Biden administration shouldn’t be negotiating with Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Time Bomb with Iranian Flag. 3D Rendering

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Originally published by the Washington Times

Recent reports reveal throughout the Trump administration, former Obama administration officials worked actively to preserve the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Obama nuclear deal.

On at least three occasions, former Secretary of State John Kerry met with his counterpart, Iranian Foreign Minister Javed Zarif to persuade him to keep the deal on life support so a future Democrat administration could return to compliance with it.

Now that President Joe Biden is in office, getting the U.S. back into the JCPOA appears to be the guiding principle of his policy towards the Middle East. But the new administration needs to understand the region in 2021 is not what it was when the deal was struck in 2015 — and rather than seeing things for what they were six years ago; they may want to engage in a reality check before entering into any agreements — first and foremost with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Take for example, the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) — an official designation with significant economic repercussions for groups so designated. The regime in Tehran is widely regarded as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism — a grim practice that went completely unaddressed in the JCPOA.

While the Obama alumni in the Biden administration seem to stovepipe their Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs interlocutors from the terror masters, we might recall the regime cut its teeth with one of the most egregious terror attacks on diplomats in modern history: the taking of U.S. hostages in our Embassy in Tehran for 444 days in 1979-80.

Decision-makers in the Iranian regime have aggressively ramped up terrorist activities in recent years, and the Biden administration should take a long and sober look at this behavior. It should be one of the primary reasons Iran should never get a nuclear weapon, and not seen as a discreet issue “on the margins” as the diplomats say of any negotiations.

In 2019, the Trump administration took the historic step of listing the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as an FTO, the first time the U.S. had so sanctioned an official foreign military. The Feb. 16, 2021, attack on the International Airport in Erbil that killed a contactor and injured nine others, including U.S. citizens, as well as subsequent attacks on Balad Air Base in Erbil and on our Embassy in Baghdad, are a deliberate escalation of IRGC terrorist activities at the start of the Biden administration’s term.

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Victoria Coates
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