The Center for Security Policy, in partnership with Iranian-Americans for Liberty (IAL), hosted a webinar on September 29th entitled “Emboldened Iranian State-Sponsored Terrorism in the Raisi Era,” featuring Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (R-NY); Dr. Victoria Coates, Director of the Center’s Middle East and North Africa Program and former Deputy National Security Advisor; former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East Simone Ledeen; and former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorist Financing Marshall Billingslea. The Executive Director of IAL, Bryan Leib, moderated the panel.
- “The Iranian regime may look like a legitimate state, and the Biden Administration is falling into the dangerous trap of thinking that it acts like one, too. The reality is this regime functions as a terrorist group,” said Congresswoman Tenney. “Appeasing terrorists only invites more violence, which is why the only path forward with Iran is a continued campaign of maximum economic pressure. This is the standard I am fighting to hold the Biden Administration to in Congress.”
- “Now during a time of political change for the U.S., Israel and Iran we see a new dynamic emerging. It is clear to even the most casual observer that DoD will not continue to use its force posture to deter Iranian aggression and limit Iran’s freedom of maneuver,” Ms. Ledeen observed. “Also, the extent to which it will continue to build the capabilities and capacity of our partners to address Iran’s malign activities has been significantly reduced. As a result, the U.S. has ceded a leadership role in response to Iran’s aggression, particularly when it comes to working with allies and partners.”
- “The Iranian regime is certainly a leading state sponsor of terrorism and routinely deploys terrorist proxies from Hezbollah in Lebanon to the Houthi in Yemen to expand their power through the deliberate use of violence against defenseless civilians,” Dr. Coates said. “But what sets the Iranian regime apart is their willingness to use the official elements of their government from the IRGC to their own Ministry of Foreign Affairs to engage in terrorism.”
- “The Biden has gifted a massive windfall to the Iranians in the form of hard currency,” Mr. Billingslea remarked. “The Iranians will inevitably plow that money back into the Quds force, back into Hezbollah, back into the Houthis, into Hamas, into the Shia militias in Iraq, into Bahrain, the list just goes on and on and on. We had the Iranian regime by the throat economically.”
- “The time is now for the American people to start raising their voices in support of the Iranian people in their fight for freedom against the Iranian regime. We must stand with the Iranian people. The time is now,” concluded Mr. Leib at the end of the panel.