The United States and Iran are reportedly on the cusp of a new nuclear agreement. One of the last remaining issues is said to be whether or not the Biden administration removes the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from the Foreign Terrorist Organization list. The administration is purportedly offering to do so on the condition that Iran makes some amorphous commitment to rein in its regional aggression and refrain from targeting Americans.
In other words, as far as the Biden administration is concerned, it’s OK if the Iranians attack Europeans, Saudis, Israelis or Emiratis.
Such an agreement brings to mind the deal West Germany reportedly made with Fatah shortly after the Palestinian terrorist group Black September hijacked Lufthansa flight 615 on Oct. 29, 1972. There is strong evidence suggesting that West Germany released the three surviving Palestinian Arab terrorists involved the Munich massacre in exchange for a commitment that no terrorist attacks would be carried out in the country.
The Biden administration was supposed to be negotiating an agreement with Iran over its nuclear program. Instead, the revised agreement apparently includes many provisions regarding the lifting of terror-related sanctions on the IRGC and numerous individual Iranians, despite their ongoing involvement in terror activity.
Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) recently stated that while the agreement taking shape in Vienna will not prevent Iran from eventually obtaining a nuclear weapon, neither will the absence of a deal. However, this misses the point—with no deal in place over the past three years, it has been the actions taken by both Israel and the United States that have prevented Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
Furthermore, there is the example of North Korea.
The United States signed a deal with North Korea on Oct. 21, 1994, under which Pyongyang committed to freeze its nuclear program. In exchange for North Korea agreeing to shut down its main nuclear plant and abandon others under construction, the United States would provide two light-water reactors, along with oil for heating and energy production until the new reactors were completed. In addition, the United States agreed to lift economic sanctions and end its diplomatic freeze on North Korea.
Ultimately, however, North Korea never gave up its nuclear weapons program, and did develop nuclear weapons, all while economically benefiting from the mistaken agreement. In other words, the United States would have been far better off maintaining the sanctions on North Korea.
The original nuclear agreement with Iran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed in 2015, was supposed to change Iran’s behavior and rein in its nuclear weapon 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%, as well as upping the budgets of Hamas and Hezbollah.
After the United States unilaterally pulled out of the JCPOA in 2018 under President Donald Trump, Iran’s defense budget plummeted, its foreign reserves dropped to just $4 billion and Hamas and Hezbollah budgets were drastically cut. The United States and Israel were able to take military action to prevent Iran from obtaining a bomb; Germany, France and Britain stayed in the JCPOA, despite Iran openly and flagrantly violating its provisions.
The Biden administration has already loosened sanctions even before a new deal has been reached. Iran’s foreign reserves have already increased to well over $30 billion, and are still rising.
Iran flagrantly violated the original JCPOA, and the Biden administration is now pursuing a second, weaker agreement, with less nuclear oversight and significant terrorism sanctions relief.
Not only that, but that sanctions relief will now benefit not only Iran but also Russia, which is persecuting a war in Ukraine.
It’s obvious that the Biden administration’s attempt to reach a new agreement with Iran is an unmitigated disaster. They aren’t even attempting to sell it as a good deal— instead they’re trying to blame the Trump administration’s pullout from the JCPOA for the bad deal they are about to sign.
In the end, providing massive sanctions relief to an evil regime that calls for the destruction of Israel and America, and which is the leading global state sponsor of terrorism, is a terrible idea—and one that has already been tried. If, as Albert Einstein famously said, insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, then what is doing the same thing over and over despite expecting worse results?
Apparently, only the Biden administration can answer that question.
Farley Weiss, former president of the National Council of Young Israel, is an intellectual property attorney for the law firm of Weiss & Moy. The views expressed are the author’s, and not necessarily representative of NCYI.
Be a part of our community
JNS serves as the central hub for a thriving community of readers who appreciate the invaluable context our coverage offers on Israel and their Jewish world.
Please join our community and help support our unique brand of Jewish journalism that makes sense.