Iran has wasted no time in assessing that Joe Biden is no Donald Trump, immediately playing hardball.
Biden has been very forthright in his desire to revive Obama’s 2015 nuclear deal with Iran but Iran never honored the poorly constructed accord in the first place. Under the deal, Iran agreed to curbs on its uranium enrichment program in return for the lifting of sanctions but Iran never honored the deal.
Trump understood Iran was not holding up to their end of the agreement and put an end to it in 2018, reinstituting sanctions.
Banking on Biden’s globalist theology and understanding he is weak, Iran said Monday it will block snap inspections by the U.N. nuclear watchdog next week if other parties to the 2015 nuclear deal do not uphold their obligations, a direct challenge to Biden.
“If others do not fulfill their obligations by Feb. 21, the government is obliged to suspend the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said.
“It does not mean ending all inspections by the U.N. nuclear watchdog…All these steps are reversible if the other party changes its path and honors its obligations,” he said, alluding to the United States.
Iran’s envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency wrote on Twitter on Monday that Tehran has informed U.N. watchdog about its plan next week to end sweeping inspection powers given to the agency under the nuclear pact.
Under legislation enacted by hardline Iranian lawmakers last year, the government is obliged on Feb. 21 to limit IAEA inspections to declared nuclear sites only, revoking its short-notice access to any location seen as relevant for information-gathering, if other parties did not fully comply with the deal.
Washington and Tehran are now in a battle to gain the upperhand in negotiating a return to the failed deal, with both sides demanding the other side act first to return to compliance.
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Despite Iran’s public hard line that Washington must take the first step, however, several Iranian officials told Reuters last week that the mounting economic pain of U.S. sanctions may push Tehran to show flexibility on terms for restoring the nuclear deal.
It is a clear indication that Trump’s sanctions were, in fact, working. Trump understood it is far better to act from a position of strength with countries that cannot be trusted. Biden, however, seems to think playing nice will work out well.
Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said last week Doha was in consultations to help salvage the deal, and Iranian state media said he would meet Iran’s president and foreign minister in Tehran on Monday.
“We welcome efforts by friendly countries like Qatar … There have been consultations between Tehran and Doha at various levels,” Khatibzadeh said.
Iran has long denied striving to develop nuclear weapons through uranium enrichment, though its intelligence minister said last week persistent Western pressure could push Tehran to fight back like a “cornered cat” and seek nuclear weapons.
But Khatibzadeh rejected this, citing a religious decree issued in the early 2000s by the Islamic Republic’s top authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, banning the pursuit of nuclear arms.
It is clear that the “religious decree” is a farce.
Iran is a sworn enemy of the United States and Israel. Israel has always opposed the Iran nuclear deal and taken steps to protect itself. It would appear Biden has no interest in working with Israel on this or any other issue happening in the Middle East, given he has yet to make a call to Prime Minister Netenyahu.
It is stunning how quickly Biden is running from relative peace in the Middle East to complete chaos.
Reuters contributed to this report.
ARTICLE SOURCE: thefederalistpapers.org