Dangerous ramifications of Iran nuclear deal shakeup
After being halted in early March by Russia’s request for protection from US sanctions, negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program are expected to resume soon in Vienna, after Iran’s Nowruz holiday, a celebration of the Persian New Year, which began on Monday .
Although negotiations are nearing the finish line, specific details of what has already been agreed have not been released by the Biden administration. A State Department spokesman said Monday that a deal was “neither imminent nor certain.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Wednesday: “We believe that today we are closer than ever to an agreement in Vienna.” But he warned: “We reminded the Americans that we will not cross our red lines”.
Amirabdollahian was likely referring to two key issues that have yet to be resolved: Tehran’s demand that its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps be granted immunity from US sanctions on foreign terrorist organizations and its insistence on receiving guarantee that the United States will not withdraw from the agreement. , as President Donald Trump did in 2018.
Boon for the Revolutionary Guards
The Revolutionary Guards have become a major stumbling block in the negotiations as they represent many aspects of why Iran was sanctioned in the first place. Not only do they control vital parts of Iran’s covert nuclear weapons efforts, but they also control Iran’s ballistic missiles, orchestrate Iran’s proxy terrorist network, serve as the repressive praetorian guard of the regime and dominate important sectors of the Iranian economy.
US sanctions against the Revolutionary Guards are a necessary punitive action that deprives them of access to their front company funds and deters future terrorist attacks.
If sanctions against the Revolutionary Guards were lifted, the regime in Tehran would pocket more benefits from a new deal than under the original deal, which did not include the lifting of non-nuclear sanctions. Moreover, the Revolutionary Guards will gain huge economic benefits which they will surely use to finance evil activities.
A deal could be announced as early as next week and will certainly be hailed as a diplomatic triumph by Biden’s White House.
But the deputy special envoy for Iran and two other diplomats who quit the US negotiating team because they were alarmed by the extent of US concessions in the talks have good reason not to be dissenting. agree with this twist.
The Biden administration appears to be poised to negotiate a weaker, shorter, and riskier deal with Iran than the Obama administration did in 2015.
Kicking Nuclear Can Down Road
Another flawed nuclear deal with Iran will at best postpone the moment of reckoning as a hostile, vengeful regime recovers from sanctions, bolsters its ballistic missile arsenal and exports terrorism to intimidate regional adversaries and drive out the United States. from the Middle-East.
Although the Biden White House is sure to claim that a deal puts Iran’s nuclear program ‘back in a box’, the walls of that box will grow weaker as the deal’s most restrictive provisions will expire. After those restrictions end, the deal is likely to die in obscurity.
Iran, authorized to set up an industrial-scale uranium enrichment program, will be put on the path to nuclear escape or covert “stealth”.
A revived nuclear deal would allow Tehran to trade short-term restrictions on its nuclear program that it could easily revert to, as it has done many times before, in exchange for long-term sanctions relief. But this sanctions relief for Iran would not alleviate Iran’s proxy attacks.
In fact, resurrecting the flawed 2015 deal would not defuse tensions in the Middle East, but fuel them. Iran’s aggressive dictatorship would become emboldened and empowered to step up its bullying tactics against regional adversaries, as it did after the 2015 deal.
Tehran will pocket billions of dollars in sanctions relief to fund its hostile political agenda. Indeed, US concessions on sanctions would subsidize Iran’s military buildup, the expansion of its proxy terrorist network and even Iran’s nuclear program.
Appalled by a deal that would bolster Iran’s Islamist dictatorship, countries threatened by Iran would hedge their security bets and seek insurance by improving ties with China and Russia to protect themselves. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have already taken steps in this direction.
China and Russia would also reap huge economic, strategic and foreign policy benefits from the deal, which would remove barriers to closer relations with Tehran. Moscow, in addition to enjoying immunity from US nuclear sanctions, would also gain a huge customer for its weapons, full of money from sanctions relief.
China, which last year signed a 25-year, $400 billion strategic partnership with Iran, will have easier access to a major source of oil imports, increased trade and a reinvigorated ally in a vital oil-rich region.
Israel will be forced to take unilateral action, covertly or overtly, to delay Iran’s nuclear progress. This will lead to the escalation of the shadow war launched by Iran against Israel, waged with new vigor by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and their proxies in Gaza, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. .
To make matters worse, while Iran may become more aggressive, the Biden administration may become even more passive, fearing that a strong pushback against Iran’s destabilizing regional activities could jeopardize the illusory triumph of the nuclear deal. much vaunted.
The biggest winners, losers
The Biden administration’s complacent accommodation of a fiercely hostile Iranian regime is likely to produce a half-baked deal that will only delay a festering nuclear crisis, not resolve it.
Another flawed deal would kick the box while flooding Iran with sanctions relief that will embolden the regime, accelerate its military buildup and bolster its proxy terrorist networks for future attacks.
As noted above, besides Iran, the main beneficiaries of a renewed nuclear deal would be China and Russia.
The biggest losers would be the United States, its allies and the Iranian people, who would be condemned to live under the repression of a strengthened regime.
This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal