On Thursday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed the Iran Terror Finance Transparency Act (HR 3662), a bipartisan measure to ensure Iran does not continue unchecked in its quest for regional hegemony.
Following Thursday’s committee meeting, Foreign Affairs Chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) appeared on CNN to discuss the Obama administration’s tilt away from America’s traditional Saudi ally and towards Iran. Royce suggested this escalation is fueling a divide between the Sunnis and Shiites, as continued violence spills over borders in the region.
Speaking with Wolf Blitzer, Royce said that he believes one of the difficulties Congress has had in dealing with the “perceived tilt by the [Obama] administration towards Iran” is that it has “left us with very little leverage to influence, not just Saudi Arabia, but some of the other Sunni counties in the region.”
As a result of this, he said America has gained a perception from leaders in the region as being spinelessness. “The United States keeps backing down in the face of pressure from Iran. We need a policy of more backbone rather than more backing down.”
Iran’s intentions to overthrow the governments in Yemen, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia are no secret, and many leaders in the region have expressed to Royce that they would like for the United States to approach Iran about this issue. The execution of a Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia resulted in Iran setting fire to the Saudi embassy in Tehran and a domino effect of Sunni nations who have severed ties with Iran after following suit with the Kingdom of Saud.
Royce also drew back to President Barack Obama’s missed opportunity to foster regime change in the Islamic Republic of Iran by deciding not to back the democratic opposition during the “Green Revolution.”
In 2009 when people went to the street in Iran after a stolen election to protest against the Ayatollah, what they perceived was that the U.S. administration did not speak out in favor of the people. But instead, during that time, began a policy of trying to engage the Ayatollah and–with respect to Egypt–supported in their minds the Muslim Brotherhood rather than the government of Egypt.
And from their standpoint, it was Iran putting money into the Muslim Brotherhood that was helping support that effort to undermine Egypt. So this whole decision to tilt to Iran becomes the issue for the Jordanians, the Israelis, for the Gulf States, and the Egyptians.
The Obama administration did not stand up to Iran when it sent a rocket within 1,500 yards off the bow of the USS Harry Truman aircraft carrier, when they twice fired missiles in violation of UN sanctions or even with the taking of another American hostage. “Why doesn’t the United States take a strong stance? This is what you hear,” Royce said.