their lives (or in the Mullahs’ case the lives of others) to do Allah’s work? What do you do if you are Israel confronted with the very real notion of a nuclear-armed regime that denies the previous Holocaust ever happened while calling for the next one?

The carrot of appeasement has not worked with Iran. And after Afghanistan, few enemies fear the U.S. stick. So perhaps then the best option for the Biden administration is to send Tehran a message by reaffirming in no uncertain terms U.S. support for Israel. Otherwise, with only the feckless Biden to fall back on as its “ally”, the IAF may have to re-enact its 1981 airstrike on Iraq’s Orsirak nuclear reactor. And who knows what genie that might let out of the bottle. Back then Ronald Reagan was president to keep the retaliatory inclinations of a generally anti-Israeli world, including his own cabinet, at bay, even as the U.S. joined in the ceremonial U.N. condemnation of their action. Those days are long gone.

Like all nations, Israel certainly has behaved over the years in a manner to warrant scorn. Still, there is an old but true expression: “If the Arabs laid down their arms there’d be no more war; if the Israelis laid down their arms there’d be no more Israel.”

The Iranian leaders, of course, are not Arabs, but they are fundamentalist Shi’ites who see the eradication of Israel as not just a legitimate foreign policy goal, but a noble, even holy, cause. Certainly, if their words and actions are to be believed.

In 2020 the American people voted out the most Israel-friendly administration in my lifetime.  This president, or whoever is pulling his strings, is no friend of the Jewish state. The Iranians know this.  And until it changes, they will continue to be emboldened. Why shouldn’t they after watching the catastrophe in Afghanistan unfold within months of the new U.S. president’s administration? No doubt the Israelis are praying for a GOP takeover of the House and Senate in the 2022 midterms. And they understand the chief lesson of the Holocaust and will conduct their affairs accordingly: when people say they want to annihilate you, believe them. Because they mean it.

Brad Schaeffer is a commodities trader and author. His latest novel, The Extraordinary, tells the story of a family dealing with a Marine veteran’s PTSD as told through the words of his autistic teenaged son. 

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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