US President Joe Biden and his administration have, it appears, decided to sacrifice not only the brave people of Iran now risking their lives in a bid for decent governance, but also the Arabs. This betrayal of longtime allies is taking place, it seems, to appease Russia, ever eager to keep the price of oil at a premium, and its new close ally, Iran.
Russia has been the chief negotiator for the US in the "Iranian nuclear deal" talks; the Americans are not even allowed in the room.
The view that the Biden administration is sacrificing its longtime allies, the Arabs, expressed by Sayed Zahra, deputy editor of the Gulf's Akhbar Al-Khaleej newspaper, is shared by many prominent Arab political analysts; they say they are extremely worried about the possibility that the US and other Western powers may sign a new nuclear agreement with Iran's ruling mullahs.
Referring to reports that progress has been achieved towards striking a new deal with the mullahs, Zahra said that the alleged breakthrough appears to have occurred after Biden decided to waive two pre-conditions. He accused Biden of being in collusion with Iran.
"First, Biden decided to waive the demand to include Iran's terrorist role in the region in the talks [in Vienna] and the agreement," Zahra wrote. "Biden decided not to address this issue at all, nor the role of terrorist militias affiliated with Iran in the Arab countries."
The second demand Biden gave up, according to Zahra, includes the issue of Iran's ballistic missile program and the threat it poses to the security and stability of the region and the US itself and its interests.
By dropping the two demands, "Biden has practically decided to acquiesce in Iran and its entire terrorist expansion project in the Arab region," the influential newspaper editor argued.
"This is a dangerous development. The issue is not whether the agreement is signed or not. This is no longer important. The issue is that the Biden administration made its choice between Iran and the Arab countries in this way. The matter is not limited to these concessions made by Biden; there is something more dangerous than this: Biden has completely abandoned the Arabs, allies and non-allies alike."
Veteran Lebanese journalist Kheirallah Kheirallah expressed frustration with the Biden administration for ignoring the mullahs' expansionist project and its tools and proxies, especially the Iranian missile and drone program. "The program poses a threat to every country in the region," Kheirallah wrote.
"This was evident when Iran recently started firing long-range missiles and drones from Yemen towards Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. There is an American and Iranian tendency to conclude a deal that would provide Iran with much-needed funds."
Noting that Tehran's mullahs were mainly interested in the removal of the economic sanctions imposed on their country, Kheirallah wrote that Iran was working to escalate tensions in the Arab countries it occupies: Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon.
The Iranian-backed Houthi militia in Yemen, he added, is continuing to recruit hundreds of fighters. "What will the Houthis do with these fighters?" Kheriallah asked.
"Are they preparing for new rounds of fighting, or is their goal limited to threatening neighboring countries, primarily the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia? The US has failed to reassure its [Arab] allies in the region. When viewing the chronology events in the region since Biden entered the White House, it becomes clear that we are facing a confused administration that could not take any initiative. In light of the lack of confidence [in the Biden administration], a US-Iranian deal will raise all kinds of fears in the absence of any answer to an obvious question: What is the US position on Iran's behavior outside its borders and its missile program and drones?"
In another article, Kheirallah wrote that the Biden administration does not appear to be worried about the security of its Arab allies. This, he said, is the reason why Iran is continuing to flex its muscles to show that its expansionist project has not stopped faltered and that it is determined to take it to the end, regardless of whether or not the mullahs reach a new deal with "the American Big Satan."
The Iranian regime, he wrote, cannot survive without its expansionist project. "The collapse of this project means the collapse of the regime, similar to the collapse of the Soviet Union," Kheirallah said.
