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Republicans Urge Biden to Withdraw from Fruitless Iran Nuclear Talks

As the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna continue, 110 House Republicans led by House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican Michael McCaul sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging the administration to pull out of the Vienna talks.


In their letter, the Congressmen wrote:

We write to urge you to immediately withdraw from the fruitless Vienna talks to re-enter the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and instead strongly enforce existing sanctions against Iran, particularly with respect to the oil trade between Iran and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Further delay of action on this only further enables Iran’s malign activities, including their aggressive nuclear pursuits.


…The United States and our partners must increase pressure on Iran to stop its dangerous nuclear advancements. The most effective way to do so is to strongly enforce our existing sanctions and urge our partners to take similar steps. If Iran is not prepared to negotiate as things stand, we need to build our leverage to compel them to negotiate a better, stricter deal with no sunsets.


As a first, immediate step, the Administration must enforce penalties against the PRC’s flagrant violations of U.S. sanctions on Iran’s oil trade… Reports in November showed that the PRC continued to import an average of over half a million barrels of Iranian oil per day. It is well past time for the Administration to end these farcical negotiations and fully enforce our existing sanctions to slash this vital source of revenue for the Iranian regime.

As the letter points out, Iran is moving forward with its nuclear program, blocking oversight by the International Atomic Energy Agency, and doing a booming business with China that subverts the international economic sanctions against Iran.


Adam Kredo at the Washington Free Beacon adds:

Iran's illicit oil shipments, which skyrocketed in 2021 as China boosted its imports—as the Free Beacon first reported last week—are the latest flashpoint in the talks. The Biden administration says it is prepared to lift all sanctions on Iran's oil sector, drawing ire from Republicans who say this decision will give Iran access to billions of dollars in cash windfalls. In turn, the regime can use that money to fuel terror attacks on the United States and its allies in the region.


Republican lawmakers want the Biden administration to immediately issue new sanctions on Iran for its ongoing illicit oil shipments to China, Venezuela, Russia, and other countries. Iran is taking in at least $1.3 billion a month from these sales, the lawmakers disclose.

Biden Placates Base, Blames Trump, as Vienna Talks Falter

Instead of focusing our diplomatic, economic, military, intelligence, and other resources on stopping the threat of a nuclear Iran, the Biden administration has chosen to pursue a political goal: keeping their base happy by blaming former President Donald Trump for the approaching failure of the Vienna talks.


On Tuesday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price turned a press question into how the Vienna talks are going into an attack on President Trump:

[I]t is deeply unfortunate that because of an ill-considered or perhaps unconsidered decision by the previous administration that this administration came into office without these stringent verification and monitoring protocols that were in place and that according to the State Department, according to our Intelligence Community, and according to the IAEA international weapons inspectors, a deal that was working to permanently and verifiably prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.


… Ever since the last administration left the JCPOA, Iran has been able to gallop forward with its nuclear promise. We were promised that Iran’s proxies would be cowed, that Iran would be cowed into submission by the so-called maximum pressure program. Quite the opposite is true. And we continue to see reminders that Iran’s proxies have not been subdued, and in fact, quite the opposite.


We were told that we’d be in a better position to take on the full set of challenges that Iran poses, whether its ballistic missiles, whether it is support to terrorism, whether it’s human rights violations. How exactly were we supposed to do that when it was the United States and not Iran that was isolated as a result of the decision to abandon a deal and a protocol that was working. That’s just the starting point that we had to accept on January 20th of this year. It was an unfortunate starting point, but that’s the starting point from which we’ve been working.

In yesterday’s press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki responded similarly to a question about the Vienna talks by saying:

Most importantly, none of the things we’re looking at now — Iran’s increased capability and capacity, their aggressive actions that they have taken through proxy wars around the world — would be happening if the former president had not recklessly pulled out of the nuclear deal with no thought as to what might come next.

