The Biden administration's policy towards the Iranian regime has been one of capitulation and giving concessions, and it appears determined to enrich and empower what the State Department has called "the world's top state sponsor of terrorism," whose core policy since its Islamic Revolution in 1979 has been to "export the revolution," as anchored in "Death to America" and "Death to Israel". Pictured: A member of the Islamic Basij volunteer militia burns an American flag in Tehran, Iran, on July 16 2022. (Photo by Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images)
Since assuming office, the Biden administration's policy towards the Iranian regime has been one of capitulation and giving concessions to the ruling Islamist mullahs of Iran. So far, they include suspending some of the anti-terrorism sanctions on Iran-backed Houthis, then revoking the designation of Yemen's Houthis as a terrorist group; disregarding Iran's oil sales to China; shipping oil to Syria, Lebanon's Hezbollah and Venezuela in direct violation of US sanctions; ignoring the Iranian regime's crackdown on protesters, smuggling weapons to the Houthis and Venezuela; attempting to murder US former officials and citizens on American soil, and taking more foreign hostages.
On top of that, newly leaked information from inside Iran, obtained by Iran International, reveals that the Biden administration has made even more concessions to revive the nuclear deal, which have not been revealed to the public. According to the report, "the US guarantees that its sanctions against IRGC would not affect other sectors and firms: e.g. a petrochemical company shouldn't be sanctioned by US because of doing business with IRGC."
The Biden administration seems to have been bragging that Iran's leaders have dropped a key demand: removing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from the US foreign organizations terrorist list. But if other sectors that are linked to the IRGC can freely do business under the nuclear deal, then the designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization, as well as the sanctions against the IRGC, are merely cosmetic.
The IRGC has a large stake in almost every industrial sector in Iran, which includes the energy sector, mining, telecommunications, gold, shipping and construction. Private sector competitors are not permitted in these sectors because the more closed the economy, the more easily the IRGC can monopolize it.
As a result, any economic growth in these sectors will directly benefit Iran's military, the IRGC and its elite Quds Force branch, and Iran's militia and terror groups across the Middle East. Since Iran's economy is predominantly controlled by the IRGC or the state, additional revenues will likely be funneled into the treasury of the IRGC and the office of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The other critical concession being reportedly made is that "the participants note the firm commitment of the US President [without mentioning Joe Biden by name] for returning to JCPOA compliance as long as Iran remains committed to the deal." This probably means that future US presidents are obliged to continue with the implementation of the nuclear deal. But why should the US guarantee the implementation of the nuclear deal if it is not even a legally binding treaty, approved by two-thirds of the Senate, in accordance with Article II, section 2 of the US Constitution? In addition, it is illegal for any president to commit future presidents to anything that has not been approved as a formal treaty by two-thirds of the Senate.
Additionally, one critical issue about Iran's nuclear program is linked to its past nuclear activities, which reportedly have military dimensions. The IAEA opened a probe into this issue, but the Iranian regime has been refusing to provide answers about several clandestine nuclear sites. Reportedly, another concession that the Biden administration has made to Iran is that the IAEA is expected to halt its investigation into the regime's past nuclear activities.
Yet another major concession reportedly includes the term that only a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) can trigger the snap-back sanctions clause.
This is a much worse deal than the 2015 nuclear deal. Because, first, the US or EU3 (France, the United Kingdom and Germany) cannot call for reinstating sanctions on Iran unilaterally even if they believe that the Iranian regime is violating the nuclear deal. In the previous nuclear deal, at least, any single party to the deal could unilaterally trigger the snap-back sanctions clause. In addition, with the new deal, restrictions on the regime's nuclear program could be lifted only two years after the agreement is signed; and the Iranian regime will not be obliged to reveal its past nuclear activities, which had military dimensions; and Russia will be trusted to store Iran's enriched uranium, a task for which Moscow will be paid.
To make things worse, even if the deal falls apart again for any reason, the Iranian regime will be exempt from the US sanctions for 2.5 years. In other words, even if the regime is found breaching the deal and the US decides to pull out of the agreement, Tehran can continue enjoying sanctions relief for additional 2.5 years.
Even though the concessions that Iran has been obtaining from the Biden administration may be catastrophic to the region and even to the United States -- presumably based on a fantasy that normalizing trade with Iran with normalize its aspirations to be a hegemon and instead become a pacifist good neighbor -- the Biden administration nevertheless appears determined to enrich and empower what the US Department of State has called "the world's top state sponsor of terrorism," whose core policy since its Islamic Revolution in 1979 has been to "export the revolution," as anchored in "Death to America" and "Death to Israel". "
As Reza Pahlavi, the son of Iran's former Shah, explained last week: "This shift to appeasement was never going to solve any of the world's issues with the Islamic Republic. The regime's problem with the West is the West's very existence, which obstructs its path to a global caliphate. Any efforts to accommodate this radical regime are shows of weakness that Tehran can manipulate" -- as Tehran already seems to be doing extremely well.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He has authored several books on Islam and US Foreign Policy. He can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@Post.Harvard.Edu