Iran’s Nuclear Negotiators Make the U.S. Sit at the Kiddie Table

YouSayPotato

True Freshman
Jun 4, 2021
871
677
93

The Islamic Republic relishes humiliating Americans while granting no concessions.​

By Reuel Marc Gerecht and Ray Takeyh
Nov. 28, 2021 5:23 pm ET

im-442201

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi addresses the parliament in Tehran, Nov. 16.​

PHOTO: VAHID SALEMI/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Arms-control talks between Iran and the great powers resume Monday with a notable absence. At Tehran’s insistence, the U.S. delegation won’t have a seat at the table—its members must wait in an antechamber to be briefed by the Europeans. The mullahs have always relished humiliating Americans, particularly those eager to prove their benevolent intentions. These negotiations will yield little, no matter how much money Washington releases or how ardently Biden administration officials describe any follow-on talks as important steps toward a diplomatic solution.
The clerical regime’s atomic ambitions will continue to progress rapidly because the U.S. administration has no intention of trying to rescind what President Obama’s nuclear deal granted: the development of high-yield, easily hidden centrifuges, the key to an unstoppable bomb program. The Islamic Republic has displayed an uncanny ability to advance its aspirations and eviscerate American red lines with impunity.

The theocracy’s nuclear diplomacy succeeds precisely because it seeks no agreement. The mullahs understand things their interlocutors don’t. The U.S. and Israel have repeatedly chosen not to disable Iran’s nuclear program by force, undermining the regime’s fear of attack and allowing the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, more maneuvering room. All U.S. administrations have sincerely, at times desperately, wanted an accord. The United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency censure the Islamic Republic, and the regime ignores them. If Tehran pretends to be interested in diplomacy, Washington, always fearful of another war in the Middle East, makes more concessions.
The achievements of this diplomatic stratagem are extraordinary. Washington and the Europeans once insisted that the Islamic Republic couldn’t have a domestic enrichment capacity. This was a sensible precaution. The infrastructure required to enrich uranium for nuclear power is the same as what is needed to make a bomb. The process is costly, and most nations that use civilian nuclear power import refined uranium.



Yet today U.S. and European officials, and many nuclear experts, pooh-pooh the idea that Iran should forgo indigenous enrichment. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the nuclear deal Mr. Obama struck and President Trump abandoned, has become canonical among Democrats. It specifies not only that Iran has the right to enrich but that its enrichment capability can become industrialized. The clerical regime obtained this permissive accord by merely showing up at various conclaves and holding firm. American officials fulminated, threatened, bickered among themselves and eventually capitulated.

The Biden administration isn’t diverging from Mr. Obama’s path. A well-timed Israeli leak shows the White House is considering an interim arrangement whereby Iran would cease some of its activities in exchange for sanctions relief. It won’t be long before Washington deludes itself into believing that a threshold capability will satisfy Iran, that it can be an Islamist version of Japan—inches away from developing a bomb but with no intention to take the next step.

The ascendance of the hard-line Ibrahim Raisi to the presidency altered the economics of arms control. He subscribes to Mr. Khamenei’s “economy of resistance,” the notion that Iran can meet its needs by relying on its internal market and trade with China and neighboring states. In this view, segregation from the global economy is virtuous, wise and courageous. Unlike former President Hassan Rouhani, the new crew isn’t looking for Western commerce as a means of rejuvenating the economy and the revolution. There appears to be little concern among Mr. Khamenei’s ruling elite that this scheme will lead to poverty and another lost generation.

Even more than Mr. Raisi, Mr. Trump accelerated history. According to Mr. Obama’s blueprint, we were going to see a nuclear Iran and a much richer clerical regime. Freed from sanctions, the ruling clergy and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards would have had time to build up their armed forces, as well as the nuclear-weapons program. Thinking that renewed and improved sanctions would give him a “good” nuclear deal (always a dubious proposition), Mr. Trump collapsed 15 years of Western diplomacy and the JCPOA’s envisioned decade of sun-setting restrictions into clear and irrevocable choices.

