Unlike the Obama-Biden administration, President Trump saw right through the Iranian regime’s deceptive veneer all the way through to its malevolent core. Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran had the regime on its knees. If President Trump had been reelected, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and his henchmen would have had no choice but to agree to major concessions in order to get any sanctions relief.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s claim last week that “the next US administration will surrender to the Iranian nation” no matter who won the election was empty braggadocio. Behind the scenes, the Iranian regime did its best to interfere in the U.S. election on behalf of Joe Biden. Iran’s leaders have now reaped the fruits of their efforts as they look forward to the Biden-Harris administration’s return to the Obama-Biden administration’s appeasement policies.
On Sunday, after the media projected Biden as the election winner, Rouhani proclaimed, “The next US administration has now an opportunity to make up for the past mistakes and return to the path of commitment to international undertakings by respecting the global rules.” Joe Biden will almost certainly take Rouhani’s advice to heart, falling again for the Iranian regime’s siren song.
Expect Biden to immediately set about reversing President Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran. This will mean trying quickly to lift at least some of the harsh sanctions imposed by Trump to force the Iranian regime to the negotiating table, which Trump will reportedly be adding to every week until Biden’s inauguration on January 20, 2021. Biden has already proposed to “streamline channels for banking and public health assistance from other countries in response to the health emergency in Iran,” as if Iran’s brutal regime could give a hoot about the health of its people.
Joe Biden has also indicated his intention to rejoin the deeply flawed nuclear deal with Iran from which President Trump wisely withdrew. Biden would be willing to do so “as a starting point for follow-up negotiations” if Iran returns to compliance with its loophole-ridden commitments. Iran’s leaders insist that it be the other way around, meaning that they won’t budge until the U.S. rescinds its unilateral sanctions. And Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said recently that there is no way that Iran would agree to renegotiate the terms of the nuclear deal. Who doubts that Biden will blink first?
In an opinion piece that Biden wrote for CNN, he declared, “By any objective measure, Trump’s ‘maximum pressure’ has been a boon to the regime in Iran and a bust for America’s interests.” What planet is Biden living on? The “boon to the regime in Iran” was delivered by the Obama-Biden administration when its disastrous nuclear deal was put into effect. The boon came in the form of the immediate lifting of economic sanctions in reliance on the Iranian regime’s loophole-ridden promises, the release of $150 billion in frozen assets, and the transfer of $1.7 billion in cash to Iran as ransom money for the return of American hostages.
As Robert Spencer explained in summarizing how bad the Obama-Biden administration’s nuclear deal with Iran really was, “the Islamic Republic was being given sanctions relief and allowed to continue its nuclear program, only with certain restrictions that would all eventually expire anyway. Sanctions relief allows the Iranian mullahs to finance jihad groups worldwide.”
President Trump understood the nuclear deal’s fundamental flaws, such as its sunset clauses and the woefully inadequate inspection verification mechanism. In trying to fix them, Trump knew that the only language Khamenei and Rouhani would understand, short of military action, was turning the economic screws on the Iranian regime. Joe Biden, on the other hand, does not understand the notion of negotiating from a position of strength.
Biden talks a good game, claiming in his CNN opinion piece that “there is a smart way to be tough on Iran, and there is Trump’s way.” But does Biden think that giving in to the Iranian regime’s demands to get a shoddy nuclear deal in the first place was the “smart way to be tough on Iran,” especially when the negotiators squandered the real economic leverage they had to obtain far better terms? Apparently so. Biden now naively believes that giving away the leverage that Trump has since managed to restore is the “smart way to be tough on Iran” going forward. Biden would rather please our cowardly allies by rejoining them in the fundamentally flawed nuclear deal than doing what is morally right to confront the evil of an unleashed Iran.
Consider Biden’s comment on the international arms embargo imposed on Iran under United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed the nuclear deal. The embargo by its terms just recently expired. “At the United Nations, Trump could not rally a single one of America’s closest allies to extend the UN arms embargo on Iran,” Biden declared in his CNN piece. But had the Obama-Biden administration not agreed to such a short sunsetting of the arms embargo in the first place, with our allies’ acquiescence, the Trump administration would not have had to deal with the resulting mess.
Joe Biden also thinks that kicking the nuclear time bomb can down the road was a great accomplishment. “Five years ago, American-led diplomacy produced a deal that ensured it would take Iran at least a year to produce enough fissile material for one bomb,” Biden wrote. “Now — because Trump let Iran off the hook from its obligations under the nuclear deal –Tehran’s ‘breakout time’ is down to just a few months.”
Biden is too foolish to realize how Iran just exposed a fundamental flaw with the deal’s sunset clauses when it decided to break its commitments on uranium enrichment limits. Iran provided an object lesson in how quickly it can ramp up to the point of having enough weapons-grade enriched uranium fuel for a nuclear weapon whenever it wishes. Had everything about the nuclear deal remained as it was and Iran kept its word, the limitations on Iran’s uranium enrichment activities would have expired in a few years’ time anyway under the deal’s sunset clauses. Iran’s breakout time would then be close to zero, according to Biden’s former boss Barack Obama. Obama admitted back in 2015 that once the deal’s restrictions on Iran’s use of advanced centrifuges are lifted, Iran would be able to break out to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb in “almost zero” time by 2028 or so. But not to worry, Obama assured us. “The option of a future president to take action if in fact they try to obtain a nuclear weapon is undiminished,” Obama said.
President Trump did not want to wait and risk the chance that Iran would be far better prepared to defend its nuclear weapons production facilities in 2028 than it could now. So, he acted to force Iran’s hand immediately, while depriving them of the money they would use to build up their military capabilities. Joe Biden, on the other hand, wants to return the United States to the nuclear deal with Iran as soon as possible and keep the nuclear time bomb can rolling down the ever-shortening road for a few more years until it is ready to explode.
Biden tweeted his criticism of President Trump’s decision early last January to take out Iran’s terrorist mastermind, Qassem Soleimani. Biden claimed that it was a “hugely escalatory move in an already dangerous region.” Biden added that President Trump “just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox.” Soleimani, who already had American blood on his hands, was in Iraq getting ready to execute the launch of far more than dynamite against U.S. personnel in Iraq. Trump eliminated Soleimani before he could pull the trigger. Biden raised the specter of “a major conflict across the Middle East” that did not come close to materializing.
Robert Gates, who served as Defense Secretary in the Obama administration and was certainly familiar with Joe Biden’s judgment on foreign policy, said that Biden has “been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” With the prospect of Biden making life and death decisions as president and commander-in-chief, Iran and America’s other adversaries will be the direct beneficiaries of Biden’s continued pattern of perilous misjudgments. The American people will be far less safe as a result.