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In the face of a global pandemic, one might think a U.S. representative’s sole focus would be on the well-being of her constituents. But in the case of Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn, one would be incorrect. She is using the Wuhan coronavirus to bash America to the benefit of the Iranian regime.
On March 13, Omar, the subject of my new book “American Ingrate,” retweeted a thread blaming a medical supplies shortage in Iran on U.S. sanctions, writing, “We need to suspend these sanctions before more lives are lost.”
She tweeted this in spite of the fact that it is the U.S. government’s long-standing policy, including during this pandemic, to permit the sale of “agricultural commodities, food, medicine, and medical devices to Iran.” Reflecting America’s generosity, Congress allows such transactions knowing Iran has historically exploited humanitarian aid to evade sanctions and underwrite its malign efforts.
In spreading a message to the contrary, Omar is acting as a de facto mouthpiece for Iran’s Khomeinist regime, which has been seeking to exploit the suffering of its citizens caused by the Wuhan virus to call for the suspension of U.S. sanctions on Iran.
These sanctions, of course, persist because of the terror the world’s leading state sponsor of jihad has been raining down on the world, including on its own people, since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
It is worth restating, however, because a week prior to Omar’s tweet, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, engaging in a particularly brazen act of projection, accused the United States of committing “#MedicalTerrorism” through its maximum pressure campaign, tweeting:
Zarif later called for the United Nations and its member states to flout U.S. sanctions altogether.
On March 15, an Iranian news agency reported that Iranian MP Mostafa Kavakebian penned a letter to Omar, blaming U.S. sanctions for Iran’s health crisis — a telling correspondence.
The Iran lobby in the United States is supporting Omar’s efforts, with the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) tweeting in apparent support:
Several weeks earlier, NIAC’s 501(c)(4), NIAC Action, delivered a bulletin marshaling support for Omar’s Congressional Oversight of Sanctions Act. The bill, which garnered cheers from the likes of Code Pink, was seen as a check on the Trump administration’s efforts to squeeze the Iranian regime.
NIAC considers Omar one of its closest allies, endorsing the congresswoman as a reliably pro-Iranian regime member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Omar’s former senior legislative assistant was a recent candidate for NIAC Action’s leadership board. These connections ought to give us pause.
In January 2020, Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Mike Braun of Indiana delivered a letter to Attorney General William Barr calling for the Justice Department to determine whether an investigation into the NIAC for potential violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act was merited. Then-Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., sent a similar letter to then-Attorney General Eric Holder in 2009 on account of NIAC’s ties to and efforts seemingly benefiting Iran’s regime.
As The Federalist book editor Mark Hemingway detailed in a recent RealClearInvestigations exposé, the latest inquiry came amid NIAC’s ramping up of lobbying efforts “to shape America’s response” to the strike on Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
That Omar appears to be colluding with NIAC in a similar Iran-aligned campaign regarding sanctions-lifting is disturbing. What makes it particularly outrageous is that in so doing, she is blaming America for a disaster that lies squarely at the ayatollahs’ own feet.
U.S. sanctions are not depriving Iranians of aid. The thousands of Iranian casualties are a direct consequence of the deplorable regime’s dedication to death and destruction and its greed.
The regime took its Iran deal windfall and put it not toward its people — including their health care infrastructure — but toward its raison d’etre: exporting the Islamic revolution, fomenting terror, and lining its pockets. Can chief kleptocrat Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei not be bothered to liquidate some of his estimated $95-$200 billion in assets during a pandemic?
For now, the sad truth is that the Iranian regime and its apparent colluders, such as Omar, are seeking to use a pandemic crisis to enable the regime to remain in business. It is bad enough that Omar has a penchant for blaming America first. Actively aiding our adversaries is even worse.
As this episode reflects, the fact that Omar, as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, consorts with, mimics the rhetoric of, and supports the policies of terror-tied Islamists, foreign and domestic, renders her a danger to America.