Mr. Biden can’t turn back the clock. Diplomacy and extortion—the two are synonymous for the Islamic Republic—may have had their day. Mr. Khamenei is going to make the president pony up a huge amount of money for the fleeting relief of his nuclear anxiety—assuming the supreme leader still even wants to play such games with the U.S. For Mr. Biden, the only question is whether he wants to endure this humiliation in return for so little.
 

YouSayPotato

True Freshman
Jun 4, 2021
871
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Iran Has Biden’s Nuclear Number​

Tehran wants a ‘less for more’ deal that would
be weaker than Obama’s.​

By The Editorial Board
Nov. 28, 2021 5:13 pm ET

im-442220

The flag of Iran waves in front of the the International Center building with the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna in May.​

PHOTO: FLORIAN SCHROETTER/ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Iran nuclear talks resume on Monday in Austria, and pessimism seems to be the order of the day. Iran refuses to make concessions, while the U.S. is signaling that its patience may be limited. But don’t underestimate the Biden Administration’s desire for a deal—any deal.

For months the U.S. has been all but begging Iran to return to the table, though the U.S. won’t literally even be at the table in Vienna. Iran refuses to talk to the U.S. directly, so American negotiators must work through European intermediaries. The U.S. seems undeterred by this intentional humiliation.
Since Iran walked away from talks earlier this year, Tehran has elevated an even more hardline president and accelerated its enrichment of nuclear fuel. Iran has also continued to restrict international inspectors’ access to its nuclear sites. Rafael Mariano Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, reported last week that talks about verification have “proved inconclusive”—diplomatic-speak for they failed.

Uranium particles found at three locations that Iran hasn’t declared to the agency are cause for alarm. Mr. Grossi said this “is a clear indication that nuclear material and/or equipment contaminated by nuclear material has been present at these locations.” The U.S. and its European allies have declined to censure Iran for refusing to cooperate.


They’re hoping the talks will yield concessions, perhaps with the inducement of more U.S. sanctions relief. Iranian diplomats are demanding that any deal will remain in force beyond President Biden’s tenure. And they won’t commit to anything beyond a return to the 2015 deal struck by President Obama. That deal allowed Iran sufficient leeway to advance on the path to a weapon with limited inspections, which is why Donald Trump withdrew in 2018.

The latest reports are that the U.S. has floated the idea of an interim accord that would give more time to negotiate a larger deal. The interim accord would offer sanctions relief to Iran in return for some restraint on Iranian enrichment on nuclear fuel. This sounds like what Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies calls a “less for more” deal—that is, less restraint on Iran than in the 2015 deal in return for more sanctions relief.

The signs are that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and new President Ebrahim Raisi have no intention of slowing their march to the brink of a bomb. They may offer token concessions for sanctions relief, but they will continue to hide their nuclear development from inspectors. China is now openly buying Iranian oil in defiance of U.S. sanctions, and the U.S. doesn’t seem to care.

Tehran is also escalating support for terror attacks in the region. U.S. officials say Iran was responsible for a drone attack on a U.S. base in Syria last month, and Iraqi officials believe an Iran-backed militia was behind the attempt to kill Iraq’s prime minister this month.

All of which suggests that all of Team Biden’s entreaties have merely made Iran more determined to demand a deal that is even weaker than Mr. Obama’s. Such an agreement will reassure no one beyond the spreaders of revolution in Tehran.
 

