Congress Has a Chance to Stop a Bad Iran Deal

Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that Tehran has increased its reserve of highly enriched uranium, making it that much closer to producing nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, the White House seems intent on negotiating an informal agreement that would exchange some $16 billion of sanctions relief for only an incremental slowing of nuclear progress—and that’s if the ayatollahs adhere to their end of the bargain. Andrea Stricker writes:

Washington is squandering valuable financial leverage while Iran expands its nuclear program—and the Biden administration is setting itself up for future extortion when the regime uses its nuclear program to demand more concessions.

Tehran, [for its part], did not comply with [the] reported administration demand that it cease deploying new sets of planned, faster centrifuges to enrich uranium. Iran installed one new set and still has thousands of the machines stockpiled or enriching. Moreover, despite Washington’s demand that Tehran cooperate with the IAEA on a separate inquiry into two sites where the regime allegedly carried out nuclear weapons work or stored related equipment, the IAEA reports there has been no progress.

These failures suggest not only that Iran remains motivated to continue covert nuclear-weapons work, but that it is unwilling to abide by the most basic of Biden’s terms.

The good news is that Congress can exercise its oversight rights to ascertain the extent of Washington’s understandings and sanctions-relief plans with Tehran. . . . Under the 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA), Congress can demand that the administration transmit for review any nuclear agreement, and the law defines “agreement” broadly enough to include informal or unwritten arrangements.

Read more at Dispatch

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

Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security