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Biden’s dovish posture toward Iran emboldened Tehran in its attack on Israel: experts

Amid a devastating Iranian missile and drone attack on Israel, there are growing calls for Biden to pull the plug on his alleged appeasement policy and confront Tehran.

JERUSALEM American and Israeli experts issued scathing indictments of President Biden’s alleged timid Iran policy after Tehran launched a massive aerial warfare attack on the Jewish state over the weekend.

The Islamic Republic, for the first time, executed direct missile and drone strikes into Israeli territory. The dramatic events in the heart of the Middle East have triggered calls for the Biden administration to reverse its reportedly dovish outreach to the ayatollahs who run the theocratic state. Biden is now urging Israel to recoil from a counterstrike.

"This was a massive, unprecedented and unacceptable strategic attack on Israel," Richard Goldberg, who was a member of former President Trump’s National Security Council, told Fox News Digital. "It would be a huge mistake to pull Israel back from a military retaliation, but it’s downright insanity to keep $10 billion accessible to Tehran in the aftermath. The president needs to lock down all the money he made available to Tehran these past months."

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Last month, Fox News Digital reported that Biden defied opponents of Iran’s regime and waived sanctions on Iran’s cash-starved economy. Biden faced criticism after releasing as much as $10 billion into the coffers of the Islamic Republic. In January, an Iranian regime-sponsored proxy terrorist attack killed three U.S. soldiers in Jordan. 

The Biden administration insisted that Iran’s regime can’t use the funds for its growing military offensive arsenal. Critics argue that the $10 billion is fungible money and the financial allocation allows Iran to revise its budget to expand its military apparatus.

Goldberg, who is a senior adviser for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, added, "If the president is looking for economic and diplomatic responses to the Iranian attack, there are three obvious ones available: lock down the $10 billion, enforce U.S. oil sanctions and snap back U.N. sanctions. If Biden avoids these steps, this isn’t escalation avoidance. It’s continued appeasement."

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Speaking on "Fox News Sunday" with Shannon Bream, White House National Security Communications Adviser John Kirby rejected criticism that the administration has not been tough enough on Tehran, noting the sanctions and other measures used against Tehran: "It's hard to take a look at what President Biden has done and say that we've somehow gone soft on Iran."

He continued, "It was the previous administration that decided to get us out of the Iran deal. And now Iran is so much dramatically closer to potential nuclear weapon capability than they were before … Mr. Trump was elected."

Quizzed on the financial relief given to Iran and how the regime used it, he said, "It's not even sanctions relief but the additional funds that have been made available to Iran due to [the] sanctions relief program that the Trump administration put in place can only be used for humanitarian goods. It doesn't go to the regime."

Former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, who appeared on "Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo," said he believed the Biden administration’s reaction to the death of the IRGC generals in Syria following the reported Israeli attack showed how "fractured" the relationship with Israel had become, and that it had "emboldened Iran." 

Fox News Digital reported in October, shortly after Iran’s proxy, Hamas, slaughtered 1,200 people, including over 30 Americans, in southern Israel that the Biden administration and its European allies allowed U.N. sanctions to be lifted on Iran’s capability to purchase and supply missiles to enemies of the U.S. and Israel.

A State Department spokesperson told Fox News Digital at the time that "the snapback mechanism is not expiring and remains in place. We do not rely solely on UNSCR 2231 to restrict Iran’s dangerous development and proliferation of missile-related technologies and UAVs, but rather a comprehensive set of multilateral and unilateral tools."

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The spokesperson went on to say, "We continue to use all our tools to counter Iran’s missile and UAV development and proliferation, including sanctions, unilateral and multilateral export controls, interdiction activities, diplomatic engagement, cooperation with private industry."

Lisa Daftari, a leading Iranian-American expert on the Islamic Republic and editor-in-chief of the Foreign Desk, told Fox News Digital that "The Biden administration’s posture in the first hours of coming into the White House was that they were going to go soft on the regime. Their policies reflected this. Their rhetoric reflected this. They sent a clear message to the mullahs that there would be no consequences for their rogue actions. What we are seeing is a manifestation of weak policies and the ayatollah’s correct read on American foreign policy."

The U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to a Fox News Digital press query. A State Department spokesperson told Fox News Digital last week that "Iran’s political, financial and material support to terror groups, Hamas prominently among them, is well documented, and in fact trumpeted by the regime. Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. The regime prioritizes financing Hamas and proxy groups at the expense of its own people and stability in the region."

Yaakov Katz, a leading Israeli expert on security and defense of the Jewish state, told Fox News Digital that "Iran has been given immunity since Oct. 7 despite the continued attacks by its proxies: Hamas, Houthis and Hezbollah."

Katz added, "What happened on Saturday night was a direct and unprecedented Iranian attack against Israel. The containment policy does not work and the world’s strategy of diplomacy and sanctions is not effective. The world needs to shift gears and change the way it has tried to confront Iran."

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