The Biden administration appears to be willing to turn a blind eye to crimes committed by the Iranian regime and its staunch ally, Russia, presumably not to jeopardize the revival of former President Barack Obama's disastrous 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The deal would enable the ruling regime of Iran – against whom their own people are heroically rebelling – to soon have an unlimited nuclear weapons capability, unlimited missiles with which to deliver the weapons and empower the regime and its terrorist militia, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), with a trillion dollars to wreak more mayhem in the Middle East.
Currently, Iran's toxic regime, whose main outspoken objective is to "export the Revolution," effectively controls, through its terrorist proxies, four other Middle East countries -- Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iraq -- and appears to be trying to take over Saudi Arabia, as well as much of South America. It continuously threatens to obliterate Israel. The Biden administration nevertheless appears committed to rewarding this unneighborly behavior with unlimited nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles and a trillion dollars -- probably during Congress's Christmas recess, when no one will be around to block the deal.
The original deal was sold by Obama in July 2015 as an attempt to give Iran the chance to "change" its hostile policies and behavior:
"But it is possible to change. The path of violence and rigid ideology, a foreign policy based on threats to attack your neighbors or eradicate Israel -- that's a dead end. A different path, one of tolerance and peaceful resolution of conflict, leads to more integration into the global economy, more engagement with the international community, and the ability of the Iranian people to prosper and thrive."
A few weeks later, in August 2015, Obama spelled out what his deal would accomplish. It is worth a look at it with the benefit of hindsight:
"After two years of negotiations, we have achieved a detailed arrangement that permanently prohibits Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. It cuts off all of Iran's pathways to a bomb. It contains the most comprehensive inspection and verification regime ever negotiated to monitor a nuclear program....
"Under this deal, Iran cannot acquire the plutonium needed for a bomb. The core of its heavy-water reactor at Arak will be pulled out, filled with concrete, and replaced with one that will not produce plutonium for a weapon. The spent fuel from that reactor will be shipped out of the country, and Iran will not build any new heavy-water reactors for at least 15 years.
"Iran will also not be able to acquire the enriched uranium that could be used for a bomb. As soon as this deal is implemented, Iran will remove two-thirds of its centrifuges. For the next decade, Iran will not enrich uranium with its more advanced centrifuges. Iran will not enrich uranium at the previously undisclosed Fordow facility, which is buried deep underground, for at least 15 years. Iran will get rid of 98 percent of its stockpile of enriched uranium, which is currently enough for up to 10 nuclear bombs, for the next 15 years. Even after those 15 years have passed, Iran will never have the right to use a peaceful program as cover to pursue a weapon.
"And, in fact, this deal shuts off the type of covert path Iran pursued in the past. There will be 24/7 monitoring of Iran's key nuclear facilities. For decades, inspectors will have access to Iran's entire nuclear supply chain -- from the uranium mines and mills where they get raw materials, to the centrifuge production facilities where they make machines to enrich it.
"Well, here's the truth: Inspectors will be allowed daily access to Iran's key nuclear sites. If there is a reason for inspecting a suspicious, undeclared site anywhere in Iran, inspectors will get that access, even if Iran objects.... The bottom line is, if Iran cheats, we can catch them -- and we will.
"Second, there are those who argue that the deal isn't strong enough because some of the limitations on Iran's civilian nuclear program expire in 15 years. Let me repeat: The prohibition on Iran having a nuclear weapon is permanent. The ban on weapons-related research is permanent. Inspections are permanent.
"And that's why our best analysts expect the bulk of this revenue to go into spending that improves the economy and benefits the lives of the Iranian people.
What is striking is that just about everything turned out to be exactly the opposite.
Russia is now deploying Iranian missiles, Iranian drones and personnel to attack Ukraine, and, incredibly, negotiating for America's interests (supposedly) during the new Iranian nuclear talks in Vienna while the Americans are not allowed in the room.
