Iran Presses Its Advantage in Vienna

Negotiations in Vienna to revive the Iran nuclear deal have dragged out for more than a year; as Prabhat Jawla notes, “the Biden administration’s hopes for a quick restoration of the 2015 agreement, unilaterally abandoned by Donald Trump, have been hampered from the outset.” Jawla examines some of the reasons behind the prolonged discussions, along with the possible consequences for domestic constituencies in both Iran and the United States.

By simply stating its intent to negotiate [based] on the original [2015] deal, the Biden administration squandered the leverage left by Trump’s Iran policy, which had seen Iran’s oil revenues plummet and the country’s economy experience recession for consecutive years. Biden, during the campaign, pledged, “I would rejoin the agreement and use our renewed commitment to diplomacy to work with our allies to strengthen and extend it.” Tehran, for its part, saw this as an opening and has since pressed for more from the negotiations, such as guarantees against future sanctions and the removal of the terrorist label from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), none of which were part of the original deal.

Concessions to Iran have already been greeted by a furious response from Biden’s detractors. First was the release of Iranian funds frozen in South Korea in cooperation with the United States in a trade-off for payment of approximately $18 million (which Iran owed the United Nations in arrear dues), and then a restoration of Iran’s voting rights in the UN General Assembly.

Critics have also pointed to Iran’s release in March of two British hostages—Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori—in return for releasing almost £400 million in debt from Britain held up by U.S. sanctions (although the U.S. State Department has denied involvement).

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Read more at RealClear Defense

More about: Donald Trump, Iran nuclear program, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy

 

Iran’s Responsibility for West Bank Terror

On Friday, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli police officer and was then shot by another officer after trying to grab his rifle. Commenting on the many similar instances of West Bank-based terror during the past several months, Amit Saar, a senior IDF intelligence officer, predicted that the violence will likely grow worse in the coming year. Yoni Ben Menachem explains the Islamic Republic’s role in fueling this wave of terrorism:

The escape of six terrorists from Gilboa prison in September 2021 was the catalyst for the establishment of new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank, according to senior Islamic Jihad officials. The initiative to establish new armed groups was undertaken by Palestinian Islamic Jihad in coordination with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, implementing the strategy of Qassem Suleimani—the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards who was assassinated in Iraq by the U.S.—of using proxies to achieve the goals of expansion of the Iranian regime.

After arming Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Iran moved in the last year to support the new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank. Iran has been pouring money into the Islamic Jihad organization, which began to establish new armed groups under the name of “Battalions,” which also include terrorists from other organizations such as Fatah, Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. First, the “Jenin Battalion” was established in the city of Jenin, followed the “Nablus Battalion.”

Despite large-scale arrest operation by the IDF and the Shin Bet in the West Bank, Islamic Jihad continues to form new terrorist groups, including the “Tulkarem Battalion,” the “Tubas Battalion,” and the “Balata Battalion” in the Balata refugee camp.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Palestinian terror, West Bank