Negotiations are underway in Vienna as the UN Security Council’s five permanent members plus Germany (the P5+1) try to resuscitate the nuclear deal with Iran. Therefore, the American people may arrive at the false belief that Iran is a rational actor. That lifting sanctions could coax the regime into compliance. And that diplomacy’s power and the lifting of sanctions will convince Iran to fundamentally change its behavior and cease to be a threat.
The U.S. Should Tread Carefully When it Comes to Negotiations With Iran
But the recent cyber attack on the Natanz nuclear site, Iran’s main uranium enrichment facility, demonstrates that Israel still considers the Islamic regime to be an existential threat. Though Israel has not officially confirmed or denied reports of its involvement, there is little doubt that the Mossad was responsible.
The attack does not appear to have set back the Vienna talks. Nevertheless, it is notable that the conflict between Israel and Iran seems to have escalated in recent weeks. Shifting dynamics in the Middle East, with Israel deepening ties with Iran’s adversaries, also suggests that further and escalated confrontation with Iran may be imminent. Israel and the Gulf nations would be the first victims of a major strike carried out by an emboldened Iran, and they do not support the nuclear deal.
The explosion at Natanz seriously damaged the nuclear facility. Media reports indicate that this will likely set Iranian nuclear ambitions back by months. Yet, less than two weeks later, Iran claimed to have reconnected the power supply and repaired the damaged centrifuges. Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed that Iran is enriching uranium to 60 percent purity. This is a significant increase from the 20 percent that Iran had previously achieved.
Claims That Iran’s Nuclear Program Is “Peaceful” Are Ridiculous
This level of uranium enrichment should put any lingering questions about Iran’s nuclear intentions to rest.
Specifically, the original nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, permitted Iran to keep only 660 pounds of uranium. These would be enriched to just 3.67 percent. At that low level, Iran would be able to provide civilian nuclear power.
Even now, Iran ridiculously claims that producing nuclear power for civilian use is the purpose of its nuclear program. Yet, nobody should be fooled by Iranian posturing or falsehoods about “peaceful” atomic pursuits. After all, Iran is an oil- and gas-rich nation with no pressing need for nuclear energy.
This large increase in uranium enrichment brings the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism significantly closer to the levels needed to construct a bomb. And yet Iran has claimed that the 60 percent enrichment is fully reversible, provided the United States drop economic sanctions aimed at slowing it down.
America Should Not Allow Itself to Be Blackmailed
It is wise to avoid committing to a nuclear deal similar to the previous one, which proved woefully insufficient and was filled with loopholes. President Biden and his team should not ignore the repeated lies of Iran. After all, it is a despotic country run by unelected radical Islamist mullahs.
Thinking that simply opening lines of communication with Iran and appeasing its leadership will turn it from a nefarious actor into a good one is a strategy that will fail dramatically.
The Iranian regime continues to expand its insidious reach throughout the region and the world. With Iranian ayatollahs spewing hatred toward America and Iranian-funded militias responsible for murdering innocent civilians across the globe, the United States should stand firm against allowing Iran to develop nuclear capabilities.
Is an International Community Devoted to Deterrence Enough?
The Biden administration has cleverly proceeded with the Trump administration’s plans to sell F-35s to the United Arab Emirates. In a recent House Armed Services Committee Hearing, Commander of CENTCOM Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie used this as an example of the U.S. strategy. “One of the key aspects to deterring Iran is an international community that is devoted to deterrence,” the general said.
Iran has demonstrated its willingness to blithely ignore global restrictions aimed at impeding its ability to assemble an atomic arsenal. Rejoining the Obama administration’s flawed nuclear deal would release many of the restrictions that actually hampered the republic’s nuclear program.
Iran requires that sanctions be lifted as a precondition to renegotiating the deal. But lifting sanctions on Iran opens the door for other nations to provide the funds Iran desperately needs to advance its program. Among them is China, which signed a pact with Iran at the end of March for an astonishing $400 billion.
If sanctions are lifted, the funds available to Iran will instantly put it closer to creating a viable nuclear weapon capable of being delivered by intercontinental ballistic missiles.
It remains unclear what the reported progress in the Vienna negotiations means. Yet, one thing is clear: Before rejoining the JCPOA, America must address the many shortcomings of the original deal. Furthermore, it must coordinate with regional allies to present a united front against an Iranian threat that is more potent than ever.
This article was written by Evan Nierman. Evan is the Founder and CEO of the international communications firm Red Banyan.