Biden: US to Return to Nuclear Talks with Iran
Finally. I don’t know who Joe Biden and Tony Blinken have been listening to till now regarding relations with Iran and the JCPOA nuclear deal. But it sure wasn’t the advisors who persuaded him during the campaign to say he wanted to immediately return to JCPOA after he became president.
Instead, Biden and his secretary of state in the past few weeks made impossible demands of Iran in order for the US to return to talks. They said Iran had to return to uranium enrichment standards of the deal before we would sit down to talk to them.
This was an exceedingly strange demand considering that it was Pres. Trump who withdrew from the deal, not Iran. Any actions the latter took outside its parameters were in response to Trump tearing up the agreement and walking away. So for Biden now to act as if Iran’s violations were the main barrier to resumption of talks was ass-backwards. Not to mention that Trump’s maximum pressure campaign had failed to humble Iran or force it to beg for mercy as the former administration had expected. In fact, Iran had more centrifuges and more highly enriched uranium by the end of Trump’s term than it had at the beginning. So to many experts like Fareed Zakharia and Ishaan Tharoor, who wrote questioning Biden’s refusal to constructively engage with Iran, our stance lacked coherence.
Today, the Biden administration made two critical admissions: it offered to rejoin JCPOA talks with Iran; and it withdrew a submission to the United Nations which initiated “snapback” provisions in the original deal that could be invoked by a party if another party to the deal violated it. The US also removed travel restrictions on Iranian diplomats which had made them virtual prisoners in their own diplomatic facilities.
Returning to the Trump’s snapback claim, our prior withdrawal rendered the request moot since we were no longer party to JCPOA. UN member states determined that we could no longer make demands that were incorporated in the agreement if we were no longer a party to it. The Trump request to restore sanctions was ignored by the other member states. Now Biden has essentially conceded Trump was wrong and the UN and other JCPOA parties were right.
This sets the stage for what could be productive talks whose goal would be to re-engage both Iran and the US in the original terms of JCPOA. But that it just the beginning of what is necessary. The five parties to this agreement must devise of way to provide real sanctions relief to Iran.
When the original deal was signed in 2018, Iranians had high hopes that sanctions would be substantially removed, or at least eased. This is turn, would offer economic benefits to average Iranians, raise their standard of living, and bring the country back into the family of nations engaged in normal trade relations.
Things didn’t turn out that way. It was harder than previously understood to undo sanctions provisions which had been written into law and required legislative remedies for removal. Nor would financial institutions or government agencies ease their own restrictions with the sword of US sanctions hanging over their heads.
Then the US election provided another major shock to the system with Trump’s election victory. Sanctions relief was no longer an option. In fact, the entire deal was in jeopardy. Indeed, within a year Trump had dumped it, as he promised he would during the campaign. As a result, the parties have a bad taste in their mouths based on past US performance. It is our country and not Iran which has something to prove. It is us who will have to prove our good faith.
And if we want to expand JCPOA to incorporate new issues like ballistic missiles, we will have to be prepared to be flexible in addressing Iran’s interests. It will not simply stop testing missiles because Israel or the US says it should. Iran has interests, and we will need to offer something of value to it in exchange.
For too long the world has looked upon Iran as a recalcitrant child who needs firm discipline–to be brought into line. Instead of seeing Iran as a mature nation with a clear sense of its interests and a willingness to approach achieving them in pragmatic fashion. That is more of what we will need to see future progress on JCPOA and whatever new agreement might come from it.
Anti-Iran Hawks Squawk
Anti-Iran hawks like Mike Pompeo and Bibi Netanyahu like to pile on demands of Iran, which they know cannot be successfully resolved. Then they say when their demands are not addressed under JCPOA that it means it is a failure and the policy of diplomatic engagement is as well. Perhaps the most salient example concerns supposed Iranian expansionist ambitions to be the major power in the region. They see Iran’s presence in Syria and Iraq, and the proxies it supports militarily in Yemen, and Lebanon as emblematic of Iran’s desire to exert Shiite hegemony over the greater Middle East.
