With the world’s attention naturally diverted to the Ukraine conflict, it’s easy to forget that the Biden administration is renegotiating the Iran deal that former US President Barack Obama struck in 2015, and from which President Joe Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, stepped down in 2018.
Although a Russian envoy told Reuters over the weekend that “we may have an agreement in the middle of next week”, talks in Vienna to renegotiate the terms of the 2015 agreement, which are unfolding since April 2021, have been postponed. in jeopardy last Sunday.
Russia has been accused of trying to hijack the deal as part of its dispute with the West over Ukraine. They fear that their economic exchanges with Iran will be affected by the American sanctions imposed on Russia since its invasion of Ukraine.
The Guardian reports that America will almost certainly reject the demand that Russian-Iranian trade be exempted from sanctions, as it would open a huge hole in the sanctions regime. It would then be up to Russia to veto the deal. This could be a blessing in disguise, as the pact the Biden administration is negotiating with Iran represents a huge sellout.
The intentions behind the original 2015 deal with Iran sound good on paper. When the Obama administration negotiated it that year, the purpose of the pact was to limit the country’s nuclear program in order to make it more difficult for Iran to obtain fissile material for a nuclear bomb in exchange for a easing of economic sanctions. Atieh International managing partner Bijan Khajehpur said the deal would trigger economic growth as 20% of Iran’s problems were related to sanctions before 2015.
Under the Trump administration, the Iranian government deployed new technology to enrich its uranium supplies in 2019, a clear violation of the deal with Iran. Through Israel’s exposure of Iran’s nuclear archive in 2018, it became clear that Iran’s Supreme Leader Hassan Rouhani was still serious about his country’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. Therefore, Trump was right to worry about the Iran deal and that’s why he scrapped it in 2018.
Indeed, the 2015 deal failed to curb the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ continued support for terrorist groups like Hezbollah, making a permanent peace between the United States and Iran unlikely. because of Lebanon’s attacks on Israel. Moreover, the Iran Deal has only delayed the country’s nuclear program.
Despite this, the Trump administration should have implemented French President Emmanuel Macron’s four-point plan which would see the lifting of all US sanctions in exchange for an end to Iran’s destabilizing activities in the Middle East and its nuclear ambitions. This means that Trump’s failure to replace Obama’s deal with something better has led to the backdrop of today’s indirect talks between America and Iran.
Now the Biden administration is about to sign a deal far worse than the one Obama struck nearly seven years ago. Under the US President’s revised pact, the Revolutionary Guards will be removed from the Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) list. This gives them a free pass to continue their destabilizing activities in the Middle East. Even the Obama administration would not have been satisfied with such a provision.
In addition, the current Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, will have his human rights sanctions lifted. The reason Raisi was sanctioned by Trump in 2019 is because he was responsible for the extrajudicial killings of some 5,000 people in 1988. In addition, he launched the violent crackdown on the Green Revolution in 2009, which was sparked by an organized presidential election. Such a decision only legitimizes Raisi’s international presence and shows that the Biden administration did not issue enough red lines during the negotiations in Vienna.
The Biden administration not only capitulated to Iran, but also to Russia. The removal of the Iranian Yemeni Houthis from the FTO list last March was a major concession to bring Iran back to the negotiating table, but at the cost of allowing the Houthis to continue committing terrible atrocities in Yemen.
The lifting of sanctions against Nord Stream 2 was a concession to persuade the Russians to stay involved in the Vienna negotiations. Yet they were reimposed following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine. As a result, the Biden administration’s goodwill toward Moscow has backfired badly.
Russia and China are the only two countries that would benefit from these negotiations – China because they will continue to trade with Iran, and Russia because they will have a client state in the Middle East. Biden has appeased these three nations at the expense of increasing the terrorist threat against the United States and emboldening the Middle Eastern ambitions of Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The United States cannot afford to appease totalitarian dictatorships. As Trump’s former national security adviser for the Middle East, Victoria Coates, said, they need to exert more influence on the Iranian government. At the same time, they must return to the principles of Macron’s four-point plan to completely end Iran’s nuclear program. Unfortunately, the Biden administration has shown no willingness to embrace Macron’s vision, and the United States will lose as a result.
Matt Snape is a freelance journalist who has written for i Paper, Slugger O’Toole and the Metro in the UK, Italian newspaper Il Giornale and its sister publication, Inside Over, and The American Conservative. He has also worked for Blasting News and GRV Media.