There is still time for members of Congress and U.S. allies in the Middle East to press Biden officials to ease up on the administration’s race to rejoin the deeply flawed 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and take a more responsible approach in its nuclear diplomacy that does not appease and strengthen Tehran. However, I fear Biden and his foreign policy team are too obsessed with scoring a farcical victory of the U.S. rejoining Obama’s nuclear deal and will refuse to listen to reason.
Biden officials claim that indirect U.S.-Iran nuclear talks scheduled to start Tuesday in Vienna will be an important first step in meeting President Biden’s campaign promise to get the United States back into the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, the JCPOA. The truth is that Iran has seized control of this issue and will use these talks to dictate to Biden the terms of his surrender on the Iranian nuclear program.
President Trump withdrew from the JCPOA in May 2018, calling it the “worst deal ever.” Trump was right, given secret Iranian cheating on the agreement, its weak verification provisions and major omissions, such as Iran’s ballistic missile program and sponsorship of terrorism.
The case for Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal became stronger over the last two years due to evidence of massive Iranian cheating on the JCPOA revealed by documents on the Iran nuclear weapons program stolen by Israeli intelligence. In mid-2019, Iran began overtly violating the agreement by increasing the purity of its enriched uranium closer to weapons-grade, installing more advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium, and producing uranium metal, part of the process of making nuclear bomb fuel.
Biden officials previously said they would require Iran to come into compliance with the nuclear deal before America would rejoin it and drop U.S. sanctions. But the Biden administration’s precondition only meant Iran’s overt violations since 2019, and not other Iranian cheating or agreeing to fix the deal’s flaws. Iranian leaders rejected this precondition and insisted that Iran will not reverse its overt violations of the agreement unless the U.S. first lifts all sanctions.