In late July, an assailant with an AK-47 showed up outside the Brooklyn home of Masih Alinejad, an Iranian American journalist who antagonized the clerical regime with her advocacy for women’s rights.

That episode marked the second time the Iranian regime appeared to have targeted Alinejad. Last year, the FBI busted an Iranian government plot to kidnap her in order to return her to Iran, perhaps via Venezuela. The Iranian regime openly promises to assassinate former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his special representative for Iran, Brian Hook.

Proponents of continued diplomacy with Tehran may rationalize Iranian behavior as the desire for revenge after a Trump-era drone strike killed Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani, but the history of Iranian terrorism in America predates this.

After Iranian radicals seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in November 1979, the Carter administration continued its efforts at diplomacy. It was only after the Iranian Embassy in Washington, D.C., coordinated an assassination of an Iranian dissident in nearby Bethesda that President Jimmy Carter severed relations. In 2006, an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps officer successfully infiltrated the Arkansas National Guard. Law enforcement arrested him after a bartender alerted the FBI to his suspicious and persistent probing about military logistics. Five years later, the Quds Force plotted the bombing of a popular Washington, D.C., restaurant in an attempt to assassinate the Saudi ambassador. Had they succeeded, several senators and congressmen would likely have died in the same attack. Dozens of innocent civilians would also have died.

Munificence does not change Iranian malign behavior. It exacerbates it.

Between 1998 and 2005, European Union trade with Iran almost tripled while the price of oil quintupled. Even though Mohammad Khatami, a supposed reformist, was president, the Islamic Republic diverted the hard currency windfall to the Revolutionary Guards to jump-start Iran’s covert nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Years later, Khatami’s aides bragged about how they had deceived the West with their reformist rhetoric.

Even as the Biden administration allows tens of billions of dollars to flow into Iranian coffers through sanctions relief and nonenforcement, the Iranian regime becomes more aggressive to Americans. Ransom payments during the Carter, Reagan, and Obama administrations convinced the ayatollahs that hostage-taking is a lucrative business, and today, the regime holds a handful of U.S. hostages seized for ransom. China’s willingness to purchase billions of dollars of sanctioned Iranian oil undercuts any incentive the Iranian leadership has to cooperate with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

While President Joe Biden celebrates the death of al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri, his willingness to allow the world’s greatest sponsor of terror to resource itself shows inconsistency. Talking to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s regime is no more productive than talking to Zawahiri would have been. If the problem is the Iranian leadership’s unwillingness to abide by nuclear restrictions or cessation of terror so long as countries like China continue their commercial relations, then the White House need not simply surrender and acquiesce.

The Persian Gulf is incredibly shallow. Its average depth is 160 feet, about half of the depth of Lake Michigan. The Iranian coast is particularly hazardous for large tankers. Accordingly, Iran loads most ships via jetties from offshore oil terminals, the largest of which remains Kharg, accounting for perhaps 90% of Iran’s oil exports. After the 1979 embassy seizure, Adm. James Lyons suggested seizing Kharg to compel their release. Had Carter given the green light, he could have bankrupted the Islamic Republic in a matter of weeks. The regime remains as vulnerable today, especially as its efforts to build a duplicate facility at Jask founder.

Biden may have endless capacity for strategic humiliation, but if he or his successor wishes to empower diplomacy and signal to Tehran that murders of U.S. citizens are an absolute red line, then it is time to shut down Kharg. Tehran cannot profit and Beijing cannot buy smuggled oil if Iran cannot pump it into tankers. Only when Kharg is offline will the attitude of Iranian diplomats fundamentally change.

Source » washingtonexaminer