Further reading:

Lahav Harkov: White House’s Trump blame game is a bad sign for Iran talks

Benny Avni: Biden getting set to accept Iran’s status as a ‘near-nuclear’ state

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Donald Trump, Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani, and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan wave from the Truman Balcony at the White House after signing the Abraham Accords in August 2020.

Congress Launches Bipartisan Abraham Accords Caucus

Marc Rod reports at the Jewish Insider about the launch of a bipartisan House-Senate caucus to support and promote the normalization agreements between Israel and Arab states begun with the Abraham Accords:

The caucus’s co-chairs will be Sens. James Lankford (R-OK), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), David Trone (D-MD), Ann Wagner (R-MO) and Brad Schneider (D-IL).


…Lankford said that the group can also help keep the executive branch focused on adding more countries to the agreement, both during the Biden administration as well as those of future presidents.


“I don’t want this getting lost in the State Department,” he said. “So this is a way that we can actually reach out to State and continue to push that, and continue to be able to encourage those countries… and we have relationships with them as well.”

RJC Seeks CA Outreach Associate

The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) is seeking an Outreach Associate to assist with the accelerated growth of membership and to support programming and events in California. Candidates must be organized, motivated, and detail-oriented. This position is based in Los Angeles, CA.


For details about the position and how to apply, click here.

Amb. David Friedman Joins RJC Board of Directors

The Republican Jewish Coalition announces that the Honorable David M. Friedman, former Ambassador of the United States to the State of Israel, has been elected to the RJC Board of Directors.


RJC National Chairman Senator Norm Coleman said:

As US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman was instrumental in strengthening the US-Israel relationship under President Donald Trump, including overseeing the move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and achieving US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. He was also a leading member of the Trump administration team that developed the historic Abraham Accords and brought that ambitious policy to fruition… We are very excited that David Friedman is now taking a leadership role in the Republican Jewish Coalition.

Read the full release here.

Short Takes

The UN’s final solution to the Israel question

Cliff May, president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, writes about an escalation in the UN’s campaign to demonize Israel. A Commission of Inquiry (COI), under the auspices of Human Rights Council (UNHRC), will examine Israel’s conduct during the conflict started by Hamas last spring. May writes: “Expect the COI also to broadcast the slander that Israel is an apartheid state, carrying the implication that Israel has no right to defend itself – indeed, no right to exist.” [Note: President Joe Biden brought the US back into the UNHRC last year. The vote to fund the COI passed with 125 member states voting for it; the US, Israel, and six other countries voting against it, and 34 abstentions.]

Islamist bigots in no position to accuse Jews of backing hate
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has issued a report on the funding of what it calls “Islamophobic groups” that attacks Jewish philanthropists. Jonathan Tobin writes: “CAIR isn't interested in actual hate groups, such as those whose members might attack mosques, synagogues or black churches. The aim of the report is to blur the line between actual extremism and those who express a legitimate concern about hate that emanates from the Muslim community.”

Yad Vashem launches academy to train future leaders in Holocaust awareness

The new Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Educational Leadership Academy opened in Jerusalem this week. The academy’s goal is to “train ‘ambassadors’ of Holocaust education around the world, who will, in turn, grow networks in their countries among opinion-shapers: educators, diplomats, clergy and civic leaders, as well as those in the military and law enforcement.”







Atlanta: GOP "Job Interview" in GA-06
Live event with five Republican primary candidates for Congress in Georgia's 6th district.
This event was originally scheduled for Jan. 16 but was postponed because of inclement weather and will take place on Jan. 23.




Los Angeles: Event with Rep. Mike Garcia
Live event with the Congressman representing CA-25.


Watch Now: Replay of Past Virtual Events

You can see recordings of many past RJC virtual events. Go to the RJC homepage and scroll down to the "RJC Live" section. There's a drop-down menu there to select the video you want to see.

RJC staff have returned to their offices for in-person work. Contact information for our offices can be found on our web site. Please visit us online for the latest RJC news, to see details of upcoming events, and to donate to the RJC. Read past editions of this newsletter here.

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