In his address to the U.S. Congress this week, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky told U.S. President Joe Biden in a plea for American air defenses against Russian bombardment from the sky: “You are the leader of your great nation. I wish you to be the leader of the world.”
Congress members gave him a standing ovation. Yet reports suggest that, in its imminent deal with Iran, America is about to massively empower a state that is a lethal threat to the West and already has far more American blood on its hands than has Russian President Vladimir Putin.
While the Biden administration postures as standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Ukraine in its desperate defense against murderous aggression, it is itself reportedly about to capitulate entirely to Iran.
This, astoundingly, is America’s actual answer to Zelensky.
Given that the Iranian regime has been at war with the West since it came to power in 1979, that its fingerprints are on almost every major terrorist atrocity against Western interests and that it unceasingly declares its genocidal aim to exterminate Israel, the administration’s determination to empower it is incomprehensible.
The reported terms of the deal being negotiated in Vienna will allow Iran legitimately to equip itself with a nuclear arsenal after a mere delay—according to Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett—of two-and-a-half years.
Meanwhile, through the associated sanctions relief America will enable the regime to receive an estimated $100 billion to ramp up its regional power grab; redouble its terrorist activities; and perpetrate attacks on Israel from its proxies in Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, Iraq and Yemen.
The United States is even said to be considering lifting the designation of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization in return for some vague commitment by Tehran to rein it in. Given the IRGC’s key role as Iran’s elite global terrorism enforcer, any such commitment would be risible.
Yet since the Biden administration has so far crumpled in the face of every Iranian demand, can anyone believe it will allow this unconscionable condition to scupper the deal?
Over the past few months, Iranian attacks on U.S. interests have become increasingly brazen while America’s response has been no more than a feeble slap on the wrist.
In response to American weakness, Iran contemptuously upped the ante in the Vienna talks, to which the Biden administration cravenly offered it more and more concessions.
Unable to tolerate this surrender to terrorist blackmail, three of Biden’s negotiators in Vienna resigned earlier this year.
For America to bring Iran into the community of nations is obscene. To do so while purportedly exiling Russia from that community of nations is astonishing hypocrisy.
Even worse is that while Biden is instructing the world to impose sanctions against Russia, his administration is actually working closely with Russia to lift sanctions against Iran.
Since Iran has refused to deal directly with the United States in Vienna, the Biden administration last year asked Russia to take over leadership of those negotiations. That was bad enough; but yet worse again was to come.
The announcement of the Iran deal, which was expected more than a week ago, was reportedly delayed by Putin’s demand that the United States lift its Russian sanctions over Ukraine to allow Moscow to begin trading with Tehran. Since the Iran deal was being brokered by Russia, this threw a spanner into the works and shone a harsh light on the Biden administration’s strategic and moral incoherence.
Now, however, senior Western diplomats say Russia has walked back this demand. It reportedly would accept narrower guarantees ensuring that it could carry out the nuclear work it was (no less astonishingly) mandated to do under the 2015 nuclear deal.
That includes a uranium swap with Iran, the redesign of the Fordow nuclear facility and the provision of nuclear fuel to Iranian reactors.
And according to Adam Kredo in The Washington Free Beacon, Russia’s top state-controlled energy company Rosatom is set to cash in on its $10 billion contract to expand Tehran’s Bushehr nuclear plant.
U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said this week that America “would not sanction Russian participation in nuclear projects” that were part of the deal.
So the Biden administration is now accepting Putin—the man who Biden himself calls a “war criminal” and who has threatened nuclear war against the West—as the controller of Iran’s nuclear-weapons program.
This also enables Russia to set up a sanctions evasion hub in Iran. Richard Goldberg, a former senior official on the National Security Council in the Trump administration and now an adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Fox talk-show host Mark Levin that banks being sanctioned in Russia will be able to conduct transactions in Iran with a sanctions-free central bank there.
“This is a disaster because what the Iranians will say is: “Don’t you dare reissue sanctions on our banks just because we’re letting Russia evade sanctions. If you do, we’ll go back to nuclear extortion,” he said.
Goldberg predicted that Iran will continue to enrich uranium, keeping its enrichment capabilities that they have had since the 2015 deal. That allows them to threaten the world at any time of their choosing and cross the nuclear-weapons threshold. They can continue to develop longer nuclear-capable missiles to attack the United States and will get access to billions of dollars to fund all these malign activities.
“So we are setting up a deal that not only gives Iran a pathway to nuclear weapons, and we are not just giving Iran money to fund terrorism against the West but will give Putin the ‘get out of jail free card’ from all of our sanctions,” he said.
Of course, the immediate target in Iran’s sights is Israel. Bennett is in difficulties over Ukraine because Israel has Iranian militias on its border with Syria. Israel keeps them in check only because Putin, Syria’s patron, allows the Israelis to fly repeated sorties against these Iranian targets.
But Israel now finds itself not just trapped between Russia and Ukraine. It is also caught between, on the one hand, an Iranian enemy actively involved in trying to murder its citizens and annihilate it altogether, and on the other a so-called ally in Washington that is in fact hell-bent on empowering that enemy.
It’s not as if Iran isn’t actively involved in attacks upon America itself. Last Sunday, Iran fired missiles into the vicinity of the American consulate in Erbil in Iraq.
The Biden administration insisted this wasn’t an attack against the United States. But as the Jewish Institute for National Security of America observed, the strike was exactly that, marking “a massive escalation that seeks to test whether President Biden is willing to risk the collapse of nuclear negotiations by responding with deterrent force.” The administration’s denials, it said, would only embolden Iran still further.
Earlier this month, the Washington Examiner reported that at least two Iranians belonging to the IRGC’s covert-action Quds Force had been plotting to assassinate former National Security Adviser John Bolton.
According to a Justice Department official with direct knowledge of the investigation, the department possessed indictable evidence against the Iranians, but Biden administration officials were resisting publicly indicting the men for fear that this could derail the nuclear deal.
Earlier this month, Corinne Kitsell, the UK Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, said: “Iran’s nuclear program has never before been this advanced, and is exposing the international community to unprecedented levels of risk.”
Its’s hard to believe, but through its double-dealing with both Russia and Iran, America is now working with a lethal enemy of the West to empower a lethal enemy of civilization.
Melanie Phillips, a British journalist, broadcaster and author, writes a weekly column for JNS. Currently a columnist for “The Times of London,” her personal and political memoir, “Guardian Angel,” has been published by Bombardier, which also published her first novel, “The Legacy.” Go to melaniephillips.substack.com to access her work.