U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called for the Administration to directly sanction the Iranian foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, as well as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iran’s “Supreme Leader” after the Administration today imposed sanctions on the Syrian foreign minister and several other Syrian regime officials.
“With the decision made to sanction Assad and other top thugs in Syria, I see no reason why the Administration would continue to give a free pass to Iran’s Ahmadinejad, the so-called ‘Supreme Leader,’ and the regime’s foreign minister.
“The Iranian and Syrian regimes are partners in crime, and the U.S. should apply the same sanctions to both dictatorships. Both regimes brutally oppress their own citizens, and the Iranian regime is helping the Syrian regime with its ongoing bloody crackdown. Both regimes are sponsoring violent extremist groups and pursuing unconventional weapons and missile capabilities to threaten the U.S., our ally Israel, and other free nations. Neither regime has the legitimacy to rule.
“The U.S. and other responsible nations must start by directly sanctioning the highest ranking Iranian regime officials. And with the UN General Assembly convening in New York in weeks, the U.S. must unequivocally deny all Iranian and Syrian regime officials access to U.S. soil.”
Lehtinen's statement highlights the failure of Obama's policy with Iran that was well exposed in his refrain to firmly support the democratic uprising in 2009-2010. As we know, he focused on futile negotiations with the Mullahs and therefore, in the middle of Iranian uprising, Obama sent his envoys to meet with Supreme Leader's delegates in Geneva to reach a "historic" bargain over the nuclear program. (See "The Pro-engagement Lobby and US Failure with Iran")
A root cause of this failure is the persistent efforts by various interest groups to redirect the American policy to benefit them. These groups that favor engagement and coexistence with Mullahs, are assisted by some “Iran experts” who have effectively portrayed a delusionary description of the Iran’s internal power structure and status.
Ironically, the same people who prior to the Iranian uprising advised Obama to coexist with Ahmadinejad and Khamenei, remained the administration's privileged interlocutor after the uprising. In a matter of seconds, they turned "Green movement" advocates and continued to advise the administration to not support the movement, continue the failed policy of engagement and avoid the possibility of regime change in Iran.
If Obama wants to reevaluate his failed policy with Iran, he should start to hear from the Iranians and opposition groups that in large majority support a regime change by the Iranian people.