Government Watch / Politics

Biden’s Willful Blindness Toward Iran

AMAC Exclusive – by Aaron Kliegman

iran

When President Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, met with his Israeli counterpart in Washington last week, the atmosphere was open and friendly. But such warmth and frankness couldn’t disguise the fact that, regarding Iran’s nuclear program, the U.S. and Israel remain miles apart.

“Right now, there is no joint operational contingency plan against Iran should efforts to return to the nuclear agreement fail,” a senior Israeli defense official told Al-Monitor. “And even worse, the Americans do not have any solution whatsoever to such a situation. They do not have a Plan B. They do not have alternatives.”

In other words, reviving the terrible 2015 nuclear deal, which ostensibly limits Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief, isn’t just the Biden administration’s Plan A to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. It’s the administration’s only plan.

As unwelcome as this news may be, it should not be surprising. Biden and his team have made clear since the 2020 campaign their desire to reenter the accord, while hardly if ever mentioning the prospect of other options should that effort fail. But even if this outcome was all to predictable, the administration’s narrow fixation on reviving a deal that’s beyond saving is nonetheless deeply alarming.

Indeed, Iran is violating all the deal’s restrictions, including the purity level to which it’s allowed to enrich uranium (3.67 percent). Just last week, the regime said it had produced more than 120 kg of 20 percent enriched uranium — a sharp increase from the 84 kg reported by U.N. inspectors last month. It takes about 170 kg to make a nuclear bomb quickly with further enrichment.

Iran is also stockpiling more uranium than the deal permits and ignoring restrictions on the development and deployment of advanced centrifuges to purify the fissile material.

Plus, the regime is stonewalling inspections by the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). To quote a recent IAEA report, the agency “remains deeply concerned that nuclear material has been present at undeclared locations in Iran and that the current locations of this nuclear material are not known to the agency.”

The IAEA concluded that the “lack of progress in clarifying the agency’s questions concerning the correctness and completeness of Iran’s safeguards declarations seriously affects the ability of the agency to provide assurance of the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.” 

All told, the regime could produce enough weapons-grade uranium for one nuclear weapon in “as short as one month,” according to the Institute for Science and International Security. Other estimates say it could be few months, but all agree that it could be very, very soon.

True, Tehran still needs to put a nuclear warhead on a missile to have a usable weapon, and that process could take a couple years. But regardless, Iran is well on its way to getting the bomb. And the know-how that Iran has acquired can’t be unlearned.

The bottom line is that at this point, the nuclear deal is dead. But even if the deal were magically revived tomorrow and Iran’s cheating could somehow be erased, the regime would still have nuclear weapons almost within reach. The timeline of the Obama-era deal almost ensures as much.

In 2023, the deal lifts a U.N. ban on assisting Iran’s missile program, allowing the regime to acquire components and technology for its ballistic missile program. This will allow Iran to advance its ability to deliver nuclear weapons. Then in 2026, the Iranian regime will be free to enrich uranium using advanced, far more efficient centrifuges — and to install and operate more of its older models. Just five years later, restrictions on the amount and level of enriched uranium that Iran can stockpile disappear.

Meanwhile, as all these deadlines approach, Iran has, under the terms of the agreement, up to 24 days to grant access to inspectors to inspect undeclared but suspected nuclear sites. That’s ample time for the regime to hide or destroy evidence. But the deal also provides Iran numerous opportunities to further delay access to inspectors by several weeks or even months.

In short, Iran will be free to build as large and sophisticated a nuclear program as it wants — while also being free from economic sanctions. Even worse, the regime will have no incentive to strike another deal or negotiate. Not to mention Biden will  leave his successor with zero leverage to use in future negotiations.

While reviving the old nuclear deal is a losing option, that doesn’t mean any nuclear deal is off the table. The U.S. could seek a better deal with Iran. The problem is the Biden administration has already given up so much leverage by removing sanctions prematurely in a bid to jumpstart negotiations.

