August 24, 2018

Trump’s Iran Policies Undo Obama’s Failures

The Trump administration recently announced the creation of a State Department council that will “coordinate and promote pressure policies against Iran across the government and with other nations.” Add the Iran Action Group to an extensive list of bold actions by President Trump to tighten the noose around Iran’s already flailing economy. 

Ayatollah Khamenei and the mullahs have been weakened as everyday Iranians storm the streets to protest the current economic disaster of the regime’s own doing. Make no mistake: These positive developments are a result of the policies pursued by President Trump, not Obama.

Predictably, however, Trump’s critics have relentlessly tried to confuse the public about the president’s solid record on Iran. Led by Ben Rhodes and John Kerry and equipped with augmented reality glasses and an army of left-wing pundits, officials from the previous administration have sought to paint the American people a sunny picture of Obama’s Iran record.

In this fantasy world driven by alternative facts, the Iran deal led to coexistence between Washington and Tehran. America’s regional partners supported said agreement. The regime in Tehran moderated. And the Middle East was more stable than ever.

Maybe in George Orwell’s “1984” these fictions could pass for truths, but the results on the ground deliver a hard dose of reality.

Despite what some in the media attempt to portray him as, Ayatollah Khamenei is no fool or religious loon. He’s a savvy autocrat with a realistic vision of Iran becoming a regional hegemon. Unfortunately, Obama’s policies made that dream closer to a reality.

The Obama administration handed Tehran a significant win by penning a nuclear deal that would still allow the regime to develop nuclear weapons in due time. 

Iran’s spread of terror and development of advanced ICBMs also went untouched in the agreement.

Hezbollah, Tehran’s favored terrorist proxy group, was given a pass by the Obama administration to smuggle drugs into the U.S. to appease the ayatollah.

Worse, hundreds of billions of once frozen Iranian assets flooded back to fuel the regime’s war chest.

As Tehran’s ambitions grew, America’s partners were forced to show restraint and bow to Iran so Obama could secure his signature foreign policy “achievement.”

Ever since, America’s allies have become embroiled in what seems to be never-ending proxy wars due to an empowered and well-funded Iran.

The regime continues to funnel cash and weapons to Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad in a conflict that has claimed the lives of more than 500,000 and displaced millions. 

Additionally, Tehran has established a massive military apparatus hosting 10 bases and thousands of loyal fighters in the country. 

Hezbollah is better equipped than ever and is itching for another go at Israel with over 150,000 rockets aimed at the Jewish state. 

Tehran has bankrolled the Houthis in Yemen who are locked in a brutal conflict against the U.S.-supported Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The results are crystal clear: Obama’s strategy was a complete disaster. Appeasement brought more bloodshed and instability, not less. 

Thankfully, President Trump instituted a 180-degree course correction and has put America on a path to confronting the Iranian regime head-on.

To start, he ripped up the disastrous Iran Nuclear Deal and blasted the corrupt regime on the world stage. 

Economic sanctions have been slapped back on with a stinging effect. The Iranian rial plummeted to historic lows in late July in part due to the sanctions. 

Better yet, the administration is preparing an even more damning round of measures to go into full effect in November. Iran’s Central Bank and energy sector will be the main targets.

Countries will also be held accountable if they continue to do business with the murderous regime. “Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States,” Trump noted in a tweet. 

He also cut the demeaning Obama-era leashes off of our allies. Tehran got that message loud and clear after Israel attacked nearly all of Iran’s Syria military installations in May.

In a stark contrast, the Trump administration issued cash bounties on Talal Hamiyah and Fuad Shukr – two top Hezbollah officials -- and launched a Department of Justice team focusing on Hezbollah’s drug trade in the U.S.

The administration’s establishment of the Iran Action Group is just one of many steps taken to restore American credibility on Iran. Tehran will be brought back to the table or face further consequences. 

Trump’s maximum pressure campaign is showing strong results. Time to grab the shovel and take Obama’s Iran appeasement policies where they belong – the grave.

-- Alex Titus, Policy Advisor for America First Policies

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