The Pending Nuclear Deal with Iran Is a Gift to Vladimir Putin

March 22 2022

Even as Washington ratchets up its sanctions on Russia, it is poised to reach an agreement—negotiated through Russian intermediaries—to remove sanctions on Moscow’s clients in Tehran. Mark Dubowitz and Jonathan Schanzer point to the dangers of the seemingly imminent nuclear deal with Iran:

The American concession that enables Russia to conduct nuclear work with the Islamic Republic, even as Putin threatens to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, is foreign-policy malpractice. It’s hard to argue otherwise. Still, some might say that at least the White House held firm and denied the Russian request for a sanctions “white channel” to trade with Iran, [thus avoiding the sanctions on itself]. Yes, that was technically taken off the table. However, Russia will effectively get a white channel anyway because the Biden administration would never sanction Iranian entities transacting with Russian businesses once a deal is signed.

Indeed, the administration has already surrendered to Iranian nuclear blackmail. Besides, it’s also possible that the U.S. will provide secret guarantees to Iran or even Russia in side letters. Washington struck secret side deals in the last agreement that were never made public. Nothing prevents the White House from doing so again.

Not to be left out, China reportedly is also asking for a special carve-out for Chinese entities previously sanctioned. Russia recently approached Beijing to help finance the war effort in Ukraine. Should Joe Biden agree to any of this, it would be a political collapse of epic proportions.

The terms of the new Iran agreement were brokered by Russia. Putin only agreed to it because it would help to undermine the U.S.-led world order. Tehran would never assent to a deal without Putin’s consent because the regime knows it will need Russia in the future.

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Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Iran nuclear program, 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