Earlier this week, I had the honor of speaking at the 2022 Conference for a Free Lebanon. During my speech, I spoke about the Islamic Republic's malign influence throughout the world but especially in Lebanon through their support of Hezbollah’s military and political arms.
When we look at the power of Hezbollah in 2022 from a political and military perspective, one can say with confidence that this terrorist group would not be where they are today if not for the financial and logistical support from the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Hezbollah and the Islamic Republic have much in common from their core beliefs to their savage tactics for achieving their nefarious goals:
- They both despise the United States of America.
- They both have sworn to destroy the world's only Jewish nation, Israel.
- They both have the blood of innocent men, women and children on their hands because of their terrorist activities.
- They both share in the belief that Islam should rule the world and that anyone who doesn't conform to their radical version of Islam is to be shunned, excommunicated and murdered.
Many have said that Hezbollah is the largest beneficiary of the Islamic Republic's exportation of terrorism. I can think of no other terrorist organization in the world that has received more funding from the Islamic Republic than Hezbollah.
Over the years, the Islamic Republic has poured hundreds of millions, if not billions into Hezbollah's political and military arms.
According to reports, Hezbollah received roughly $400 million in funding from 2010. In 2018, U.S. officials reported this number increased to over $700 million.
As the Islamic Republic has seen their international reserves rise from $3 billion in January 2021 to now over $30 billion in 2022 — you can bet that more money has flowed out the door from Tehran to Beirut, and ultimately to the southern border of Lebanon and northern border of Israel.
All in, I’m sure Hezbollah is receiving in upwards of $1 billion per year in funding from the Islamic Republic nowadays.
Hezbollah, similar to Hamas in the Gaza Strip are designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations by the United States Department of State. In addition, so are Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, also known as the IRGC. It should come as no surprise to anyone that the IRGC is the glue that holds Hezbollah and Hamas together.
As many know, there were recent reports that the Biden administration was considering removing the IRGC from the FTO list. While we have now learned that the administration has signaled to Europe that we will not remove this FTO designation — shame on the Biden Administration for even considering this in the first place. The IRGC is both foreign and terrorist — two fitting words for a FTO designated entity.
When the leader of the free world projects weakness onto the world, our adversaries such as the Islamic Republic, Russia and China take notice and they exploit this weakness.
In addition, the terrorists proxies the Islamic Republic funds such as Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Jihad, the Houthis and others stand to benefit the most from America projecting weakness onto the world stage.
A good example of this is Joe Biden’s decision not to enforce sanctions on the Islamic Republic’s sale of crude oil to China. It’s estimated that the Islamic Republic has sold roughly $1 billion per month to China since Biden took office.
I think we can all agree that if the Islamic Republic has more money flowing in from these crude oil sales — more money will make it's way to their terrorist proxies around the world — with Hezbollah being the primary beneficiary.
I am no fan of Biden and his administration but I am a fan of America and our values. So when Joe Biden is laughed at on the world stage — when the leaders from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates won't accept his phone calls — this is not just a failure for the Biden administration but it's a failure for the American people and that is something I cannot and will not stand for.
With regards to the latest round of US-Islamic Republic nuclear talks — it should come as no surprise to anyone that these talks have not produced a favorable result for the Biden administration.
Any rational individual knows that when negotiations are being held between two or multiple parties the sides need to be negotiating in good faith and serious about doing a deal.
This can be said for a real estate deal or a corporate buyout such as the recent news of Elon Musk’s bid for Twitter or the decades-long stalemate between the Israelis and Palestinians.
Just as the Palestinian leadership is not a true partner for peace for the Israeli government — nor is the Islamic Republic for the United States of America.
While the Palestinian people might be partners for the Israelis and while the Iranians might be partners for the Americans, their respective governments are not.
And this brings me back to the Islamic Republic's malign influence in Lebanon. Just like the Iranian people have suffered at the hands of the Islamic Republic, the Lebanese people have long suffered at the hands of Hezbollah.
Just as the Islamic Republic has never stopped chanting death to America and death to Israel — Hezbollah has never stopped from trying to take over all aspects of Lebanon while launching attacks on their Southern Border against Israel.
The United States of America should take a strong stance in support of freedom and liberty seeking people around the world. Our foreign policy in the Middle East should be solely focused on what is best for the freedom and liberty seeking people of the Middle East, not the corrupted governments in the Islamic Republic and Lebanon.
I have called on President Joe Biden to pivot away from appeasing the Mullahs in Tehran and back to a maximum pressure campaign to further isolate the Islamic Republic from the world.
If we do this, I guarantee the Islamic Republic will fall and so will all of their terrorist proxies throughout the world. Imagine the domino effect that would happen if the Islamic Republic would fall and how many freedom and liberty seeking people around the world would benefit.
I pray that one day, in my lifetime, we will see a free Iran and a free Lebanon.
Bryan E. Leib is the Executive Director of Iranian Americans for Liberty. Formerly, he served as the National Director for Americans Against Antisemitism and in 2018, he was a GOP Endorsed Congressional Candidate (PA-03). He tweets at @Bryan_E_Leib. Read Bryan E. Leib's Reports — More Here.
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