Biden’s UN Speech Proves US Needs to ‘Double-Down on an America First Foreign Policy’: Senator
President Joe Biden’s decision to give billions of dollars to Iran and to tell the United Nations he has no intention of “containing” China proves “it is time for us to double-down on an America First foreign policy,” a leading Republican senator has declared.
Biden touted his tough-minded negotiations against Iran during a speech to the United Nations, despite releasing five Iranian prisoners for five U.S. hostages, freeing up $6 billion in frozen oil sale proceeds from the Islamic Republic of Iran to South Korea — and announcing the transfer of funds on the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. “We’re working with our partners to address Iran’s destabilizing activities that threaten regional and global security and remain steadfast in our commitment that Iran must never acquire a nuclear weapon,” Biden told the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday.
Biden has claimed the $6 billion cash injection would not benefit Iran’s terror regime, because the funds would be overseen by a Qatari bank and “restricted to humanitarian trade,” in the words of National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson.
“We know that Iran is not going to use $6 billion in humanitarian aid or to feed the poor in Iran where people are starving,” Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) told “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” on Wednesday.
Iranian officials contradicted Biden’s account just one day after the funds transfer announcement. “This money belongs to the Iranian people, the Iranian government, so the Islamic Republic of Iran will decide what to do with this money,” Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi told NBC News on September 12. “Humanitarian means whatever the Iranian people need, so this money will be budgeted for those needs and the needs of the Iranian people will be decided and determined by the Iranian government.”
No sooner had Iranian officials obtained this deal than “they kicked out the International Atomic Energy Association, the IAEA,” whose inspectors “monitor uranium enrichment and nuclear proliferation,” Blackburn told Perkins.
Raisi blocked IAEA inspectors last weekend, barring the IAEA from carrying out “essential verification work at the enrichment facilities in Iran which are under agency safeguards,” said IAEA leader Rafael Grossi.
Effectively, U.S. taxpayers are underwriting Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Blacburn stated. “Money is fungible,” she said. “And we know Israel is their primary target.”
Although Biden has sought an in-person meeting, Raisi said Iran would require more “action” from Washington, such as dropping all sanctions against the world’s chief sponsor of terrorism.
Biden’s decision opened up the floodgates of criticism. “Biden is giving $6 billion to the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, just as when Obama sent the Iranian regime pallets of cash for hostages in the dark of night,” said President Donald Trump in a campaign video released last month. (Although severallegacy media outlets fact-checked the Republican presidential candidate’s claim that he saw the cash Obama sent Tehran, Iranian TV aired video footage showing the cash payment in February 2016.)
“Biden’s ransom payment will be immediately used to stoke violence, bloodshed, and mayhem throughout the Middle East, and all around the world costing countless innocent lives,” said Trump. “Biden has put a bounty on the head of every American citizen abroad.”
Trump’s chief Republican rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R), agreed that “Biden is shamefully caving to Iran’s blackmail and extortion. … The $6 billion ransom payment will help Iran build nuclear weapons, support terrorism, oppress the Iranian people, and assist Russia.”
Although the GOP presidential hopefuls have differences, a former diplomat announced that Tehran has effectively made its endorsement. “The Iranian regime would prefer to deal with a Biden administration,” said Ambassador Robert Joseph, a member of the National Security Council during George W. Bush’s administration.
Biden’s decision to fund Iran amounts to a continuation of the Obama-Biden administration policy, which gave Iran $1.7 billion in multiple installments during 2016. The first, which amounted to $400 million, came in January as Iran released four U.S. citizens. Iran promptly arrested another U.S. citizen, an Iranian-American from San Diego visiting his sick mother.
Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said Biden’s agreement “desecrates” the memory of 9/11 “by paying ransom to the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism.”
The five American hostages arrived on U.S. soil from Iran at Virginia’s Fort Belvoir on Tuesday morning. Three of the Iranian prisoners were in the United States illegally. Only two of the Iranian prisoners — one of whom illegally sent laboratory equipment to Iran — will return to Iran; one will go to a third country. Two will remain in the United States — a fact the Biden administration insists that should not trouble Americans. “Based on the kinds of crimes they were charged with, I don’t think there’s any cause for the American people to be concerned about that,” said NSC spokesperson John Kirby.
Elsewhere in his U.N. speech, Biden announced he supports expanding the number of permanent and rotating members of the U.N. Security Council, a strategy designed to “dilute” the five permanent members’ veto power and counteract alleged “colonialism” in the world body. Biden also boasted of convincing about two-dozen nations to sign the “Declaration on Migration and Protection at the Summit of the Americas” in Los Angeles, to better “protect the rights of migrants” — 10,000 of whom streamed across the U.S. border with Mexico in a 24-hour period this week, according to Fox News reporter Bill Melugin.
Biden called for the world body to guarantee the “sovereignty” and “territorial integrity” of Ukraine, as well.
Biden ticked off numerous global alliances, which he insisted are not “about containing any country,” immediately before mentioning the People’s Republic of China. “When it comes to China, I want to be clear and consistent: We seek to responsibly manage the competition between our countries, so it does not tip into conflict. I’ve said, ‘We are for de-risking, not decoupling with China.’”
Blackburn said that Biden’s speech drove home a potent geostrategic message: “It is time for us to double down on an America First foreign policy.”
“We have to look at reshoring and ‘friendshoring’ so many different components of our supply chain,” she told Perkins, reorienting production of critical industries from China to the United States or its allies. “When you look at China putting a military training base in Cuba, this should set off alarms for the American people,” she said.
“It is time for us to have a president of the United States who is going to deal with China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and make certain they understand we don’t see them as a competitor and a friend,” Senator Blackburn declared. “We see them as an adversary.”
Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.