It’s Time to Abandon the Iran Deal

During a recent Senate hearing, the White House Iran envoy, Robert Malley, offered a dismal view of the prospects for a nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic, claiming that the administration is “fully prepared to live with and confront the reality” of not reaching a deal. Then, yesterday, Tehran announced it was shutting off the cameras used by nuclear inspectors at its uranium-enrichment sites, meaning that there are now no remaining checks on its path to a bomb. Eric Edelman and Charles Wald argue that the administration should immediately abandon negotiations and adopt a new plan to curb Iranian aggression, rather than allow the mullahs to draw out talks indefinitely.

Foremost, this means supporting Israel’s freedom of action, [as it has] borne the heaviest burdens of holding the line against Tehran. The United States should swiftly transfer key weaponry for which Israel already is arranging procurement, including KC-46A refueling tankers, additional F-35 aircraft, precision-guided munitions, and missile defenses.

Building on strategic opportunities created by the Abraham Accords, the Biden administration should find ways to incorporate Israel’s highly capable forces into U.S.-led joint military exercises, operations, and maritime-security task forces with its Arab partners. Additionally, serious efforts are urgently needed to build an effective region-wide air defense and shared early-warning system to counter Iran’s alarming advances in missiles and armed drones. The United States should also explore ways to facilitate the transfer of Israel’s world-class air-defense systems to the Gulf.

A potential Middle East summit next month, when the president visits Israel, offers the perfect opportunity to announce formally this strengthened U.S. approach . . . and to mend diplomatic fences with Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. Both of these vital partners have been deeply alarmed by the persistence of Plan A and have begun hedging toward some combination of China, Russia, and Iran.

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Read more at The Hill

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism