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Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tours an exhibition in Tehran on Iran's nuclear industry, June 11, 2023.

Biden Still Working Toward Iran Deal

Despite official denials from the Biden administration, Iran’s foreign ministry confirmed this week that the US and Iran continue to "exchange messages" about a return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. The New York Times reported yesterday:

The Biden administration has been negotiating quietly with Iran to limit Tehran’s nuclear program and free imprisoned Americans, according to officials from three countries, in part of a larger US effort to ease tensions and reduce the risk of a military confrontation with the Islamic Republic.


The US goal is to reach an informal, unwritten agreement, which some Iranian officials are calling a "political cease-fire." It would aim to prevent a further escalation in a long-hostile relationship that has grown even more fraught as Iran builds up a stockpile of highly enriched uranium close to bomb-grade purity, supplies Russia with drones for use in Ukraine and brutally cracks down on domestic political protests.

According to the Times’ report, Iran would agree not to enrich uranium beyond its current level of 60% purity. (Ninety percent is needed to produce a nuclear weapon.) In return, the US would ease up on sanctions. Iran also wants the US to unfreeze billions of dollars in Iranian assets in exchange for the release of three Iranian Americans the regime now holds hostage.


Writing at the JNS, Israel Kasnett argues that a US-Iran agreement would, "bolster Iran’s hegemonic ambitions, increase the regime’s support for its terror proxies, deepen its growing defense ties with Russia and bring closer a clash with Israel."


A Wall Street Journal report (paywall) notes that: "Even an informal understanding with Iran making US sanctions concessions for limited, reversible steps by Iran to curtail its nuclear program will face criticism, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying Tuesday his government won’t be bound by any such deal. It is also a departure from the so-called stronger and longer nuclear deal Biden said he would negotiate."


House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) sent a letter to President Joe Biden underscoring concerns about the reported new deal. He wrote:

I am disturbed by recent revelations that the Administration has re-engaged in “proximity talks" with the Iranian regime, and that the results of these discussions have included the apparent greenlighting of sizable payments to Iran. This calls into question your Administration’s intent to follow the law and submit any agreement with Iran to Congress, as required by the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (“INARA”; 42 U.S.C. 2160e).


...[The language of the law] makes clear that any arrangement or understanding with Iran, even informal, requires submission to Congress.


...Rather than using United States diplomatic leverage and military deterrence to dissuade Iran from engaging in these malign activities, this Administration is rewarding Iran’s bad behavior in exchange for a false promise of de-escalation.


I urge the Administration to remember that US law requires that any agreement, arrangement, or understanding with Iran needs to be submitted to Congress pursuant to INARA. Any continued obstruction will rob the American people, and in particular the Gold Star families whose loved ones were killed by Iran-backed terrorism, of answers about why the United States is facilitating the lining of Iran’s coffers.

Other members of Congress sharply criticized the reported US-Iran talks as well:

"I think what they’re trying to do is do sanctions relief, getting around Congress,” [Senator Lindsey] Graham said. The administration is required to submit any agreement with Iran regarding its nuclear program for congressional review, but critics speculate it is seeking to sidestep those requirements. “They want a deal so bad they can taste it. They’ll crawl through glass for it. It’s unseemly."

Chinese Minister of Public Security Wang Xiaohong with Cuban Minister of Interior Lazaro Alberto Alvarez Casas in Beijing, May 20, 2023.

China to Build Huge Spy Station in Our Backyard

The Wall Street Journal reported this week (paywall):

China and Cuba have reached a secret agreement for China to establish an electronic eavesdropping facility on the island… An eavesdropping facility in Cuba, roughly 100 miles from Florida, would allow Chinese intelligence services to scoop up electronic communications throughout the southeastern US, where many military bases are located, and monitor US ship traffic.


Officials familiar with the matter said that China has agreed to pay cash-strapped Cuba several billion dollars to allow it to build the eavesdropping station and that the two countries had reached an agreement in principle.

Elliott Abrams writes at National Review:

[T]he symbolism of China replacing the USSR in spying on the United States from Cuba could not be more revealing about the new Cold War we are in. China now defines itself as the Soviets’ replacement and successor as the main antagonist of the United States. If spying from Cuba was useful for the Soviets, China wants the same advantages because it has the same enemy.


Second, this revelation about China and Cuba shows very clearly how foolish the Obama and Biden administrations have been in their efforts to improve relations with Cuba. The Cuban communist regime will of course take our money if we are offering any, but realignment out of the communist camp is not on offer. If that camp is increasingly being led from Beijing and not Moscow, that is the one realignment Havana will choose.


…Cuba remains what it has been since Fidel Castro took power in 1959: a country ruled by a communist party that defines itself as an enemy of the United States and an ally of any other American antagonist. Now, China is replacing Russia as Cuba’s banker, and Cuba is replaying its old Cold War role in our new Cold War with China. Who says history never repeats itself?

