The U.S. Is Considering an Ill-Advised, and Possibly Illegal, Deal with Iran

While reports vary as to the details of the informal agreement currently being negotiated between Washington and Tehran, the basic outline is clear: the ayatollahs will receive billions of dollars and keep their nuclear program, and in return will release hostages and make an unenforceable promise to cease enriching uranium past the 90-percent threshold necessary for weaponization. Richard Goldberg and Behnam Ben Taleblu write:

In addition to repeating the same mistake [as the 2015 nuclear agreement] of leaving nuclear infrastructure and centrifuges intact, this arrangement adds insult to injury by capping Iran’s uranium enrichment-purity level at 60 percent, [far beyond what is necessary for civilian use], which the regime can quickly enrich to weapons-grade, or 90 percent.

The administration may [also] be violating U.S. law by providing sanctions relief to Iran without first notifying Congress and waiting 30 days before releasing funds. . . . The statute specifies that within five calendar days after reaching any agreement with Iran relating to its nuclear program, the president must transmit the full agreement to Congress “regardless of the form it takes.” The president must also transmit additional materials related to any agreement. . . . These parameters suggest that Congress must review even an unwritten, informal deal.

Despite warning the public of deepening military and strategic ties between Iran and Russia, the Biden administration is moving forward with an agreement that would indirectly subsidize Iran’s transfer of weapons to Russia. Lax sanctions enforcement would also open new opportunities for Russia to use Iran for expanded sanctions evasion and to learn from evolving Iranian sanctions-busting practices.

Fortunately, Goldberg and Taleblu observe, Congress has the means at its disposal to stop a deal—if it has the will.

Read more at FDD

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

What Is the Biden Administration Thinking?

In the aftermath of the rescue of four Israeli hostages on Friday, John Podhoretz observes some “clarifying moments.” The third strikes me as the most important:

Clarifying Moment #3 came with the news that the Biden administration is still calling for negotiations leading to a ceasefire after, by my count, the seventh rejection of the same by Hamas since Bibi Netanyahu’s secret offer a couple of weeks ago. Secretary of State Blinken, a man who cannot say no, including when someone suggests it would be smart for him to play high-school guitar while Ukraine burns, will be back in the region for the eighth time to urge Hamas to accept the deal. Why is this clarifying? Because it now suggests, here and for all time, that the Biden team is stupid.

Supposedly the carrot the [White House] is dangling in the region is a tripartite security deal with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Which would, of course, be a good thing. But like the stupid people they are now proving to be, they seem not to understand the very thing that led the Saudis to view Israel as a potential ally more than a decade ago: the idea that Israel means business and does what it must to survive and built itself a tech sector the Saudis want to learn from. Allowing Hamas to survive, which is implicitly part of the big American deal, will not lead to normalization. The Saudis do not want an Iranian vassal state in Palestine. Their entire foreign-policy purpose is to counter Iran. I know that. You know that. Everybody in the world knows that. Even Tony Blinken’s guitar is gently weeping at his dangling a carrot to Israel and Saudi Arabia that neither wants, needs, nor will accept.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Antony Blinken, Gaza War 2023, Joseph Biden, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship