Biden’s desire to resurrect the Iran nuclear deal defies logic
Special to Stars and Stripes April 7, 2022
President Joe Biden is determined to expand on the 2015 wrongs committed when President Barack Obama approved the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the nuclear weapons deal with Iran. Iran never had any intentions of honoring the JCPOA restrictions and played a shell game while continuing research and development. This is exactly why the Trump administration withdrew from JCPOA and imposed severe sanctions on Iran.
Obama’s lead negotiator was Wendy Sherman, whose big claim to fame at that time was having worked on nuclear weapons negotiations with North Korea. That stunning success resulted in the Kim dynasty becoming a nuclear weapons power. Now Sherman is deputy secretary of state with a personal interest in resurrecting JCPOA’s massive failure.
Biden is already set on repeating Obama’s ignoring of Article II of the U.S. Constitution, which states the president “shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur.” Obama claimed that because JCPOA was an agreement and not a treaty, Senate approval was not required. A treaty by any other name is still a treaty.
Expanding upon previous wrongs, American negotiators in Vienna are not meeting directly with their Iranian counterparts. While publicly stating Russian President Vladimir Putin is a “war criminal” and “cannot remain in power,” Biden accepts Russia serving as intermediary negotiator with Iran.
Has Biden forgotten that Russia came to Iran’s rescue in keeping the brutal Assad government in power in Syria, and Iran provided Russia a ground route to deliver weapons to Armenia during that country’s unsuccessful war with Azerbaijan? Moscow and Tehran are going to work together to make the most of Biden’s determination to tell the world that Iran’s nuclear program is once again focused on peaceful research.
In that very intent, Biden ignores the warning of David Berman, former chairman of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission: “By developing atomic energy peaceful uses, you reach the nuclear weapon option. There are not two atomic energies.” Recognizing Iran’s nuclear research program is ultimately under the control of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, there can be no doubt the goal is to develop atomic weapons.
In a bizarre twist, Biden is seriously considering acceptance of Iran’s negotiation demand to remove the IRGC from the U.S. Foreign Terrorist Organization list. In accordance with standards established by Congress, to be designated as an FTO, three criteria must exist: (1) a foreign organization, (2) engaged in or retaining the capability and intent to engage in terrorism, and (3) which threatens the security of U.S. nationals or the national defense, foreign relations, or the economic interests of the United States.
The IRGC has been continually involved in deadly terrorist attacks against the U.S. and its citizens for decades. These include, but are far from limited to, the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, killing 241, and the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia, killing 19 American service members. In 2011, the FBI prevented the IRGC from bombing a Washington, D.C., restaurant while it was hosting the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S. The Trump administration was correct in placing the IRGC on the FTO list, which should have been done by Ronald Reagan and every president since.
While serving as the senior antiterrorism officer for all coalition forces in Iraq, I knew of the explosive devices, weapons systems, and armored vehicle vulnerability assessment reports that the IRGC was providing to the Badr Corps, Mahdi Army, and other anti-American militias. An informant inside al-Qaida described to me the high-tech road bombs his organization was receiving from the IRGC. Manufactured in Iran and distributed to our adversaries in Iraq, there was nothing “improvised” about these explosive devices.
Not until April 2019 did the Department of Defense release formerly classified information that directly attributed 603 American service member deaths in Iraq to the IRGC. Now, over the graves of our warriors, Biden is considering wiping clean the slate of their murderers.
Since the 2019 FTO designation, the IRGC has stepped up terrorist operations. Embedded in the IRGC is the Quds Force (translated Jerusalem Force). Its former commander, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, met his fatal end upon returning to Baghdad to plot more attacks on American forces. His successor, Esmail Qaani, has openly threatened to assassinate U.S. officials, including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former national security adviser John Bolton.
Soleimani would likely be president of Iran today had he not been eliminated by an American drone strike. Iran’s presidency is instead held by Ebrahim Raisi, the hanging judge who sent thousands of Iranian dissidents to their executions.
From Obama’s JCPOA, $140 billion in Iran’s assets were unfrozen. Biden’s deal will end current sanctions that are crippling the Iranian government. Whenever the Iranian regime is struggling to survive, an American president comes to its rescue.
How can Biden be determined to make so many mistakes in resurrecting a bad deal that defies all logic? This defiance of logic is going to result in the number one nation-state exporter of terrorism to be armed with nuclear weapons.
Wes Martin, a retired U.S. Army colonel, served as the senior antiterrorism officer for all coalition forces in Iraq. He currently serves on the Board of Advisors of the U.S. Foundation for Liberty and Human Rights.