Boston Globe political writer Jeff Jacoby drew attention to the strong opposition the nuclear deal faced in the US Congress when former President Barack Obama signed it in 2015.
The first nuclear deal was a disaster, and the second deal is shaping up to be another disaster
Obama did not submit the agreement to the Senate for ratification as an international treaty. If he had, the council would have rejected him. Most senators, including Democrat Chuck Schumer, who is now the Democratic majority leader, opposed the deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The American public also expressed their discontent with him. A Pew poll found that only 20% of respondents supported the deal or trusted Iran to abide by its terms.
Almost from the beginning, Iran has violated many of the restrictions imposed by the agreement and/or related Security Council resolutions. It withheld information from international inspectors, tested a ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads, and declared that it would accept no restrictions on the development of its missile program. Obama described the deal as encouraging Iran to “get along with the world,” but that didn’t even come close. Iran intervened in the Syrian civil war, armed the Houthis in Yemen, seized two US Navy ships, humiliated their crews, repeated its call to eliminate Israel, and continued to support terrorist groups.
Despite this record, Joe Biden ran for president on the promise of reviving the Obama nuclear deal that the United States withdrew from under former President Donald Trump. For months, the Biden administration had been negotiating in Vienna to sign an Iran deal, and reports in recent weeks suggested a return to the deal was imminent. But she is no more.
Biden refuses to give in to Russia
The American Wall Street Journal recently revealed that Russia, which was a key player in the Vienna talks, stipulated the establishment of a legal loophole in the economic sanctions imposed on it for its illegal invasion of Ukraine, in order to continue supporting the new agreement. Russia is demanding a written guarantee that its trade with Iran will be sanction-free if the nuclear deal is revived. But this will undermine the international financial pressure placed on Russia, thus enhancing its ability to destroy Ukraine, according to Jacoby. This is a concession that the Biden administration refuses to make even to reach an agreement. Meanwhile, Iran issued a recent reminder that it is committed to spreading terror and violence in the Middle East.
attack on america
On the 13th of this month, Iran launched a barrage of missiles across its borders into northern Iraq, targeting the vicinity of the US consulate compound in Erbil. This was a deliberate act of rebellion, a violation of Iraqi sovereignty, and an attack on the United States. Seth Frantzman pointed out in the Jerusalem Post that the consulate was not in the center of the city, which means that the consulate should have been attacked exactly. “This is an Iranian attack against the United States in Iraq,” Frantzman wrote. Iran was quick to claim responsibility for the attack, with the Revolutionary Guards, which is on the Foreign Ministry’s list of terror organizations, saying the attack was a message to Israel.
All these events occurred while the participants in the Vienna negotiations warned that the new agreement that was being prepared would amount to a capitulation on the part of the United States. According to former State Department official Gabriel Noronha, the Biden administration agreed to “lift sanctions on some of the regime’s worst terrorists and torturers,” including the Revolutionary Guards commander during the 1983 Beirut Marine bombing. Unable to do Turning a blind eye to these concessions, he chose three members of the US team negotiating the withdrawal, Noronha wrote on Twitter.
opposition to growth
Jacobi added that the response on Capitol Hill to these developments was a rising tide of opposition to a new deal with Iran. On March 10, lawmakers from both parties wrote a letter to the White House that included a long list of concerns and questions about the proposed new deal. The conclusion was polite but categorical: “It’s hard to imagine support for a deal when it’s being discussed publicly.”
From one disaster to another
If Russia’s blackmail attempt was not enough to end the deal, then Iran’s missile attack had to pay for it. If these two events fail, the rising tide of opposition in Congress should. The first nuclear deal was a disaster, and the second deal is shaping up to be another disaster. Jacobi concludes: The nuclear deal has been dead since 2018. The best thing for the world is that it stays that way.