The U.S. Must Avoid Falling into the Ayatollah’s Nuclear Trap

Yesterday, the New York Times confirmed reports that have been circulating in the Israeli press for over a week that the Biden administration is close to making a deal with Iran, in which the latter would receive billions of dollars and get to keep its nuclear program in exchange for the freeing of three hostages and a promise to halt further nuclear enrichment. Indeed, it seems that some of the funds in question have already been released. The ostensible goal of such an arrangement is to make room for the renegotiation of the abandoned 2015 nuclear agreement. Bobby Ghosh, writing on Tuesday, comments:

The U.S. shouldn’t fall for the trap. Rather, President Joe Biden’s administration should step up implementation of existing economic sanctions, and rally European allies to impose even tighter restraints on the regime in Tehran.

Although Biden and his officials have repeatedly claimed that they are resolved to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons, they have done little to stop the Islamic Republic from reaching the nuclear threshold, from where it is only days from acquiring enough fissile material for a bomb. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei now says the West, even if it wanted to, couldn’t stop Iran from developing one.

The supreme leader knows a return to the [2015 agreement] would require him to give up most of those gains, as well as the ability to threaten Israel and dictate terms to the Arab states in the region. That is why he is, in effect, proposing a new deal.

Khamenei’s chutzpah at offering such terms comes from his reading that his enemies are vulnerable. Like all autocrats, he interprets accommodation as weakness, and he has seen that Biden offers little more than admonishment while Iran ramps up oil exports and Arab states like Saudi Arabia look to make peace with Tehran.

Read more at Washington Post

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