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Every day, we awaken to more chilling images of what Russia has done to the people of Ukraine. Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko recently said over 10,000 people have been found dead since Putin’s invasion began. The Pentagon suspects chemical weapons may have been used in the attack.

By now, there is no question in the eyes of the objective onlooker that Russia is routinely involved in war crimes and crimes against humanity. On Tuesday, President Biden went so far as to say that Putin was “committing genocide.”

There are reports of arbitrary torture, forced disappearance and relocation of a least 2,500 children, and their transfer of them to “filtration” camps, among more than 6,000 investigations of alleged war crimes so far.

Yet, because of an eagerness to cement a nuclear deal with Iran,  the Biden administration is neglecting to connect the dots to the strong alliance between Russia and Iran.  As we are trying to create a worldwide embargo against Russia because of their horrific human rights abuses, somehow we are giving them a “pass” on Iran.

When we embolden Iran, we are simultaneously emboldening their ally, Russia. While we attempt to impose a worldwide embargo on Russian oil and nuclear energy, so much so that we are considering sanctioning China for dealing with Russia, Russia has been given a “pass” in its dealings with Iran.

Last month, Russia almost put the nuclear talks on permanent suspension in Vienna to keep its nuclear  and reactor fuel trade with Iran. According to Andrea Trickler of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, this includes an excess of $10 billion for the Bushehr plant, four subsidies of Russia’s state- owned Rosatom nuclear corporation, Rosatom Energy International, Atomstroyeksport, TVL Fuel Company and TENEX.

On March 15, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that in order to pursue its lucrative nuclear and oil trade with Iran, “We have written guarantees, they are included in the very text of the agreement on reviving the JCPOA.

Further, on Tuesday, news broke that Russia is receiving armaments and military hardware from Iraq, through the assistance of Shiite smuggling networks, based on reports from Iranian-backed sources. Rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), anti-tank missiles and Brazilian-designed rocket launcher systems have all fallen into Russian hands, via Iranian-backed Shiite networks for Russia to execute its horrific war against Ukraine.

Hashd al-Shaabi is a major Shiite militia umbrella group in the region, which took the weapons to Iran, and the Iranian military. Said a spokesman for Hashd al-Shaabi: “We don’t care where the heavy weapons go because we don’t need them at the moment. Whatever is anti-US makes us happy.”

Of course these weapons are coming from the same Iran that manufactured IEDs, which resulted in thousands of US servicemen and women coming home from Iraq with missing limbs or in body bags. It is the same Iran which is 1983 murdered 241 US marines asleep in their barracks in. It is the same Iran whose esteemed President Ebrahim Raisi is known as the “butcher of Tehran” because of his 1988 death squads in which he sentenced more than 5,000 brave Iranian dissidents to death, along with members of the LGBTQ community. There were so many condemned that they had to be lifted up by cranes, six at a time.

It is one thing that there are somehow still those who believe that enriching the Iranian regime with at least $90 billion in unfrozen assts will prevent them from developing a nuclear bomb—we know it will not. And we know that the money will not go to the people, but to their terror proxies throughout the world, to their missile program and to further advance their nuclear program.

It is quite another to give a green light to the Russians as they inflict the greatest crimes against humanity seen on the European Continent since World War II.

Either we acknowledge that Russia is evil and are serious about a total economic embargo on this horrific regime, or we don’t. Because of the administration’s habitual willingness to blind themselves to the sheer evil that is the Iranian regime and their hellbent desire to reach a deal with them,  we are willing to close our eyes to the enormous evil that not only exists in the Islamic Republic of Iran, but also within Russia.

This sort of situational ethics should not be a part of US foreign policy. Either we will find ourselves standing on the right side of history or we will not.

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About the Author

Sarah Stern
Sarah Stern is founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET).

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