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The Iranian-backed terror group Hamas’s recent terror campaign against Israel is generating demands from Republican foreign policy leaders in Congress that the Biden administration immediately abandon its diplomacy with Iran aimed at cementing a revamped nuclear accord.
Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another Iran-backed jihadist group, bombarded Israel with thousands of rockets over a two-week period before a ceasefire was announced late last week. Iran played a central role in arming Hamas with sophisticated missiles capable of striking further into Israel and endangering millions of civilians. The hardline regime has committed to sending more money to Palestinian terror groups in the wake of the latest conflict, money that likely will come from the massive sanctions relief the Biden administration promises to grant Iran in the coming weeks.
Iran’s role in the latest conflict is generating concerns among Republican members of Congress who say the Biden administration is foolish to grant sanctions relief to a regime that is responsible for arming terrorists who seek to destroy America’s closest Middle Eastern ally.
“You must abandon the dream of signing a nuclear agreement with Iran and redouble America’s support for our proven allies in the region,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote to the White House on Tuesday evening, according to a copy of the letter exclusively obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. “It is long past time that your administration publicly acknowledge that Iran is not now, and never has been, an honest broker willing to abide by any credible nuclear reduction agreement.”
Issa is not alone in demanding the Biden administration completely reevaluate its diplomacy with Iran, which continued to take place in Vienna as Hamas launched bombs at Israel. More than 40 Republican senators also demanded Biden cut off negotiations with Iran in the wake of Hamas’s latest conflict with Israel, as the Free Beacon first reported earlier this month.
There is broad consensus in the GOP that Biden’s drive to reenter the nuclear deal will harm the United States’ and Israel’s national security and enrich a hardline regime that publicly says it will spend any cash windfalls granted under the deal on terrorism. Iran spends at least $100 million annually funding Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups, according to a 2020 report by the State Department. This funding could be significantly higher, as Iran routinely misreports its spending to mislead the international community about its rogue activities.
“Those deadly armaments were launched by the terror surrogate Hamas, backed directly by the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Issa wrote. “At the same time our ally was defending her people against terrorism propagated by Iran, your administration continues to pursue a return to the failed” nuclear accord.
Issa said the administration should be embarrassed about conducting indirect talks with Iran in light of its renewed calls to destroy Israel. “Instead of telling the truth about Iran to a world that should hear it, America’s representatives were preoccupied with passing notes back and forth to the mullahs,” the lawmaker wrote. “The evidence is overwhelming that America’s foreign policy in this region should never be predicated on the dream of a demure Iran.”
Recent reports indicate the United States is close to reaching a deal with Iran that would include massive sanctions relief.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken publicly dismissed GOP calls to stop negotiating with Iran, telling reporters earlier this month that negotiations will continue until a deal is reached. Israel also objects to the administration’s diplomacy. Blinken would not publicly say if he has information that Iran arms Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups.