Biden’s Easing of Iran Sanctions in Focus After Missile Strike on Israel

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(Dan McCaleb, The Center Square) Joe Biden is taking heat from Republicans for easing sanctions on Iran – including giving the terrorist-sponsoring nation access to billions of dollars in previously frozen assets – before it launched a massive drone attack on U.S. ally Israel.

Iran fired more than 300 drone and other missiles into Israel during the early morning hours Sunday (Israel time) in response to Israel’s strike on the Iranian consulate in Syria on April 1. Israel said 99% of the missiles were intercepted and damage from the attack was limited, with no fatalities, but the escalation is drawing wider concern of a potentially heightened conflict in the Middle East.

Republican members of Congress in part blamed the Biden administration’s easing of sanctions against Iran for the attack.

“Iran has encircled Israel and has been attacking our Israeli allies from almost every front for months,” U.S. Sen Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said in a statement. “They have launched attacks from Syria, Iraq, Yemen, the West Bank, Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon, and of course the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Now they have escalated by launching attacks directly from Iranian territory.”

Cruz continued: “These attacks are enabled and financed by deliberate policy choices made by Joe Biden and Biden officials, who have allowed roughly $100 billion to flow to Iran since 2021. Americans and Israelis have been made catastrophically more vulnerable by these policies.”

Biden eased the sanctions, which gave Iran access to billions of dollars in assets that previously had been frozen, in an attempt to get the country to follow the terms of a nuclear deal struck under former President Barrack Obama.

Republican U.S. Rep. Rep. Greg Steube of Florida also blamed Iran’s missile attack in part on the Biden administration.

“Biden’s weakness has given billions to Iran to launch attacks on US Soldiers and now Israel. All their military capability should be destroyed and severe economic sanctions put back in place, Steube said, according to Florida Politics. “The Iranians were broke when Trump left office and now they are enriched, empowered and emboldened.”

In a statement, President Joe Biden condemned the attacks and said the U.S. will do its part to support Israel.

“At my directions, to support the defense of Israel, the U.S. military moved aircraft and ballistic missile defense destroyers to the region over the course of the past week,” Biden said. “Thanks to these deployments and the extraordinary skill of our servicemembers, we helped Israel take down nearly all of the incoming drones and missiles.”

Israel promised retaliation, but Biden said the U.S. would not assist Israel in any counteroffensive. Instead, Biden said he “will convene my fellow G7 leaders to coordinate a united diplomatic response to Iran’s brazen attack.”

Former President Donald Trump said on social media late Saturday that Iran would never had attacked Israel if he were still president.

“The weakness that we’ve shown is unbelievable,” Trump said on Truth Social. “It would not have happened if we were in office.”

Israel has been engaged in a war with Hamas in Gaza after the Iranian-backed terrorist organization killed more than 1,100 people and took hundreds of hostages in an Oct. 7 sneak attack. After Israel invaded Gaza, antisemitic incidents increased throughout the U.S. by 360%, according to preliminary data published by the Anti-Defamation League.

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