"In Lebanon, Iran is flexing its muscles through Hezbollah, which asserts daily that it is the ruling party. In Iraq, Iran refuses to admit that it is rejected by the majority of the Iraqi people, who expressed this in the last legislative elections. Iran refuses to acknowledge the defeat of its supporters in these elections. We see it currently seeking to overturn the results of those elections, starting with disrupting the formation of a new government and political life in the entire country. In Syria, Iran, in light of Russia's preoccupation with the Ukrainian war, has become the number one player in that country. This includes southern Syria, where it is expanding daily and increasing its smuggling activity to Jordan and across it to the Arab Gulf states. But the place where Iran is most active than anywhere else is Yemen. It took advantage of the truce announced last April in order to recruit more fighters. The Houthis, and behind them Iran, are encouraged by the American fluidity in dealing with them. Unfortunately, there is no American administration capable of understanding the meaning and repercussions of the presence of an Iranian entity in the Arabian Peninsula. Iran escalates everywhere it considers itself present through its militias. There is a question that will arise soon: Will the US administration facilitate this escalation through a deal it concludes with the Islamic Republic that provides it with large financial resources? To put it more clearly, does America consider itself concerned with the security of its allies in the region, or should these people manage their own affairs in the way they see fit?" (Annahar, August 17, 2022)
Iraqi author Hamid Al-Kaifaey pointed out that since Joe Biden came to power, his administration has embarked on "vigorous measures" to return to the nuclear agreement with Iran.
"The Democratic administration, whether under former president Barack Obama, or the current president, Joe Biden, adopts the method of diplomatic dealing with Iran and engaging in negotiations with it in order to stop its attempts to build a nuclear bomb, instead of the policy of maximum pressure adopted by the previous Republican administration... Just as the policy of maximum pressure has failed to dissuade Iran from its relentless pursuit of developing its nuclear program, so as to enable it to manufacture a nuclear bomb, the policy of negotiation and diplomacy pursued by the Biden administration has also failed so far to bring Iran back to the nuclear agreement."
The Iraqi writer said he has no doubt that Iran is determined to build an atomic bomb, just as it is determined to develop its other offensive war industries, such as drones and long-range ballistic missiles.
"A return to the nuclear deal will enhance Iran's capabilities because it allows it to interact with the outside world, export oil and gas, and develop sectors of the Iranian economy instead of being under severe and comprehensive punishments... The Iranian economic situation is constantly getting worse, due to the US sanctions imposed by the administration of former President Trump, which President Biden has maintained, and despite that, Iran still considers interference in the affairs of other countries in the region as one of its top priorities. Iranian interference in the affairs of neighboring countries greatly increased after 2015, the year of the nuclear agreement. While the countries of the world are trying to solve their economic problems, reduce the rate of inflation and unemployment and find alternative sources of energy, Iran is ignoring the suffering of its people and their difficult economic conditions, and is trying to exploit the current international conditions to develop its military capabilities, nuclear and conventional, and its ballistic missiles, for the sake of regional hegemony."
Alladdin Touran, member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an international opposition organization based in France, warned the Biden administration and the Western powers that it would be a "big mistake" to trust the Iranian regime.
"The most striking thing about the ongoing international negotiations with the Iranian regime regarding its suspicious nuclear program is that the international community has become confident and certain that this regime is lying and engaged in all forms of deception to achieve its goals without meeting international demands... The Iranian regime has engaged in a lot of rhetoric and various childish actions in the ways and methods that it used in the nuclear talks, especially by putting forward demands unrelated to the talks in return for its efforts to remove its terrorist Revolutionary Guard Corps from the list of terrorist organizations. Anyone who relies on the Iranian regime is engaged in self-deception. Western countries have completed more than three decades of practicing the policy of appeasement and alignment with the Iranian regime and provided it with many privileges without getting anything in return. The international community should know that this regime can never abide by any agreement, especially if it is not in its interest and affects its own plans. With or without a nuclear agreement, Iran will not give up its efforts to produce and manufacture the atomic bomb. Confidence in the Iranian regime is a big mistake that must be avoided."
Judging from the reactions of many Arabs to a possible revival of the Iran nuclear deal, perhaps this winter when the US Congress is not in session, it is obvious that America's Arab allies have lost confidence in the Biden administration and its policy of appeasing the mullahs. The Arabs' biggest fear is that this policy will embolden the mullahs to proceed with their plan to "export our revolution" and expand their control over the whole Arab world.
Khaled Abu Toameh is an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem.