The new "Iran nuclear deal," it appears, is "off the table for the time being." Let us hope that the report is accurate.
In spite of the opposition from US allies in the Middle East as well as many US Congressman, both Democrats and Republicans, the Biden administration appeared determined to reward the ruling mullahs of Iran, whose policies and ideology are anchored in "Death to America" and "Death to Israel."
The Biden administration seemed to hope that if they could just "contain" Iran with a "deal" -- put Iran "in a box" even for a few years -- it would "free up" the US to deal other problems, such as China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran's growing influence in Venezuela and the Indo-Pacific, with one less distraction. If only.
Like the Obama administration, the Biden administration kept the US Congress, the American people and US allies in the Middle East in the dark about what was being negotiated with the ruling mullahs of Iran. A group of 50 US House Representatives, mostly Democrats, were urging the Biden administration to release the nuclear deal text:
"We are writing to respectfully request that your Administration provide Congress with the full text of any proposal to rejoin the Iran nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), including any side agreements, and consult with Congress prior to reentering that agreement."
The congressmen were right to be concerned. When President Joe Biden was vice president, and the Obama administration was all too eager to grant concessions to the Iranian regime, it turned out that they had made multiple secret deals with the mullahs. One of the secret deals consisted of permitting the Iranian regime to have access to US dollars by sidestepping sanctions. "The Obama administration misled the American people and Congress because they were desperate to get a deal with Iran", said Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), who chaired the Senate panel conducting the investigation at the time.
In addition, the Obama-Biden administration had secretly agreed to lift sanctions on several Iranian banks, including Bank Sepah and Sepah International. Another major concession was that the deal had paved the way for Iran legally to become a full-blown nuclear state. The sunset clauses, which enshrined that commitment, had set a firm expiration date for restricting Iran's nuclear program, after which the country's leaders would be free to have, legitimately, as many nuclear weapons as they liked.
Another critical concern was the Biden administration's concession to allow non-US persons to do business with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), designated as a terrorist organization by the US State Department. It was leaked that:
"Non-U.S. persons doing business with Iranian persons that are not on the [U.S. sanctions list] will not be exposed to sanctions merely as a result of those Iranian persons engaging in separate transactions involving Iranian persons on the [U.S. sanctions list] (including Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), its officials, or its subsidiaries or affiliates)."
Such a provision would have empowered the IRGC financially and allowed it to carry out even more terrorism abroad and suppress the Iranian people even more savagely at home. As the letter by the Congressmen accurately noted:
"[T]he aforementioned reported provision creates a troubling precedent. We are concerned that it could significantly dilute the effectiveness of terrorism-related sanctions on the IRGC, Iran's paramilitary terror arm and provides the organization with a pathway for sanctions evasion.
"If the regime in Iran, the world's leading state sponsor of terror, has proven anything, it's that it can't be trusted. The IRGC has directly, or through its proxies, including Hezbollah, Hamas, Ansar Allah (Houthis), Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and scores of Shiite militias in Iraq, killed hundreds of Americans, and attacked our bases and our allies in the region."
It is estimated that the Biden administration's new nuclear deal would have provided $1 trillion to the Iranian regime over a decade, making the IRGC and its militia and terror groups vastly wealthier and a far more savage threat to the national security of the Iranian people, the US, its allies, and American people everywhere.
It is also mind-boggling that the Biden administration was trusting Russia to be the sole country to oversee the compliance of the nuclear deal and to keep Iran's highly enriched uranium -- and able to return it to Iran if the mullahs requested it.
The 50 bipartisan US lawmakers added:
"Additionally, we strongly urge your Administration not to permit Russia to be the recipient of Iran's enriched uranium nor to have the right to conduct nuclear work with the Islamic Republic, including a $10 billion contract to expand Iran's nuclear infrastructure. We should not let war criminal Vladimir Putin be the guarantor of the deal or the keeper of massive amounts of Iran's enriched uranium. Iran supports the illegal war in Ukraine and has been supplying Russia with drones used to kill Ukrainians."
The Biden administration seemed committed to leaving a legacy that included a nuclear-armed Iran, an empowered Russia, the flow of a trillion US dollars to the mullahs, strengthening the IRGC and its terror and militia groups, and endangering the lives not only of the Iranian people who have been suffering for decades under this brutal dictatorship, but also of the entire Middle East, and not least -- from bases in Venezuela -- all Americans.
If the Biden administration believed that a deal with the Iranians would "free up" America to focus on China, and that the Middle East would just have sat quietly while Iran kept enriching uranium, they were living in a dreamworld. The Americans would, instead, have found themselves with hot wars on three fronts: Ukraine, China and the Middle East.
If the report is true, kudos to the Biden administration for a most wise decision.
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