This sounds like an uncharacteristically firm position for President Biden to be taking vis-à-vis Iran. The mad mullahs say they won’t return to the negotiating table until the U.S. lifts the sanctions Donald Trump imposed on them. Will Biden lift the sanctions?
No, he says, unless and until they stop the uranium enrichment they announced had resumed in January.
Well! Look at you being tough, Joe! Is there reason to think the Biden administration will be tougher on Iran than we thought, and certainly tougher on Iran than the Obama administration was? (Granted, you could scarcely be softer on Iran than Obama was, even if you tried.)
Unfortunately, there’s a lot more reason to expect an imminent Biden cave than to expect anything else.
First, consider that Iran did not only start enriching uranium in January. They’ve been enriching it for years. They publicly acknowledged in January that they were doing it, which made it impossible for Biden to ignore it.
And there’s no reason to be surprised by Iran’s actions because the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by John Kerry made it almost impossible to catch Iran in a violation.
According to the deal, inspectors cannot even visit a site unless they give Iran 30 days’ notice of their intention to do so. That’s more than enough time for Iran to hide the evidence of anything they’re doing.
And even if inspectors do show up and spot a violation, Iran has the right to go through multiple layers of appeal before any kinds of sanctions are imposed on them.
That tees up this current situation for a depressingly obvious conclusion: At some point, to get Biden to cancel the sanctions Trump imposed, Iran will announce it has stopped enriching uranium. Will the Iranians actually stop? Of course not. They’ve never stopped, as Benjamin Netanyahu proved in 2018.
But Iran’s public statement of its intention to stop will be good enough for Biden, who is heavily investing in returning to the terrible 2015 nuclear deal just because Trump trashed it so badly.
Once Iran pretends it is done enriching uranium, Biden will announce a “conditional” lifting of the sanctions (which will actually involve almost no conditions at all), and Iran will return to the talks.
Within a year or so, the Biden administration will claim it has a better deal than the previous one, but it will functionally be the same thing. Iran will be able to continue working toward nuclear weapons, while the West will have the opportunity to conduct sham inspections that give the illusion Iran is “complying” with an agreement that requires nothing of it.
In other words, it will function exactly like the one Kerry negotiated.
The Obama/Biden/Kerry view of the world is that rogue regimes like Iran are no worse than any other country on earth – particularly the United States – and that the only thing required to get them to cooperate with everyone else is a brilliant diplomat (like, oh, say, John Kerry) to persuade them to sign pieces of paper promising to behave.
By the way, another part of the Obama/Biden/Kerry view of the world is that there’s nothing special about Israel, and there’s no reason the United States should bend over backward to protect the Jewish state from annihilation at the hands of Islamic madmen in Tehran. Indeed, they believe that if Israel wasn’t around, it would be a lot easier for them to deal with the oil titans in the Middle East.
That’s why Obama and Kerry never cared if Iran got nukes. The primary reason to prevent it – Israel’s survival – isn’t a priority to them.
There’s no reason to think it is for Biden either, which is why this week’s apparent show of toughness will surely turn out to be just that. A show.
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