This raises the question: Is the Biden administration so deeply in the thrall of Russia that Biden is actually "in Putin's pocket"?
"Right now, the talks on revival of JCPOA are not on the US agenda," US negotiator Robert Malley told CNN on October 17. The operative words, of course, are "Right now." The Biden administration could be waiting until Congress is in recess for its Christmas break and unable to stop the deal.
When the Iranian regime first began supplying Russia with drones, the mullahs witnessed no repercussions, or even a firm stance, from the Biden administration. Consequently, the Iranians reportedly have now started dispatching military personnel to occupied territory in Ukraine to help the Russians swallow up Ukraine. According to the Special Operations Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine:
"The Russians took Iranian instructors to the territory of the temporarily occupied Kherson Region and Crimea to launch Shahed-136 kamikaze drones. According to the underground, the Iranians are based in the settlements of Zalizniy Port, Hladivtsi (Kherson region), and Dzhankoy (Crimea). They teach the Russians how to use kamikaze drones, and directly monitor the launch of drones on Ukrainian civilian targets, including strikes on Mykolaiv and Odesa. The instructors are based on the premises that the Russians seized during the occupation.... Iran helps the aggressor not only with equipment but also with people.... We will remind you that the Russians place their military equipment and personnel on the territory of schools and hospitals, using children and patients as human shields."
This is the first time Iranian weapons have been actively deployed on European soil. The Iranian regime will most likely not be satisfied with helping Russia take over just one country.
A report by Iran's state-controlled Afkar News bears the title, "American Soil Is Now Within the Range of Iranian Bombs."
"By sending a military satellite into space, Iran now has shown that it can target all American territory," the report boasts about the damage that the Iranian regime could inflict on the US, "the Iranian parliament had previously warned [the US] that an electromagnetic nuclear attack on the United States would likely kill 90 percent of Americans."
The report also threatens the EU, which is also in favor of reviving the nuclear deal:
"The same type of ballistic missile technology used to launch the satellite could carry nuclear, chemical or even biological weapons to wipe Israel off the map, hit US bases and allies in the region and US facilities, and target NATO even in the far west of Europe."
No one seems to be mentioning that it was the Obama-Biden nuclear deal which played a critical role in allowing the ruling mullahs to freely export and import weapons. One concession that the Obama-Biden administration gave to the ruling mullahs of Iran was setting a date when Iran's arms embargo would be lifted. The Obama administration agreed to add a provision to the nuclear deal allowing the arms embargo to be lifted
The arms embargo on Iranian regime encompasses a wide range of weapons, including heavy artillery, combat aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems (including target drones and reconnaissance drones), cruise missiles, battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, attack helicopters, some missiles and missile launchers, and warships.
It is mind-boggling that the Obama-Biden administration decided to include such an extremely dangerous provision in the nuclear deal. Both Democrats and Republicans were, in fact, stunned by the move. "It blows my mind that the administration would agree to lift the arms and missile bans," then Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, John Boehner, pointed out.
The Trump administration and the then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who attempted to prevent the UN from voting in favor of removing the arms embargo, highlighted:
"Iran will be free to become a rogue weapons dealer, supplying arms to fuel conflicts from Venezuela, to Syria, to the far reaches of Afghanistan."
On June 30, 2020, Pompeo urged the UN Security Council to extend the arms embargo on Iran. The Security Council, however -- particularly China, Russia, France and the United Kingdom -- were reluctant to do so.
Thanks to the 2015 nuclear deal, the UN arms embargo on the Iranian regime, the world's top state sponsor of terrorism, was lifted in October 2020, effectively allowing the mullahs legally and freely to export and import advanced weapons.
Do not repeat these mistakes again. The Biden administration's feckless leadership keeps empowering the world's most despotic, destabilizing regimes: Iran's mullahs, Russia, the Chinese Communist Party North Korea, Turkey, Venezuela.... Drop the nuclear deal. Not "right now." Forever.
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