The New Iran Deal Could Be Worse Than Its Predecessor

Jan. 17 2022

So far, the Islamic Republic’s nuclear negotiators in Vienna still refuse to sit in the same room as their American counterparts, and they seem unlikely to agree to terms even the eager-to-negotiate Biden administration can stomach. But rather than walk away, explains Elliott Abrams, the White House might instead consent to a limited agreement

in which Iran does one thing—such as agreeing to stop enriching uranium to 60 percent—in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief. A recent visit to Vienna by South Korean officials suggests that unfreezing the $7 billion Iran has on the books there will be step one. Step two will likely be lifting all sanctions on Iranian oil exports, allowing the regime to increase sales to China and others in Asia immediately. My own guess: in exchange for Iran’s ceasing to enrich uranium to 60 percent, virtually all U.S. sanctions will be lifted.

This “less for less” deal would be a terrible agreement. It could really be termed “less for more”—Iran does less and gets more. It would ignore Iran’s subversion of the IAEA and its refusal to allow serious inspections. It would ignore Iran’s refusal to deal with the “previous military dimensions” of its nuclear program, which are quite obviously real (the nuclear archive purloined by Israel proved that) and still exist today. It would ignore Iran’s use of advanced generations of centrifuges and would certainly permit enrichment above the 3.67-percent limit agreed in Obama’s 2015 deal. And it would supply the regime with billions—likely tens of billions—of dollars to use, for instance, subverting Iraq, fighting in Yemen, and supporting Hamas, and Hizballah.

The Biden administration could have kept the pressure on until the Iranian regime—aware far more than the White House is of the hatred ordinary Iranians feel for their leaders—faced economic crisis and agreed to a better deal. Instead, Team Biden decided on the Obama administration approach, and is on a path toward an agreement that rewards Iran’s malfeasance and gets it closer and closer to a nuclear weapon.

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Read more at National Review

More about: Iran, Iran sanctions, 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