Even in the midst of an astounding 2016 presidential campaign that is gripping the attention of most Americans, the U.S. - Iran nuclear deal is back in the news. The IAEA says that, so far, Iran appears to be in compliance. But that is not the whole story.

Now we learn that the regime of the Ayatollahs has a new program to support Palestinian murderers of Israelis. Iran has committed to give $7,000 to families of attackers who have used knives, hammers, scissors and other crude implements to kill and maim. For families that have their homes destroyed by Israel as a form of deterrence against future would-be murderers, Iran will provide $30,000.


None of this can come as a surprise, as Iran has increased financial support of both Hamas and Hezbollah, its two best-known proxies devoted to Israel’s destruction. Nor was any this unanticipated at the time the nuclear agreement was signed.

Even the agreement’s supporters in Congress, and elsewhere, warned that the unfrozen $100 billion of Iranian assets would end up in the hands of terrorists determined to create instability in the Middle East and beyond. Though Israel wears the largest bulls-eye on its back, many other U.S. allies in the region also voiced their fear that the financial bonanza would embolden Iran’s aggressive aims.

Now that the fear that Iran would be emboldened in its support of terrorism is coming to pass, many rightly will argue in favor of applying new sanctions. Former Secretary of State and presidential contender Hillary Clinton spoke out quickly to condemn Iran’s promise to fund Palestinian murder, and no doubt Congress will consider various options.

But presidential leadership will be essential if the U.S. is to pursue the dual policy of blocking Iran’s nuclear weapons program while also opposing Tehran’s destabilizing actions, including support of terrorism, throughout the region. For President Obama, this is an opportunity to show the nation that the White House and the Congress can come together to speak with one voice.  

While the U.S. has argued that the nuclear agreement was essential to keeping weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of Iran’s leaders, it also indicated that many other differences remain between the two countries, and that the U.S. has other tools it will employ to confront Tehran when its behavior crosses red lines.

Applying meaningful American pressure against Iran’s new program to use unfrozen financial assets to kill Jews will have strong bipartisan support, taking politics out of the equation in demonstrating that America’s moral influence and economic might are still credible weapons in the fight to deter Iranian aggression.  

Providing financial stipends to Palestinian terrorists and their families for gruesome killing sprees surely rises to the level of unacceptable behavior that must trigger a clear response by the U.S. government. The American people look forward to Congress and the president making good on the promises made just a few short months ago.

Rosen is the president of the American Jewish Congress and chairman of the American Council for World Jewry.