All of this is intended to urge the Biden-Harris administration to reverse Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 agreement that cut Iran’s nuclear program for 10-15 years in order to lift most of the sanctions first imposed because of this program in 2006. Nobody has to love the autocratic theocrats responsible for Iran to realize that the hard talk and the provocative actions on all sides did not have to be our current lot. President Barack Obama and others warned Trump that withdrawing from the deal and re-imposing sanctions could lead to war. But of course he bragged that he could do a much better deal than Obama. And so here we are on the precipice.
In December last year, in the wake of Israel’s assassination of the Iranian chief nuclear scientist, the Islamic Republic’s parliament passed a law suspending IAEA inspections of its nuclear facilities unless sanctions imposed by the US are lifted by February 21st, the agreement of 2015. The IAEA inspectors had repeatedly stated that Iran has fully complied with its obligations under the agreement since it was signed.
As in so many other things, Trump didn’t mind. He ordered his aides to come up with a justification for abandoning the agreement he had made fun of during his campaign “The worst offer ever.” They could not. In June 2018, Trump withdrew the United States from what was officially known as “President”, partly out of animus over something that President Obama achieved, partly because of strong opposition to the deal among Republicans, partly out of stupidity Joint Comprehensive Action Plan (JCPOA), despite Tehran’s full compliance. He then reinstated the old sanctions and added a few new ones that are still affecting the Iranian economy.
President Joe Biden said talks about restoring or revising the old agreement will depend on Iran taking the first step by complying with the provisions it has gradually dropped. Khamenei said “If they want Iran to return to its commitments … America must lift sanctions entirely, and not just in words or on paper.” This is not a diplomatic chicken and egg situation. It’s more like playing chicken at 100 miles an hour.
A good sign: Biden has appointed the highly respected Rob Malley as the special envoy for Iran. He was a member of the negotiating team for the nuclear deal in the Obama administration.
The Iranian leaders could have gone down the same path as Trump and completely abandoned the deal the moment he did it. Instead, they have pledged the other nations that negotiated the deal, particularly France, Britain and Germany, to keep it alive by challenging Washington and finding a way to circumvent the sanctions. Unsuccessful in this, they gradually increased the pressure and gave advance notice to the IAEA as they deliberately and systematically exceeded the provisions of the agreement one by one.
This involved building a larger than allowable supply of poorly enriched uranium; Enrichment of uranium beyond the permissible level of 3.67%, which is necessary to fire the power generation reactor up to 20%; Using more than the allowed number of centrifuges to concentrate uranium; and using more advanced centrifuges than allowed. Most recently, Iran produced uranium metal, which is said to be for its Tehran research reactor. Experts note that this material is also useful in the core of nuclear weapons, which is why the treaty bans research or manufacture of the material for 15 years.
France warned Iran on the matter. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll said: “In order to preserve the political space for a negotiated solution, we urge Iran not to take any new measures that would further worsen the nuclear situation due to the accumulation of violations against The EU is already extremely worrying about the Vienna Agreement, including the latest IAEA report. ”
For three decades, nuclear experts, secret services and self-serving politicians have been assessing how far or close Iran is from building an atomic bomb. As a member of the Israeli parliament in 1992, Benjamin Netanyahu said Iran could have a bomb in three to five years. As prime minister, he said in 2012 that Iran could be ready to build one in six to seven months. Although public consumption experts say today that they believe Iran has nearly enough uranium when highly enriched to make a bomb or two, there is no consensus on how long it might take to make the parts and the technical means to provide the skills needed to assemble them. The latest publicly announced assessment by the Israeli secret service Mossad assumes two years.
In no case will the Biden Harris government immediately lift all sanctions requested by Iran. That would face obstacles from all Senate Republicans and some Democrats. Against the agreement in 2015 were Sens. Bob Menendez from New Jersey, Ben Cardin from Maryland, Joe Manchin III from West Virginia and above all the majority leader Chuck Schumer.
There is resistance from the usual sources outside the Senate as well. A letter was sent to Biden and published as a full-page ad in the New York Times last Friday. Posted by United Against Nuclear Iran, on Lobbying The letter was funded by former Republican Party mega-donor Sheldon Adelson. The letter was signed by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, former head of Saudi intelligence, Prince Turki Al Faisal Al Saud, former National Security Advisor John Bolton. former General Manager of the Mossad Tamir Pardo, former Senator Joe Lieberman and 44 others. The letter advises against a return to the 2015 accord and states that the sanctions should remain in place until Iran ends its regional military operations, releases all American prisoners and agrees to stop uranium enrichment:
Iran policy must be conducted in consultation with US regional allies and partners most threatened by Iran’s malicious behavior. America’s allies and partners in the Middle East, who are most threatened by Iran’s behavior, have felt betrayed by the JCPOA. These countries are still routinely attacked by Iran and its agents. No one can ignore their security concerns if collective security is to remain a bedrock of the international community. In addition, the Middle East is home to thousands of Americans and trade interests, with billions of dollars in American assets involved.
Nothing is mentioned in the assassination letter of leading Iranians by the United States and Israel.
In Israel, there is a lot of heated talk in some areas about how to deal with the situation.
Settlement Minister Tzachi Hanegbi warned yesterday that Israel must decide whether to strike Iran’s nuclear program or come to terms with a nuclearized Iran. “The United States will never attack the nuclear facilities in Iran. Israel has to decide if it wants to accept a nuclear Iran. Israel will be forced to act independently to eliminate this threat, ”Hanegbi said in an interview with the public broadcaster Kan.
“It is possible that there will be no choice in the future [but to attack Iran militarily]. I hope that when our leadership faces this dilemma, they will not accept it [a nuclearized Iran]”Said Hanegbi.
Hanegbi has held numerous other high government positions in the past, including overseeing the Israeli Atomic Energy Agency. For the past half century, Israel has maintained the official ambiguity by neither confirming nor denying that it has a nuclear arsenal. Analysts believe the arsenal contains 75 to 200 nuclear warheads.
Untold sources told Reuters this week that the Biden-Harris administration is reviewing its options. A consideration is a step-by-step approach. Such a trust-building process, as diplomats call it, could make the situation more level-headed:
That option could result in Washington allowing Tehran to reap economic benefits less than the sanctions it received under the 2015 agreement in exchange for Iran stopping or stopping its own violations of the agreement possibly undone.
The sources stressed that US President Joe Biden has not yet decided his policy. His stated position remains that Iran resume full compliance with the pact before the United States does.
“(They) have real thinking,” said a source familiar with the US review. Ideas considered included a direct return to the 2015 nuclear deal and what he called “less for less” as an intermediate step.
To reiterate, things didn’t have to be like that. Instead of destroying the deal and creating this mayhem, Donald Trump could have built on the 2015 deal with new talks on Iran’s regional actions and its advanced missile development. The latter is one of the main points of contention among critics. Had he stuck with it, the new government could have started negotiations on these issues immediately instead of being forced to grab a mop first.