These hawks have routinely said that for JCPOA to be satisfactory, it would have to restrain Iran and force it to renounce these alliances. This approach of course, beyond being hypocritical, neglects that key proponents of this view such as Saudi Arabia, Israel and the US, themselves project their own power and ambitions in the region. Israel has for decades invaded and attacked other frontline states it views as rivals or threats. It has made numerous alliances with proxy armies and militia in Lebanon, Gaza, and Syria, which did its bidding. Saudi Arabia too has deployed its own troops to bolster a faltering Sunni monarchy in Bahrain, and invaded Yemen to prevent a takeover by Houthi Shia forces. The US of course has mounted two major invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan to force political and military outcomes we viewed to be in our interest. Our efforts led to the deaths of millions of Arabs in these countries. Deaths which continue to this day.
So by all means, let’s call for all foreign powers to withdraw from their positions in Syria, Iraq, Kurdistan, Palestine, Yemen. Let’s permit these nations to determine the right path forward without outsiders imposing their will. When Israel ends its bombing in Syria, Iraq, Sudan and elsewhere; its repeated wars against Hezbollah in Lebanon, and its Occupation of Palestine; then Iran could withdraw its forces from Syria and its arms shipments from Lebanon; and when Saudi Arabia and UAE withdraw their invading forces from Yemen, then Iran can cease the support its offering the Houthis there.
But of course neither the US, Israel or Saudis are willing to engage in such comprehensive thinking. The fault always lies with the other guy. Not with them. It’s his responsibility to give in because you, of course, couldn’t possibly have done anything wrong. Compromise? A word that’s not in your vocabulary. Why should you? This is the mark of extremist, maximalist strategic thinking. Not the approach of a mature, pragmatic nation. It is a recipe for ongoing disaster.
17 thoughts on “Biden: US to Return to Nuclear Talks with Iran – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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You are quite optimistic Richard.
https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/13.0.1/svg/1f1ec-1f1e7.svg https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/13.0.1/svg/1f1fa-1f1f8.svg https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/13.0.1/svg/1f1e9-1f1ea.svg https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/13.0.1/svg/1f1eb-1f1f7.svg to meet in Paris
France hosts European-US talks on saving Iran nuclear deal
Time is in short supply … Macron tells Al Arabya the regional allies of colonial Europe should be partner in any new deal with Iran … must comprise ballistic missile development and Iran’s terror activities.
In preparation Angela Merkel tells reporters Europe and the US are United and speak with one voice …
Take your pick, the voice of a bully of past four years when the US shredded the JCPOA deal … hopeless leadership
Israel and the United States are its own worst enemy … not its people, but its leaders and policy.
Iraq-Iran War 1980-1988
Iraq invasion 2003-present
Libya intervention 2011-present
Spillover into Sahel
Syria intervention 2011-present
Yemen bombings and hostilities
Neither Trump nor Clinton have seriously addressed U.S. policy for any of these five wars, and the Obama Administration has not publically stated its grand strategy for any conflict. For the first time in its national history, the United States may get through a Presidential campaign amidst multiple wars without seriously debating or discussing where any of its wars are going, or what their longer-term impact will be. [Source: CSIS]
Total deaths overall: 3 million
The Biden Administration needs to set a firm tone in it’s diplomatic relations with America’s enemies, and Iran is as good a place to start as any.
At best, President Biden needs to condition a return to the JCPOA agreement on Iran reducing her missile arsenal and reduce the exporting of missiles to her numerous Arab proxies.
At the very least, Iran needs to end her egregious human rights violations; freeing political prisoners, stopping terror bombings of anti-regime Iranians living abroad, and ending her repression of minorities and homosexuals living in terror in Iran.
“The Biden Administration needs to set a firm tone in it’s diplomatic relations with America’s enemies, and Iran is as good a place to start as any.”
America’s greatest enemy, as Eisenhower pointed out in his exit speech, remains its own military/indu$trial complex.
As for “At the very least, Iran needs to end her egregious human rights violations; freeing political prisoners, stopping terror bombings of anti-regime Iranians living abroad, and ending her repression of minorities and homosexuals living in terror in Iran.”, I’d suggest America solve its own egregious human rights violations etc., and those of it’s installed and maintained clients, not least the nuclear armed Israel motivating any necessity for counter-strike defensive measures in the region.
A ‘firm tone’ would be fine, but the home front might be an even better ‘place to start’ if Biden wants to restore it’s shredded respect among it’s dwindling allies.
@ Sepp: Iran is not an “enemy” of the US. It is an enemy of Israel, who you are clearly shilling for.
