Talks are continuing in Vienna between Iran and the U.S. over reviving the 2015 nuclear deal. The U.S. is demanding that Iran stop their bomb-making nuclear activities while Iran is insisting that the U.S. lift all sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
This presents a big problem for our president: how best to surrender to Iran and give them what they want. He has to give at least the appearance of resistance. And he’s got to do it in small bites, rather than give Iran the whole enchilada.
Biden promised when the talks began that there would be no unilateral lifting of any sanctions. Not while he was president, by god, and you can take that to the bank.
As indirect talks continue this week in Vienna to explore the possibility of reviving the nuclear deal, American officials have become increasingly expansive about what they might be prepared to offer Iran, which has been driving a hard line on sanctions relief, demanding that all U.S. penalties be removed, according to these people.)
American officials have refused to discuss which sanctions are being considered for removal. But they have said they are open to lifting any sanctions that are inconsistent with the nuclear deal or that deny Iran the relief it would be entitled to should it return to compliance with the accord. Because of the complex nature of the sanctions architecture, that could include non-nuclear sanctions, such as those tied to terrorism, missile development and human rights.
A daunting task, then, to surrender but not make it too obvious. But never fear, our brave Sir President will figure out a way to slay the sanctions dragon without arousing the ire of those who would be targets of any Iranian nuclear attack.
“Any return to the JCPOA would require sanctions relief, but we are considering removing only those sanctions that are inconsistent with the JCPOA,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price. “Even if we rejoin the JCPOA — which remains a hypothetical — we would retain and continue to implement sanctions on Iran for activities not covered by the JCPOA, including Iran’s missile proliferation, support for terrorism, and human rights abuses.”
But what if those are the only sanctions you can lift?
When President Donald Trump re-imposed sanctions after withdrawing from the deal in 2018, he not only put the nuclear sanctions back in but also added layers of terrorism and other sanctions on many of the same entities. In addition, the Trump administration imposed an array of new sanctions on previously unsanctioned entities.
This has put the current administration in an awkward position: Iran is demanding the removal of all sanctions. If the U.S. doesn’t lift at least some of them, Iran says it won’t agree to halt its nuclear activities barred by the deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.
Lifting “some” of the sanctions would have to include sanctions for Iran’s support of terrorism, and its UN security council resolution-defying missile program. Is that the message Joe Biden wants to send to the mullahs? That it’s OK to support terrorism and build bigger and better ballistic missiles?
As you can see, it’s a dilemma for the president. He has to expose himself as a liar by unilaterally lifting sanctions but he can’t do it without looking even more like a surrender monkey.
They have a bunch of smart guys at the state department who know all about surrendering to America’s enemies. I’m sure they’ll figure something out.