President Joe Biden offered his hand in peace to the Iranian government last week when he offered to rejoin the nuclear agreement. Iran promptly swatted that hand away by pledging to violate the limits on uranium enrichment contained in the deal.
“Iran is not after nuclear weapons, but its nuclear enrichment will not be limited to 20% either,” read a statement posted to Khamenei’s Twitter account on Monday. “It will enrich uranium to any extent that is necessary for the country. Iran’s enrichment level may reach 60% to meet the country’s needs.”
That’s a heartbeat away from the 90 percent enrichment threshold necessary for use in an atomic weapon. This presents just one more issue to be negotiated, which will give the Iranians the opportunity to take the hapless Biden to the cleaners in any deal.
Khamenei’s comments came after U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken said Monday that the U.S. could rejoin the JCPOA if Iran comes back into “strict compliance” with the terms of the deal.
“Working with allies and partners, we will…seek to lengthen and strengthen the JCPOA and address other areas of concern, including Iran’s destabilizing regional behavior and ballistic missile development and proliferation,” Blinken said in a pre-recorded speech to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. “Iran must comply with its safeguards agreements with the [International Atomic Energy Agency] and its international obligations.”
During the original nuclear talks, the Iranian negotiator Mohammad Javad Zarif constantly screamed at U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. It got so bad that security people for both men entered the negotiating room, concerned the two had come to blows.
No chance of that. Kerry sat there and took his browbeating. That’s a sample of Iranian negotiating tactics.
Several members of Biden’s foreign policy team were intimately involved in the original negotiations for the nuclear deal. That could be one reason that Biden is trying so hard for a foreign policy triumph with Iran.
Biden took office pledging to reverse Trump’s pullout from the deal, which gave [Iran] billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program. Just last week, Biden delivered in at least three ways: agreeing to return to multinational talks with Iran about reviving the deal, rescinding Trump’s determination that all U.N. sanctions on Iran must be restored, and easing onerous travel restrictions on Iranian diplomats posted to the United Nations.
Yet, Iran has held firm to demands that it will not respond to anything less than a full lifting of the sanctions Trump reimposed. Over the weekend, Iran made good on a threat to suspend adherence to a U.N. agreement allowing intrusive inspections of its declared nuclear sites. Although it stopped short of ordering the removal of international inspectors, Iran reduced cooperation with them and vowed to revisit the step in three months if sanctions aren’t removed.
When you unilaterally surrender advantages to an enemy without getting anything in return, how can they do anything but hold you in contempt? Khamenei now knows he won’t have to worry about Joe Biden over the next few years. This allows Iran the freedom to continue with the war in Syria, with its support for the Houthis in Yemen, with its bankrolling of the terrorist Hezbollah, and with threatening Israel. Iran’s plans for regional hegemony are continuing with no opposition from the Biden administration.