Nor do I think your opinion on what Biden “needs” to do will have any weight in US deliberations or here in this thread.
But when Israel stops its egregious human rights violations, frees political-“security” prisoners, stops bombings and assassinations in Iran, Syria, Tunisia, Bulgaria, Singapore and elsewhere, and ends its oppression of Palestinians and gays living in terror in Israel, then you can talk. Till then, nope.
Of course America and Iran are enemies. Why have Iranians been chanting, ‘Death to America’ for forty years?
And have you forgotten that one year ago, America assassinated Iran’s false idol, General Soleimani?
Your attempts at moral equivalence between Israel and Iran are risible, if not juvenile, and I will not dignify them with a response.
@ Sepp: Actually, the Ayatollahs and their followers are chanting “Death to America.” Not the majority of Americans. And even if it were, why would they be doing so? Because we bolstered the Shah; because we shot down an Iranian civilian airliner; because we gave Saddam weapons to defeat Iran during its war with Iraq.
As for assassinating Soleimani, Trump did that. Most Americans want nothing to do with such disgusting behavior. Don’t blame Americans as a whole for Trump’s disastrous mistakes.
And when the United States sits down to negotiate with Iran, it should demand that Iran explain why the IAEA found uranium traces at two sites Iran barred it from.
Why, Richard, why?
I’ll take that one.
Why is Dimona uninspected and expanding??
Why was Mordechai Vanunu disappeared and sentenced for blowing the whistle on Dimona?
Why was the US happy to see Iran nuclearised under the Shah and his Savak, but not now?
Why is the US nodding nuke capability for Saudi’s MBS, silent on India, Pakistan and Israel but traumatised by Iran?
Might oil figure, and might Israel’s ambitions for regional King Kong position figure?
Might Iran’s defence of the Palestinan people under Israel’s jackboot be a factor?
Uranium traces? I’d say your fingernails would trigger a geiger crackle, Sepp.
Credit your readers with a ‘trace’ of intelligence and up your hasbara quality a notch. You’re letting down your handlers.
Not a great career move.
@ Sepp: I think Iran has as much right to a nuclear weapon as Israel. So asking me to explain traces of uranium on Iranian soil is a losing proposition.
A country whose national mantra is ‘Death to America. Death to Israel’, has no right to a nuclear weapon.
If I’m a shill for Israel, than you’re a shill for Iran.
@ Sepp: Iran has no more national slogans than Israel or the US does. Your Iranophobia is showing.
But Iranians who do shout such denunciation have plenty of reason to do so. Israel has murdered its scientists, threatened it with nuclear destruction, and proven itself to be a Sworn enemy.
As for being a shill: yes, you certainly are. I am not a shill for anyone, including Iran. I regularly make clear my criticisms of Iran regarding its policies to which I object. When have you criticized anything Israel does? Don’t bother answering. We already know the answer.
You have regularly appeared on Iran’s Press TV and used that forum to always criticize Israel and never to criticize the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Not a word.
Which makes you what exactly?
@ Sepp: When you do your interviews for Kan do you criticize Israel? Of course, you don’t do any interviews because no one cares about your views & Kan has far more persuasive hasbarists to feature. But IF you did have a media perch you & I both know you wouldn’t criticize Israel. ‘
Further, you conveniently neglected other online venues where I am far more active than on PressTV. On my social media platforms I have criticized Iran whenever I found it warranted.
BTW, can you point to any times that Kan has featured Iranians or Iranian-Israelis criticizing Israeli policy toward Iran? So before you criticize PressTV for not featuring criticism of Iran, I’d like to see evidence of Israeli state media featuring criticism of its policies toward Iran by Iranians or Iranian-Israelis.
I’m still waiting for you to offer any criticism you’ve ever offered of Israel. How long must I wait?
You are done in this thread.
I criticize Israel every day. Ask my wife.
And BTW, I don’t criticize Iran or Press TV, I criticize Richard Silverstein.
@ Sepp: Not talking about your wife. I’m talking about a public statement you have made criticizing Israel. And you certainly have criticized Iran here, and Palestinians, and Arabs, and Muslims. Did I leave anyone out?
Supreme leader Khamenei and Parliament do not agree with 3 month deal between IAEA and Rouhani.
Iran had stopped sharing video footage of sites.