Should the Biden administration persist in pursuing a leadership approach perceived as lacking in strength, and should the Biden administration continue to pursue a strategy characterized by conciliation and concession towards the Iranian regime, 2024 will mark the year that the Islamic Republic of Iran acquires nuclear weapons, heralding a pivotal development in their military capabilities and devastating, far-reaching repercussions for regional and international security. If the US fails to remove Iran's nuclear capability -- and not just (literally) buy time to enable it -- the catastrophes that follow will surely go down as US President Joe Biden's legacy, as well as the legacy of those around him.
Iran has substantially increased its production rate of uranium, which, after tripling its output in the past few weeks, is now nearing weapons-grade levels, according to a recent report from the International Atomic Energy Agency.
In response to Iran's advancing nuclear capabilities, the US and Western powers' reaction has so far amounted to a "condemnation," indicating a lack of measures to impede Iran's progress, and suggesting a passive stance of acceptance rather than an active effort to counter Iran's actions.
The US and European powers did not allude to any consequences that Iran might encounter, in spite of acknowledging that the Iran's increased production of highly enriched uranium lacks credible civilian justification. In a statement, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and the United States disapproved of this development, stating that they "condemn this measure that further aggravates the continued escalation of the Iranian nuclear program." As the saying goes, "Strong letter to follow."
From the Iranian regime's perspective, the failure of the Western powers to counter its nuclear program serves as the most explicit endorsement one can provide that it should continue developing its nuclear-weapons without any fear of negative consequences.
Even more bewildering is the Biden administration and EU3's persistent expression of commitment to a diplomatic resolution of the ongoing dispute over Iran's nuclear program. Although negotiating clearly has not been working, the US and its European allies have nevertheless stated that they remain "committed to a diplomatic solution".
Will the Biden administration ever realize that it is not possible to engage in diplomatic efforts with state sponsors of terrorism, particularly an emphatically Islamic one that already regards "infidel" laws as secular abominations that do not apply to Muslims, and, as well, a state that is doctrinally obligated to lie (taqiyya, "dissimulation") to protect Islam? As documented by the historian Raymond Ibrahim:
Regarding 3:28 ["Believers should not take disbelievers as guardians instead of the believers—and whoever does so will have nothing to hope for from Allah—unless it is a precaution against their tyranny."], the Islamic scholar Ibn Kathir (1301-1373) wrote: "Whoever at any time or place fears their [infidels'] evil, may protect himself through outward show."
"As proof of this, he quotes Muhammad's companions. Abu Darda said: "Let us smile to the face of some people while our hearts curse them." Al-Hassan said: "Doing taqiyya is acceptable till the day of judgment [in perpetuity]."
The outcomes of diplomatic engagement with the Iranian regime since the Biden administration assumed office include:
- Iran is now engaged in attacks on ships in the Red Sea.
- The country has enriched its uranium to 84%, nearing the nuclear-bomb threshold of 90%, with an estimated "few weeks... or less" from achieving nuclear capability.
- Iran funded and helped plot Hamas's genocidal October 7 attack, as well as other attempts to destroy Israel. Estimated Iranian funding for Hamas is in the range of $70 million to $100 million annually.
- Iran has delivered drones to Russia to aid in its attacks against Ukraine.
- More than 101 attacks on US forces in Syria and Iraq have been launched by Iranian proxies since October 17. More than 151 attacks on US forces have been carried out by Iranian proxies since the beginning of the Biden presidency, with the objective of ejecting the US from the Middle East. Many US service members have been wounded, at least 20 seriously with traumatic brain injuries.
- There appears to be an escalated Iranian effort eventually to confront the US mainland from Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela.
This dangerous path originated under the Obama administration, when, after forming the unauthorized Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) "nuclear agreement" with Iran in 2015, then President Barack Obama promised that "Iran will never get a nuclear weapon on my watch." Unfortunately, the operative part was the "on my watch": a sunset clause that lifted "restrictions on Iran's nuclear enrichment programme... after 2025," when Obama's "watch" would be well out of range. During Joe Biden's vice presidency, the Obama administration made unprecedented concessions to Iran's ruling mullahs, while consistently approaching Iranian leaders with generosity and flexibility. What resulted from these policies?
The outcome became evident as the Biden administration lifted sanctions against Iran on February 4, 2021, just a few weeks after President Joe Biden's inauguration, and providing global legitimacy to Iran's internal repression and external adventurism in the eyes of the international community. Iran's newfound respectability resulted in billions of dollars flowing into Iran and its military institutions, the coffers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, as well as Iran's proxies and terror groups. Tehran evidently just uses these funds to expand its influence in various regions, including Gaza, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon and South America.
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