June 7, 2021
On June 1, 2021, AMCD members met with Josh Mandel who is running for Senate from the state of Ohio. Senator Rob Portman is retiring so the seat will be open in 2022. Mr. Mandel expects to run against Tim Ryan (D) who is currently a Congressman. Mandel is a veteran of the Iraq war and is very aware of the dangers emanating from the Middle East.
Mr. Mandel has focused for many years on preventing Iran from accessing resources it uses to fund terrorism. He has led the effort to divest Ohio’s pension fund from Iran when he was a member of the State House and also as Treasurer. He is also co-chair of Defund Iran. According to Wikipedia:
Mandel’s first piece of legislation as a State Representative, H.B. 151, was an initiative to force the multibillion-dollar Ohio pension funds to divest from companies doing business in Iran. He joined State Representative Shannon Jones (R) in an attempt to make Ohio the first state in the nation to divest from Iran, but the legislation was never signed into law due to a compromise between state pension executives and Ohio House leadership, agreed to by Mandel. Then-Speaker of the Ohio House Jon Husted brokered a deal to drop half of the state’s investments in Iran and Sudan with the eventual goal of removing all investment from the two countries.
Mr. Mandel expressed support for the Iranian people in their efforts to free themselves from the tyrannical Islamic Republic. He also expressed dismay at the Biden administration’s eagerness to rejoin the Iran deal. He believes it is of the utmost importance to have clarity about who is America’s friend and who is America’s enemy. He believes the Biden administration is confused on that score and following the old Obama policy of allowing Iran to gain regional hegemony against our longstanding allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Our members agree: this is a huge mistake.
Our members warned that Iran is on the verge of a water crisis due to several years of drought and excessive pumping of the groundwater. Since Iran has not managed its water resources well, agricultural failure due to drought may trigger another wave of migration from the Middle East to Europe.
Mr. Mandel expressed the idea that democrats pretend to be champions of human rights and women’s rights, but when it comes to Iran, Russia and China, they are conspicuously silent. Our members offered that they have found a loophole and that is “culture.” Gender apartheid is alright (according to the Democrats) in Islamic countries because Islamic culture allows it.
Another member brought up the issue of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) which openly lobbies for the Iranian government’s positions. Ariane Tabatabai, who has deep ties to the regime through her family and to NIAC, was appointed a senior advisor on Iranian issues at the State Department. NIAC founder, Trita Parsi, is now the Executive Vice President of the Quincy Institute which Senator Tom Cotton has called an “isolationist, blame America First money pit for so-called scholars who’ve written that American foreign policy could be fixed if only it were rid of the malign influence of Jewish money.”
Our members also explained that the Western world has never truly understood the danger from the Islamic world. The British created the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the US under Carter helped to create the Islamic Republic of Iran. The competition between the Sunni Saudi Arabia and the Shia Iran – both vying for leadership of the Islamic world – has created a lot of extremists. In addition, many of members believe Iran has nuclear weapons already and this is yet another failure of our intelligence services.
Mr. Mandel reiterated that he will be a champion for the Iranian people against their tyrannical government. Our members agreed to support him against Tim Ryan, who has been a staunch supporter of the JCPOA, in 2022. Our members vowed to help Mr. Mandel with the facts he needs to win any debate on this issue.