ALL ARAB NEWS Advisory Board Member Rev. Johnnie Moore, along with a co-author, took U.S. President Joe Biden to task for failing to see through Iran’s deception during nuclear talks in Vienna – at the risk of creating a national embarrassment.

Moore, along with Rabbi Abraham Cooper, wrote in an op-ed published in Arab News on Dec. 14, that leaders in the Middle East are convinced that Iran is deceiving the White House which “should be calling Iran’s bluff.”

“For nations facing the imminent specter of the Tehran regime adding nuclear blackmail to its arsenal of destabilizing activities — while already newly infused with millions of dollars from disappearing sanctions — it is fair to ask: What has President Joe Biden learned from Vice President Joe Biden?” Moore and Cooper ask. “Apparently, not much.”

On the contrary, Biden “is enabling an unelected envoy” who is removing sanctions placed on Iran.

Moore and Cooper write that Iran is using the Vienna negotiations as a chance to buy time and continue toward nuclear weapon production.

They called on the administration to exert “economic coercion through more sanctions to keep the pressure on (precisely to avoid war), while always making it clear that there is a credible threat of force if Iran continues down its present path.”

“This is not saber-rattling or warmongering. Quite the opposite,” they wrote. “Only a muscular foreign policy can put the bullies in their place while reassuring our allies and an American people still reeling from the Afghan debacle.”

The article was originally published here.

Here is the text in full:

Biden team should be calling Iran’s bluff in Vienna

Despite COVID-19, we have managed to travel to the Middle East repeatedly over the last year. In Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Manama, Riyadh, Jerusalem and other places we heard variations of the same theme from the streets: Iran is deceiving the White House, again.

For nations facing the imminent specter of the Tehran regime adding nuclear blackmail to its arsenal of destabilizing activities — while already newly infused with millions of dollars from disappearing sanctions — it is fair to ask: What has President Joe Biden learned from Vice President Joe Biden?

Apparently, not much.

Indeed, it appears that President Biden is enabling an unelected envoy, who did not need to be confirmed in the Senate, to oversee the stripping away of sanctions. It last happened only 10 days before the reopening of the negotiations in Vienna last month, when the Biden administration, likely prompted by Iran envoy Robert Malley, waived sanctions on Tehran selling electricity to Iraq.

Shamefully, the waiver was issued concurrent to brutal crackdowns by the regime on those protesting in the country because the rulers could not provide water and electricity to its own people.

Enraged by the antics in Vienna, Democrats and Republicans in Congress have finally had it with the Biden administration’s concessions to Iran and overwhelmingly passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 with a direct rebuke of Biden’s Iran policy.

The bill reads: “None of the amounts authorized to be appropriated by this Act or otherwise made available to the Department of Defense may be made available to transfer or facilitate a transfer of pallets of currency, currency, or other items of value to the Government of Iran, any subsidiary of such Government, or any agent or instrumentality of Iran.”

This stunning congressional rebuke to Biden (from his own party) should be noted as the Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett descended into Abu Dhabi for his first ever visit on Monday.

America’s allies in the Middle East, in Europe and elsewhere would be mistaken to assume the Biden administration’s Iran policy is reflective of the will of the American people. On the contrary, if Biden continues down his present path, he will witness a drastic rebuke by voters in 2022. Congress will surely then immediately undo whatever concessions the administration made and may even punish allies for playing too nice with the Iranian regime through secondary sanctions.

Congress sees there is no possibility of the present negotiations producing a so-called “longer, stronger” deal that also addresses the regime’s destabilizing behavior, drug trafficking and ballistic missile and drone programs.

US lawmakers fear that Iran is deceiving Biden’s representatives to the point of a national embarrassment. The Vienna negotiations are a type of Potemkin village meant to buy the Iranian regime time to speed up its nuclear program, while creating a monetary windfall along the way so that it can continue to sponsor terrorist proxies like Hezbollah, the Houthis and Hamas.

And what are we to make of the fact the US delegation in Vienna voluntarily agreed to relegate itself to a neighboring hotel, ceding to the Europeans, Russians and Chinese the responsibility of hashing things out?

It is a president’s job to shape American foreign policy, but that supposes a degree of transparency — tempered by advice and consent from the legislative branch — and a curious, scrutinizing press.

Biden should be calling Iran’s bluff, using economic coercion through more sanctions to keep the pressure on (precisely to avoid war), while always making it clear that there is a credible threat of force if Iran continues down its present path.

This is not saber-rattling or warmongering. Quite the opposite. Only a muscular foreign policy can put the bullies in their place while reassuring our allies and an American people still reeling from the Afghan debacle.

Is this how we project US global power in 2021 to friend and foe, with US allies from Eastern Europe to the South China Sea twisting in the wind?

It is little wonder a recent poll cited that Biden’s re-election support now stands at only 22 percent. Only Vice President Kamala Harris’ numbers are worse — a frigid 12 percent.

  • Rabbi Abraham Cooper is the associate dean and director of the Global Social Action Agenda at the Simon Wiesenthal Center. 
  • Rev. Johnnie Moore is president of the Congress of Christian Leaders and founder of the KAIROS Company.
Share this article