(March 21, 2022 / JNS) As the Biden administration prepares to sign a final deal with Iran that has been lambasted by numerous experts as nothing short of a major appeasement of the Islamic regime, Washington is now also weighing the removal of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from a terror blacklist in return for a public commitment from Iran to de-escalation in the region.
Former U.S. special Middle East envoy Dennis Ross mocked this decision, tweeting on Thursday: “Tying the delisting of the IRGC to Iran promising to de-escalate in the region makes us look naive.” Ross said he believes that such promises by Iran are not credible.
In a joint announcement on Friday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said, “The IRGC is a terrorist organization that has murdered thousands of people, including Americans. We refuse to believe that the United States would remove its designation as a terrorist organization.”
The Biden administration promised to everyone it would pursue a “longer, stronger” deal with Iran. Why is it now looking to close a shorter, weaker deal?
According to Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, “the goal has always been to kick the can down the road so that Washington can tackle other looming challenges—namely, China. The administration understands fully that this deal will not prevent Iran from acquiring a bomb if it wishes to do so. It doesn’t care, so long as the pivot can be made.”
Schanzer slammed the Biden administration’s negotiating team, led by Rob Malley, for caving to Iran as well as Russia.
“What is so puzzling right now is the reported list of overly generous concessions that enrich and empower Iran, an avowed enemy of the United States,” said Schanzer. “It almost looks as if the United States is content with enabling the worst elements of the regime to enrich and to continue their crimes against humanity. It’s even more confusing to see reports of concessions to Russia embedded in the deal, just as the United States seeks to rally the international community to counter Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.”
Heritage Foundation president Kevin Roberts blasted the Biden administration’s push to secure another nuclear deal with Iran, telling JNS: “The original Iran deal was seriously flawed and returning to it will not stop Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons to threaten the U.S. and its allies. Unfortunately, the Biden administration is doing the exact opposite by attempting to recommit the U.S. to this deeply flawed, entirely unworkable deal from which [former] President [Donald] Trump wisely withdrew the U.S. in 2018.”
Adding to the assertion that Iran is not looking to de-escalate but rather the opposite, U.S. Central Command’s Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie told lawmakers on March 15 that Iran now has about 3,000 ballistic missiles. “Over the last five to seven years … they have invested heavily in their ballistic-missile program,” said McKenzie.
Iran reportedly now has enough enriched uranium to use as “feed for production of enough weapon-grade uranium for two nuclear weapons,” according to a report published in recent days by the Institute for Science and International Security.
Missile attacks make situation ‘all the more baffling’
Further concerning Israel, the United States has recently taken a backseat in talks with the Iranians in Vienna, which were suspended last week over disagreements with the Kremlin, and has given Moscow complete control over Iran’s nuclear-weapons program.
Last week, following escalating tensions between Washington and Moscow, the P5+1 group of nations and Iran suspended their efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear accord. Russia warned on March 12 that it wanted U.S. guarantees that sanctions imposed over its invasion of Ukraine wouldn’t affect its partnership with Iran. Russian officials announced that they had received “guarantees” from the American delegation regarding circumventing sanctions on Iran, allowing it to continue to trade with the Islamic regime.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian landed in Moscow on March 15 for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov over the conflict in Ukraine and ongoing discussions to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Abdollahian’s visit comes after a number of important and notable events in recent days.
On March 14, several Israeli government websites were knocked offline in what is suspected to be a large-scale cyber-attack perpetrated by Iranian-aligned hackers.
Also that day, Iranian media claimed the Mossad allegedly attempted to attack Iran’s key Fordow nuclear enrichment site.
And according to a report in Israeli media on March 15, Israeli forces destroyed hundreds of Iranian drones in a massive airstrike on an airbase in western Iran near Kermanshah in mid-February.
Iran appears to have escalated its conflict with the United States as well after the Islamic regime fired 12 ballistic missiles in the direction of the U.S. consulate in Erbil, Iraq.
According to the Tehran Times, which quoted Iraqi sources, “nine Israeli officials were killed in the strike, two of whom were Mossad agents.”
Iran may be trying to exact revenge for Israel’s reported killing of two IRGC generals in Syria earlier this month, according to experts.
There are numerous conflicting opinions about what that target actually was.
A senior U.S. official was reported in the country’s media to have said the building hit in Erbil served as an Israeli intelligence facility. But a senior Biden administration official refuted that, saying the administration believes that the building that was hit was a civilian residence only.
The absurdity of the situation was highlighted in a Wall Street Journal editorial that said: “The U.S. condemned the missile strike, yet is eager to give Iran countless billions that it can use to fund more such attacks.”
Last week, Iran also published information allegedly hacked from the phone of Mossad Chief David Barnea’s wife, which the Mossad has since claimed is “old.”
“Biden’s push to restore this horrific deal is all the more baffling in the wake of Saturday’s Iranian missile attacks on U.S. personnel in Iraq,” said Roberts. “The U.S. should punish this evil regime for its attacks on American citizens and continued threat to our interests. We must never allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons.”
“Iran is getting shellacked by Israel in what the Israelis have termed the ‘War Between Wars,’ ” said Schanzer. “The Iranians are rather desperate to exact revenge.”
However, he said he also believes the attack in Erbil “was an attempt to send a message to the United States that if it does not accede to all of Iran’s demands in Vienna, more missile attacks could come. The Biden administration seemed to understand that message and promptly caved to the last remaining demands of Iran.”
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