In June, the administration repealed economic penalties on several former Iranian officials and energy companies. The administration then authorized certain transactions involving the Central Bank of Iran or the National Iranian Oil Company. Both entities, which the U.S. has sanctioned for financing terrorism, are crucial to the economic wellbeing of the regime.

What’s so striking is that each round of sanctions relief was a unilateral action by Biden’s team, for which the U.S. received nothing in return. They were gestures to encourage Iran to reciprocate. Instead, the regime responded by continuing to ramp up its illicit nuclear activities — all the while showing no interest in joining diplomatic talks with the U.S.

This is why we are seeing Iran say this month that the U.S. unblocking $10 billion in frozen Iranian funds would be “one example” of how Washington could generate goodwill and enable a resumption of nuclear negotiations.

Iran’s strategy is clear: nuclear escalation, thinking the Biden administration will cede to Iranian demands to avoid confrontation. That gamble appears to be working. Biden’s concessions only emboldened the regime to double down and demand more concessions, not to meet the U.S. halfway.

Both before and after Sullivan’s meeting last week with his Israeli counterpart, senior U.S. officials said the administration is prepared to pursue “other options” to ensure Iran never develops a nuclear weapon should diplomacy fail. The problem is there’s no evidence to support their claims. But it’s even worse than that, according to the Israelis.

“What is truly troubling is that they [Biden’s team] are not really concerned about” the Iranian nuclear issue, said the Israeli official quoted above. “They see events in a completely different way than we do.”

“The severity of the situation does not really trouble them; they do not think that American national security is under threat of an Iranian nuclear effort,” the official continued. “We are simply trying to prove to them that the Iranian saga could end up like the North Korean one, if the current sleepiness continues. Right now, we don’t seem to have convinced them.”

That analysis may actually be underselling the threat. A nuclear-armed Iran wouldn’t be like a nuclear-armed North Korea; it would be worse.

Unlike North Korea, Iran is an imperial, expansionist power, actively using soldiers, proxies and subversion to dominate its region. Iran is also different because it tries to export a revolutionary, theocratic ideology abroad and has something of value to offer to the global economy: oil and gas.

The Biden administration needs to wake up and recognize the Iranian nuclear threat for what it is. That means exerting maximum pressure on Iran’s leaders, not appeasing them, and working with Israel to show Iran that military action is on the table. Otherwise, soon diplomacy won’t even be an option and, through Biden’s weakness, the U.S. will have left the world an ugly choice: military strikes or a terrorist state with a nuclear bomb.

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Lee S McQuillen
1 month ago

The Iranians can make all the deals they want – any and all of which they don’t have to follow if made with “infidels.” Even an idiot would know that but…

fred
1 month ago

Biden cannot negotiate with Iran or any other nation, he just does not have the intelligence required.
It would make no sense to offer ANY money to Iran for a nuclear deal. They already took money and continued working on a nuclear bomb anyway. They will soon have a bomb and then they will use it.
Biden just has no brains, he thinks China is our friend, only because they bribed him and Hunter with millions of dollars. That was so Biden would do what they want to further their aim to dominate the world.
Biden has no patriotism for America, that much should be obvious, even to a Demorat.

Mario Capparuccini
1 month ago

The Democrats adopting the symbol of the donkey is an insult to that noble beast of burden. The Democratic Party has shown itself to be consummately evil, with a few exceptions.

Denise
1 month ago

Biden and his spawn are owned by Communist China and his strings pulled by Obama the traitor…who I have no doubt is owned by George Soros. Day by day we’re losing more of our nation, it’s freedoms, protections, liberty and our literal way of life…because corporately Americans with few exceptions, have been too busy pursuing the American dream that’s now turned into a nightmare. Our Constitution is an amazing document that guarantees our freedoms…but sadly far to many don’t even have a clue what it says.
The stand out sentence; “Of the people, by the people and for the people” means just that. It also means we the people are to understand and be pro-active in protecting those rights, to hold politicians accountable, newsflash POLITICIANS AREN’T SACROSANCT. They are flawed human beings easily corrupted, they aren’t kings and queens that we bow to. We’re losing the most unique and special nation ever to exist in history…because we’ve been to busy “letting someone else do it.”