SKYDOG

All-American
May 29, 2001
10,664
6,901
113

The Islamic Republic relishes humiliating Americans while granting no concessions.​

By Reuel Marc Gerecht and Ray Takeyh
Nov. 28, 2021 5:23 pm ET

im-442201

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi addresses the parliament in Tehran, Nov. 16.​

PHOTO: VAHID SALEMI/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Arms-control talks between Iran and the great powers resume Monday with a notable absence. At Tehran’s insistence, the U.S. delegation won’t have a seat at the table—its members must wait in an antechamber to be briefed by the Europeans. The mullahs have always relished humiliating Americans, particularly those eager to prove their benevolent intentions. These negotiations will yield little, no matter how much money Washington releases or how ardently Biden administration officials describe any follow-on talks as important steps toward a diplomatic solution.
The clerical regime’s atomic ambitions will continue to progress rapidly because the U.S. administration has no intention of trying to rescind what President Obama’s nuclear deal granted: the development of high-yield, easily hidden centrifuges, the key to an unstoppable bomb program. The Islamic Republic has displayed an uncanny ability to advance its aspirations and eviscerate American red lines with impunity.

The theocracy’s nuclear diplomacy succeeds precisely because it seeks no agreement. The mullahs understand things their interlocutors don’t. The U.S. and Israel have repeatedly chosen not to disable Iran’s nuclear program by force, undermining the regime’s fear of attack and allowing the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, more maneuvering room. All U.S. administrations have sincerely, at times desperately, wanted an accord. The United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency censure the Islamic Republic, and the regime ignores them. If Tehran pretends to be interested in diplomacy, Washington, always fearful of another war in the Middle East, makes more concessions.
The achievements of this diplomatic stratagem are extraordinary. Washington and the Europeans once insisted that the Islamic Republic couldn’t have a domestic enrichment capacity. This was a sensible precaution. The infrastructure required to enrich uranium for nuclear power is the same as what is needed to make a bomb. The process is costly, and most nations that use civilian nuclear power import refined uranium.



Yet today U.S. and European officials, and many nuclear experts, pooh-pooh the idea that Iran should forgo indigenous enrichment. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the nuclear deal Mr. Obama struck and President Trump abandoned, has become canonical among Democrats. It specifies not only that Iran has the right to enrich but that its enrichment capability can become industrialized. The clerical regime obtained this permissive accord by merely showing up at various conclaves and holding firm. American officials fulminated, threatened, bickered among themselves and eventually capitulated.

The Biden administration isn’t diverging from Mr. Obama’s path. A well-timed Israeli leak shows the White House is considering an interim arrangement whereby Iran would cease some of its activities in exchange for sanctions relief. It won’t be long before Washington deludes itself into believing that a threshold capability will satisfy Iran, that it can be an Islamist version of Japan—inches away from developing a bomb but with no intention to take the next step.

The ascendance of the hard-line Ibrahim Raisi to the presidency altered the economics of arms control. He subscribes to Mr. Khamenei’s “economy of resistance,” the notion that Iran can meet its needs by relying on its internal market and trade with China and neighboring states. In this view, segregation from the global economy is virtuous, wise and courageous. Unlike former President Hassan Rouhani, the new crew isn’t looking for Western commerce as a means of rejuvenating the economy and the revolution. There appears to be little concern among Mr. Khamenei’s ruling elite that this scheme will lead to poverty and another lost generation.

Even more than Mr. Raisi, Mr. Trump accelerated history. According to Mr. Obama’s blueprint, we were going to see a nuclear Iran and a much richer clerical regime. Freed from sanctions, the ruling clergy and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards would have had time to build up their armed forces, as well as the nuclear-weapons program. Thinking that renewed and improved sanctions would give him a “good” nuclear deal (always a dubious proposition), Mr. Trump collapsed 15 years of Western diplomacy and the JCPOA’s envisioned decade of sun-setting restrictions into clear and irrevocable choices.

Mr. Biden can’t turn back the clock. Diplomacy and extortion—the two are synonymous for the Islamic Republic—may have had their day. Mr. Khamenei is going to make the president pony up a huge amount of money for the fleeting relief of his nuclear anxiety—assuming the supreme leader still even wants to play such games with the U.S. For Mr. Biden, the only question is whether he wants to endure this humiliation in return for so little.

 
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