Walter Russell Mead, responding to the China-Cuba news, has harsh words about how this configuration of global powers came about (paywall):

Cuba is the tip of the iceberg. From Tijuana to Tierra del Fuego, American interests are under threat as virtually every country in Latin America suffers from major and growing social, political and economic distress. Narcotrafficking cartels have tightened their grip across much of Central America and into the Caribbean. Law and order is collapsing in Ecuador, while political instability seethes across countries like Bolivia and Peru. Argentina is again reaping the catastrophic results of populist Peronist economic policy. The Venezuelan dictatorship continues to tighten its grip as it sucks the remaining wealth from what ought to be one of the richest nations in the hemisphere. Haiti no longer has even the ghost of a government. In Brazil neither the right-populist shenanigans of the [Jair] Bolsonaro government nor the left-populist quack remedies of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s Workers’ Party offer much hope to a stagnant, rapidly deindustrializing economy.


…The security and prosperity of our neighborhood matters enormously to the US, but Latin America has been at most an afterthought in American foreign policy since the end of the Cold War… Washington’s passivity as drug cartels undermined state structures and as hostile foreign powers established beachheads across the hemisphere handed China, Russia and Iran a historic opportunity. Unless Joe Biden learns to channel the spirit of James Monroe, the toxic cocktail of instability and foreign interference in the Western Hemisphere could soon undermine America’s ability to face challenges farther afield.

More bad news about China: China, PA sign ‘strategic partnership’ agreement

China and the Palestinian Authority signed a “strategic partnership” agreement in Beijing on June 14. The signing took place during a four-day visit to China’s capital by P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas.


Abbas was the “first Arab head of state received by China this year, embodying the high level of China-Palestine good relations, which have traditionally been friendly,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin.

2024 Field Continues to Grow

Francis Suarez

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez formally announced today that he is running for President, becoming the latest candidate to jump into a Republican primary field. He is the third Florida resident to join the growing Republican primary that already includes Governor Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump. See his campaign video here.


Suarez is the first mayor of Miami who was born in that city. He’s also the first mayor not to be born in Cuba since 1996. He was first elected mayor in 2017 and was reelected in 2021. He was elected by his fellow mayors to leadership roles in the US Conference of Mayor and he served as President of the conference from June 2022-June 2023.


Did you know? Francis Suarez’s father, Xavier Suarez, served as mayor of Miami from 1985-1993. And the new presidential candidate is the cousin of Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV).


Cornel West

In a different part of the political galaxy, anti-Israel radical activist Cornel West announced Monday that he is running for president next year as a third-party candidate. West has long been an anti-Israel agitator in the Democratic Party. In 2016, he was named to the Democratic Party Platform Committee, where he pushed to add anti-Israel language to the platform that would have undermined the traditional Democratic Party support of Israel. The RJC spoke out at the time and released this ad about him.

Short Takes

US House promotes special envoy role to advance Abraham Accords

The US House of Representatives has passed a bipartisan bill to create the diplomatic position of ambassador for the Abraham Accords to help advance Israel’s normalization with its Arab neighbors, particularly with Saudi Arabia. "The addition of a special envoy will be critical for bringing Saudi Arabia into the accords and continuing to strengthen and expand them," Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY) said.


According to the bill, which was approved in a 413-13 vote on Tuesday evening, the new envoy "would serve as the primary advisor to, and coordinate efforts across, the US Government relating to expanding and strengthening the Abraham Accords."

Senators introduce resolution to clearly label attacks against Israel as antisemitism

Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) and Senators Eric Schmitt (R-MO), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced a resolution today condemning antisemitism and embracing the widely-accepted International Holocaust Remembrance Association (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. This resolution reinforces that any hatred toward the Jewish community or delegitimization of the state of Israel is indeed antisemitism and sends a strong message that the full force of the federal government is leading the charge against antisemitism of any kind.


This resolution follows the Biden administration’s decision not to codify this commonly-used and widely-accepted definition in its national strategy to counter antisemitism, and is endorsed by the Republican Jewish Coalition, the Zionist Organization of America and NORPAC.

US to rejoin UNESCO

UNESCO announced Monday that the United States plans to rejoin the UN cultural and scientific agency — and pay more than $600 million in back dues — after a decade-long dispute sparked by the organization’s move to include Palestine as a member.

Find out who we are, what we do, and how YOU can get involved! Watch our new video and share it with your friends!






NY: Meet & Greet Luncheon with Rep. Mike Lawler (NY-17)
Rep. Lawler is a friend of Israel and the Jewish community who is making headlines with his fight against antisemitism on campus.





CA: Leadership Luncheon with Rep. Michelle Steel (CA-45)
Democrats want to flip Southern California blue. Meet the two-term Republican who holds this key seat.





SAVE THE DATE: Meet & Greet Breakfast with Rep. Anthony D'Esposito (NY-04)
An opportunity for RJC Leaders to meet the Congressman representing central and southern Nassau County.





TX: Event with Rep. Morgan Luttrell (TX-08)
Join us for a conversation in Houston with Rep. Luttrell, a former US Navy officer serving his first term in Congress.




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