Paul DAscenz
1 month ago

The Democrats Hate Israel!
Simple as that!
God Bless America and Israel!

COLVENA L ZOLLER
1 month ago

We have to stop complaining n look for groups to protest n protect our Nation. We have to jus say NO to this illegal regime. I had enough of the bullsh**! How about you?

Steve Zeigler
1 month ago

Obama has an interesting fondness for Iran and it shows as he runs our government from the basement. When will these traitors be dealt with?

Bob L.
1 month ago

A typical scene in the Oval office:

“What am I signing (Radar)”?

“Oh, just a requisition for more toilet paper sir”
.
“That’s good, we can’t afford to run out out that.
Boy, we sure seem to use an awful lot of it though,
some days we have to order several times.”

Rik
1 month ago

For some reason, Jackass Joe IS Anti-Israel.

Hal
1 month ago
Reply to  Rik

Jackass Joe Hidin’ Biden is not sidin’ with anyone unless his string operators tell him too. Which brings to fore the question of “Who is running the Nation’s National Government?” Answer is “Whoever happens to be operating the puppet strings!” The election of Joe Hidin’ Biden has done more to turn our Constitutional Democracy in to a disguised combo show of puppeteering, Nazism, and Communism with DemocRats running the show. It will be a cold day in Hades before I ever even consider voting for a DemcRat in the future.

Ruth A Lance
1 month ago
Reply to  Rik

He is just following what the squad has told him to do. They are anti-Jewish and have a lot of power now in the democratic party. Joe has no courage to face them and turn them down.

PaulE
1 month ago

The Israeli government is well aware of who they are dealing with when they sit down to meet with anyone from the Biden administration. So they are planning accordingly.

Max
1 month ago
Reply to  PaulE

Israel knows that they are on their own and have the resources to defend themselves without the USA. However, if there is an escalation of major warfare in the region, what will this administration and Congress do? Israel will defend itself to the hilt.

PaulE
1 month ago
Reply to  Max

Hi Max,

In the event of an escalation of conflict in the region, then neither the Biden administration nor the Democrat controlled Congress will do anything other than give some lip service about the need for “all sides to work towards peace”. In short, empty talking points and nothing else. No concrete support will be forthcoming as long as Democrats control the levers of power in this country. The Israeli government realizes all of this and that is why they will defend themselves by any means necessary.

By the way, most of our allies also realize this too. Japan and Australia are already linking up to provide for their own defense against China minus any expectation that the U.S. will be there to back them up. Same goes for most of our NATO allies, although they have a larger issue of having almost no real military capable of taking on a large military force, aside from the U.K., with which to defend themselves. The western Europeans all dismantled much of their individual militaries in order to shift those defense dollars to an array of social welfare programs in the 1970’s. So they now face the task of either trying to build up their own defense forces again or just stupidly hoping that neither Iran nor Russia wants to add new territory by taking some of theirs.

Of course China would be willing to assist the European leaders in exchange for handing over huge swaths of their land and industries to the CCP in exchange for a promise of Chinese military support . The Belt and Road Initiative model is more than just about lending money, at absurd rates, to disadvantaged third world countries.

Max
1 month ago
Reply to  PaulE

Yes, still have comms with colleagues around the the hot spots of the world that we all remain in touch and they agree with your second paragraph and are not counting on the USA to support its commitments.

Steven
1 month ago
Reply to  PaulE

Are you saying the Israelis will have plenty of ice cream on hand? Of course I’m kidding, I agree 100%. The Israelis will do whatever is necessary, with or without us.

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