quotes How the appeasement of Iran backfired

21 April 2024
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Updated 20 April 2024

How the appeasement of Iran backfired

Many of the issues facing the Middle East now are attributable to the way in which the Obama and Biden administrations have mishandled Iran, and how they have dealt with Tehran.

When US President Barack Obama arrived at the White House in late January 2009, he was determined to make Iran the regional power in the Middle East, and make its interests dominant over the national interests of other Arab and Islamic countries whose raison d’etat has always been to promote peace, to secure stability and to end conflicts in the Middle East and the Gulf region. Regrettably, President Obama betrayed the trust that many Arab governments and US administrations had invested in fostering a mutually respectful relationship between the Arab countries of the Middle East and the US.

Many claims have been made that Obama gave $150 billion to Iran, which was effectively a large funding boost for many terrorist groups. One interpretation of Obama paying a lot of money to Iran was that he did not mind misleading the American people, and perhaps the whole world, to get Iran to sign a nuclear deal with the six-nations group of the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany. The question is, why was Obama so desperate to sign a nuclear deal that could make Iran a nuclear power and capable of procuring nuclear weapons?

Obama worked to hide many of the details of his dealings with Iran in general, and the financial transactions that guaranteed much money for the Islamic Republic in particular. In other words, there was an abuse of the presidential authority of the chief executive of the US government in the contact with Iran during the tenure of President Obama.

This also suggests a degree of coordinated efforts with the bureaucracies in the US federal government and other governments in Europe to conceal many facts about the Obama administration’s relationship with Tehran.

Obama favored a strange method to deal with Iran, which was to give the Iranians a lot of cash. He said on Aug. 4, 2016: “The reason that we had to give them cash is precisely because we are so strict in maintaining sanctions and we do not have a banking relationship with Iran, so that we could not send them a check and could not wire the money.” As soon as Iran received the money it was able to enhance the technological qualities of its ballistic missile programs and take three more Americans hostage.

The problem with Obama’s policy toward Iran was that the US had no obligation to give Iran cash payments. In fact, Obama gave more money to Iran than it needed. The biggest beneficiaries of that money were Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Even with government investigations completed, no action has been taken to hold Obama responsible for his illegal activities with the Iranians. According to a US government report: “the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (concluded that) Obama officials pushed the US Treasury to let Iran convert the equivalent of $5.7 billion of funds held in Oman’s Bank of Muscat from rials into dollars and subsequently into euros.”

In addition, Iran was still number one on the State department’s list of nations funding terrorism. Obama did nothing to force the regime of the ayatollahs to change their terror policies. It is equally important that the nuclear deal he signed with Iran released $100 billion dollars for Iran since it removed many sanctions imposed on it. As a result, Iran gained financial resources that helped sustain its economy, which was collapsing.

Obama denounced the CIA intervention in Iran in August 1953 that restored the former shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, to the throne. He was not aware of the complicated political situation inside Iran during that time and the complex political atmosphere of the Cold War that polarized the Middle East toward a pro-American camp or a pro-Soviet camp. And it seems that Biden is now giving Iran the ability to spread its regional hegemony through its proxies in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and in the Red Sea region. Biden has been pressing many countries to accept Iran and its foreign policies as strategic realities that his administration cannot forestall or counter.

It is totally wrong for these two administrations to think that Iran can be a rational actor on the global scene. The Iranian regime is indoctrinated with an ideology that instigates upheavals and instability for societies and states opposed to the Iranians.

Both Obama and Biden practiced a policy of appeasement toward Iran. However, it backfired. Their granting of concessions to an aggressor such as Iran fuels the desire of the Iranian regime to destabilize the Arab and Islamic world. The Middle East is on the brink of a war. Let the good nations such as Saudi Arabia try to spare the region that horrible option. But let every reasonable person recall that Obama and Biden inadvertently encouraged Iran to be more dangerous. I hope that this will change soon.

Faisal Al-Shammeri is a political analyst. X: @Mr_Alshammeri