A Washington-based human rights organization said that in exchange for a nuclear deal, the Biden administration should demand that Tehran stops supporting its proxies – terror organizations such as Hezbollah and the Houthis which pose a threat to “the region’s remaining Christians, among others.”
In Defense of Christians (IDC), which also advocates for Christians in the Middle East, released a statement on Wednesday calling on U.S. President Joe Biden “to strictly condition a U.S. return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s dismantling of its regional proxies.”
“The JCPOA’s primary goal is to prevent or delay Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon. However, the threat posed by Iranian terrorist proxies to regional stability should be part of the negotiations. That threat endangers the region’s remaining Christians, among others.”
“Iran, through Hezbollah, continues to destabilize Lebanon, the last bastion of religious pluralism in the Arab world. Iran-backed militias continue to inhibit Christian survivors of the ISIS genocide from returning to their ancestral homes in the Nineveh Plain. The Houthis, supported by Iran, threaten vulnerable religious communities in Yemen. Finally, Iran’s proxy militias continue to threaten the lives of U.S. service members throughout the region,” the IDC noted in its statement.
IDC President Tonia Khouri said that “Iran’s terror franchise” endangers American national security interests in the Middle East.
“Such policy will also protect the region’s religious minority communities from human rights violations by the radical, theocratic and expansionist regime,” Khouri said.
Biden’s policies and approach toward Iran is increasingly coming under fire in the U.S. Last week, 10 senators sent a letter to the president warning him that lax American sanctions on Iranian oil exports is enhancing Tehran’s ability to finance terrorism and gain nuclear capabilities – and placing national security at risk.
The letter criticizes the Biden administration’s approach to Iran compared to former U.S. President Donald Trump, who implemented a “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions against Tehran that “seriously reduced Iranian oil exports and curtailed the Iranian regime’s ability to finance terrorism and other malign activities.”
Trump pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – commonly referred to as the Iran nuclear deal – in 2018. During the campaign, Biden promised to re-enter the deal, which the administration did in 2021. Negotiations between Washington and Tehran are currently stalled.