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How not to negotiate an Iran deal

The Biden administration’s ineptitude may force Israel to take military action.

Negotiators meet in Vienna to discuss the  Iran nuclear deal, May 2021. Source: Enrique Mora/European External Action Service/Twitter.
Negotiators meet in Vienna to discuss the Iran nuclear deal, May 2021. Source: Enrique Mora/European External Action Service/Twitter.
Farley Weiss
Farley Weiss is chairman of the Israel Heritage Foundation (IHF) and former president of the National Council of Young Israel.

Former President Donald Trump was famous for his book The Art of the Deal. A book about the Biden administration’s negotiations with Iran could be entitled The Art of How Not to Negotiate a Deal.

The administration has made it clear that it sees no alternative to a deal with Iran and thus continues to make concessions in order to try and get Iran to sign one. The most recent concession was a so-called “bridging proposal” formulated by E.U. foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, which still, apparently, did not go far enough for Iran.

The U.S. refuses to present a viable military option if no deal is signed, despite the fact that International Atomic Energy Agency head Raphael Grossi says Iran’s nuclear program is “moving ahead very, very fast.” Why should Iran not flagrantly violate a deal when the Biden administration and the Europeans have failed to punish its violations?

The original 2015 nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was supposed to change Iran’s behavior and rein in its nuclear weapons program in exchange for over $100 billion in sanctions relief. However, Iran clandestinely continued its nuclear weapons program, using the massive influx of money to increase its defense budget by 40% and pour cash into its terrorist proxies Hamas and Hezbollah.

That Iran is now egregiously violating the JCPOA makes it clear that any new deal will be much worse than the original. The U.S. is staying at the negotiating table despite the old adage that the best way to get a deal is to walk away. Iran even refuses to negotiate directly with the U.S. and the negotiators are located in separate rooms.

When the Obama administration negotiated the original JCPOA, sanctions on Iran increased until a deal was signed. The Trump administration ended U.S. support for the JCPOA because Iran continued its nuclear program. It further reinstituted sanctions on Iran that cut the Islamic republic’s financial reserves from over $100 billion to under $5 billion. These reserves have increased to over $30 billion since Biden took office, despite Iran’s progress on its nuclear program. Illegal Iranian oil sales have jumped to $44 billion over the last 18 months, double the previous year overall.

A senior advisor to Iran’s supreme leader has said that Iran now has the capability to build a nuclear bomb. The main advancements toward this capability have all occurred under the Biden administration.

Clearly, the administration’s negotiating strategy with Iran has been a colossal failure. It has left Iran emboldened to pursue its nuclear weapons program in violation of the JCPOA while the White House keeps making more concessions, because it sees no alternative. It is hard to imagine a better textbook example of what not to do in a negotiation.

Unfortunately, there is no evidence that the Biden administration is going to change course. Because of this ineptitude, Israel will soon be left with no alternative but to take military action to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Farley Weiss is Chairman of the Israel Heritage Foundation (IHF) and former president of the National Council of Young Israel, as well as an intellectual property attorney for the law firm of Weiss & Moy. The views expressed are the author’s and not necessarily representative of NCYI.

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