With every concession given to Iran, the US and EU empower and embolden a rapacious regime.
By Majid Rafizadeh, Gatestone Institute
The ruling mullahs of Iran are maneuvering towards obtaining major concessions from the Biden administrations and the EU3 (France, Germany and the United Kingdom) during the upcoming nuclear talks in Vienna on November 29.
The Iranian regime wants the Biden administration to remove all sanctions that were imposed on Tehran during the Trump administration — many of which are not even linked to Iran’s nuclear program. Instead, they are related to the Iranian regime’s terrorist activities and human rights violations.
An important example is the serious designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) — a paramilitary force established in 1979 to promote the revolution — as a terrorist organization. The IRGC is responsible for maintaining the Supreme Leader’s power and the regime’s revolutionary ideals, which include anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism. Inside Iran, the IRGC cracks down on and silences opposition to regime’s rule; engages in the repression of dissidents and suppression of the freedoms of speech, press and assembly, and it imprisons, tortures and executes opponents through its revolutionary courts. The IRGC’s footprints can also be seen in many international conflicts, including in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon, especially through its elite branch, the Quds Force.
The Biden administration has already caved in to the mullahs’ demands. It announced not only that it is willing to lift nuclear-related sanctions, but also that it is considering lifting non-nuclear related sanctions. The administration also proceeded to revoke the designation of the Houthis, an Iran-backed terror group, as an officially-designated terrorist organization.
Republican foreign policy leaders in Congress have requested from Secretary of State Antony Blinken answers to questions about the secret talks held with South Korea that resulted in South Korea giving the Iranian regime $1 billion in ransom money. The letter was led by Congressman Bryan Steil (R-WI), Congressman Greg Steube (R-FL) and Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Banks (R-IN). Steil pointed out:
“The Biden administration appears to be using loopholes when dealing with the Iranian regime. I am again asking direct, yes or no questions on the United States’ involvement in facilitating a South Korean ransom payment to Iran. If the Biden administration is involved in transferring funds to Iran, Congress and the American people must be informed. Biden administration officials continue to deflect and refuse to answer questions from members of Congress regarding this issue. I want answers. Congress must be informed of the administration’s actions.”
Meanwhile, the Iranian regime is being empowered, and has ruled out discussion about its ballistic missile program, a core pillar of its nuclear program, in the upcoming talks in Vienna. It is ironic that the ruling mullahs want the talks lead to the lifting of non-nuclear sanctions in addition to the nuclear sanctions, but do not wish to discuss anything apart from their nuclear program, such as their terrorist activities.
Since the Biden administration assumed office, the Iranian regime has been preparing to obtain major concessions. The mullahs have made significant advances in their nuclear program ahead of the talks in order to gain leverage and the upper hand during negotiations with the US and the EU3.
When the Biden administration came to power, the Iranian regime began advancing its nuclear program at a noticeably faster pace. On January 9, the Iranian parliament passed a law requiring the government to expel nuclear inspectors from International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In January 2021, the Iranian regime started increasing uranium enrichment to 20%. In April, the regime raised its uranium enrichment level to 60%, edging closer to weapons-grade levels.
“The young and God-believing Iranian scientists managed to achieve a 60% enriched uranium product,” Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, speaker of Iran’s parliament, bragged. “I congratulate the brave nation of Islamic Iran on this success. The Iranian nation’s willpower is miraculous and can defuse any conspiracy.”
The Biden administration, in addition, has made no effort to pressure the Iranian regime into answering the IAEA’s questions about three undeclared clandestine nuclear sites found in Iran.
“Iran must decide to cooperate in a clearer manner with the agency to give the necessary clarifications,” warned IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi.
“The fact that we found traces (of uranium) is very important. That means there is the possibility of nuclear activities and material that are not under international supervision and about which we know not the origin or the intent. That worries me.”
The Biden administration and the EU would do well to remember that with every concession they give the Islamic Republic, they are not furthering peace in the region; they are instead empowering and emboldening a rapacious regime.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East.