Iran continues to clandestinely develop its nuclear program as they have since the early 1990s. Sanctions haven’t stopped them. The nuclear deal with the U.S. and other Western countries only encouraged them.
But the Biden administration appears willing to go to any lengths to entice Iran back into full “compliance” with the agreement begun during the Obama administration. Instead of taking small steps to build trust that Iran would keep its word, the U.S. now appears willing to lift all remaining sanctions on Iran in exchange for the promise of later negotiations.
One can understand Biden’s eagerness to renegotiate President Obama’s signature achievement — even though it did absolutely nothing to slow Iran’s drive to develop a weapons program. Obama was Biden’s boss and the deal was very popular on the radical left.
But do we need a deal so badly that we should unilaterally lift sanctions on Iran?
Biden aides originally said that if Iran resumed compliance, the United States would too – a stance taken to mean Washington wanted Tehran to resume compliance first – but have since made clear that who goes first is not an issue.
While the Biden administration has also sought to project that it is in no hurry, it faces the reality that if there is no progress in April toward reviving the deal, Iranian officials in May will begin intense politicking for the June 18 presidential election.
Iran was on the economic ropes in 2011 when the U.S. first approached its leaders to negotiate a nuclear deal. It’s an open question how long the government could have survived given the massive unemployment, double-digit inflation, and food shortages. Obama saved the Iranian regime in 2015 and gave them license to bolster its allies and attack its enemies in the region.
Tehran rejected a report in the U.S. publication Politico saying Washington planned this week to put forth a new proposal that would ask Iran to halt work on advanced centrifuges and the enrichment of uranium to 20% purity in return for undefined U.S. sanctions relief.
“No proposal is needed for the US to rejoin the JCPOA,” the Iranian mission to the United Nations said on Twitter, referring to the deal formally named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. “It only requires a political decision by the US to fully and immediately implement all of its obligations.”
Implementing U.S. obligations means lifting all sanctions. This is vital for Iran’s crippled oil industry that’s in dire need of spare parts and proper maintenance. Lifting sanctions would also give Iran access to international lending authorities and loans from Western countries.
What could they give us of comparable value? Absolutely nothing. In effect, we’d be doing the terrorists in Tehran a favor.
The main reason there was a nuclear deal in the first place was to give Western politicians an “out” from their commitment to preventing Iran from getting the bomb. In the end, no U.S. president — Republican or Democratic — carried through with threats to destroy Iran’s nuclear program.
If Iran doesn’t have the bomb yet, they will soon. And nothing in any nuclear deal will prevent that.