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Washington must reverse course on Iran

Even Democrats are having a hard time understanding Biden’s efforts to return to the JCPOA.

U.S. President Joe Biden walks with Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Antony Blinken after delivering remarks at the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 4, 2021. Credit: Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz.
U.S. President Joe Biden walks with Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Antony Blinken after delivering remarks at the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 4, 2021. Credit: Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz.
Farley Weiss
Farley Weiss is chairman of the Israel Heritage Foundation (IHF) and former president of the National Council of Young Israel.

Iran has repeatedly called for Israel’s destruction, is the leading exporter and financer of global terrorism and is producing ballistic missiles and pursuing nuclear weapons. The former U.S. administration of President Donald Trump was thus right to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear deal that Iran was violating—and which had led it to increase its military spending by 40 percent, helping it to keep funding entities like Hamas and Hezbollah.

Now the administration of President Joe Biden is trying to return to the failed JCPOA—something that even many Democrats are having a hard time grasping.

“I don’t understand how you can go back to a deal that was put into place under different circumstances, many years ago,” newly elected Democratic member of Congress Kathy Manning (N.C.-06) told this week’s Jewish Insider “Limited Liability” podcast.

She explained: “Some of the sunset provisions have already expired. We no longer have the arms embargo at the U.N. We were hoping that being in the deal would cause Iran to curb its bad behavior, and perhaps even cease from some of its malign behavior in fostering terrorism around the globe. And what we’ve seen is that they’ve done exactly the opposite. We also see that when faced with real economic trouble for its own people, rather than use their resources to take care of their own people, they are using that money to continue to foster and support terrorists around the world. So, when you think about all those things that have changed, or that we’ve learned from since when the deal was put into place, I don’t even understand how you can say, ‘Let’s get back into the same deal.’ We’re not in the same world today.”

Another incomprehensible Biden move is the sanctioning of Russia for attempting to “interfere” with the 2020 U.S. presidential election on behalf of Trump, yet ignoring American intelligence reports that Iran sought to undercut Trump’s reelection. Why doesn’t Biden sanction Iran for that? The answer appears to be he only wants to punish foreign governments that he believes worked against him.

But not only is the Biden administration not adopting punitive measures against Iran, it is reportedly considering giving the Islamic Republic extra money, to compensate for Trump’s having exited the deal and increased sanctions. Yet, it’s clear that any money given to Tehran will be spent on terrorism and missile development. This was proven by the trove of documents that Israel seized from a warehouse in Tehran in 2018.

The line was drawn. On Sept. 28, 2012, at the United Nations, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with a red marker in hand, dramatically drew Israel’s “red line” demanding a halt to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear enrichment program. The now-famous graphic illustration of the stages of advanced development of a bomb was a stern warning to Iran that it dare not pass the red line and risk a harsh Israeli response.

Years later, on May 8, 2018, Trump withdrew the U.S. from the JCPOA when, we are told, Iran was theoretically one year from a nuclear weapon. So why, during the subsequent three years, has Iran still not obtained a nuclear weapon? Clearly, it is because Iran fears Israel’s red line. So instead, today, Iran’s posturing is rather an attempt to pressure and scare the U.S. to lift sanctions against the regime, by appearing to be closer to a nuclear bomb. No less obvious, it is certainly the reason why Iran wants the U.S. back in the JCPOA.

To be sure, if the JCPOA was not in Iran’s best interest, then it would not be calling for the U.S. to rejoin it. It seems that while the Iranians understand the Israelis, the Americans do not understand the Iranians.

Today, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is demanding clarification from Tehran about the traces of uranium discovered at undeclared sites. It’s obvious, however, that it is not for a “peaceful” nuclear program.

A bipartisan majority in Congress opposes the administration’s efforts to renew the Iran deal. While one might argue that the previous administration of President Barack Obama, which signed the deal, had hoped that it would curb Iran’s nuclear program, nobody has reason to harbor such false hopes any longer. The Biden administration must change course immediately.

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.

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