The Biden team will meet in Vienna on Tuesday for ‘indirect talks’ with Iran
The cargo ship blocking the Suez Canal has been halted, but Team Biden’s Middle East policy is still running down, going nowhere. In a best case scenario, we can look forward to months of fruitless negotiations with Iran that eventually produce… nothing.
Biden announced for the presidency that he would resume the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). It is now clear that he had no plans how to do it.
Instead, we had more than two months of “shuttle diplomacy”, which was a game of diplomatic blindfolding. Now, we are told, there has been a breakthrough: the Biden team will meet in Vienna on Tuesday for “indirect talks” with Iran.
Fred Feltz: IRIN applied for the surveyor of the fraternity in the program at Nuclear Weapons.
Why this progress is not here.
While both Washington and Tehran have expressed a desire to revive US involvement in the settlement, they are far from over. Biden officials have called for a follow-up agreement to “lengthen and strengthen” the flawed JCPOA. Iran has shown zero interest in that proposal.
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In addition, Tehran wants all US sanctions removed to come back into compliance with the agreement. Tehran says that the US does not need any dialogue to rejoin. Washington should remove the sanctions, after which Iran will stop violating the agreement.
But if the US agrees to those terms, it will be a total capitalization and a shameful loss of face.
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This leaves the administration little negotiating room. Tehran has already declined its offer as a “sweetener” for partial relief of sanctions. Nor will the relief be partially popular in the United States. Giving something for nothing will reduce Washington’s bargaining benefits and only the suspicion – domestic as well as foreign – that Biden is weak.
Finally, “indirect negotiation” means bringing other countries into the negotiation process. This only weakens Washington’s hand as those other parties – Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany – are all in favor of a quick reform at the JCPOA, with no corrective changes.
The same is likely to happen here.
After months of negotiations, the Biden team will likely find exactly where it is now: facing only Hobson’s choice in Tehran or sticking to the current course of approving Iran for nonconformity.
Why waste time trying to end the murderous, corrupt authoritarian regime in Tehran?
Either way, Iran will remain a nuclear power, because in the end, all the deals made by Iran were overturning prior sanctions on Iran, but not Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. It is a reality that the Biden team cannot fix.
While Biden’s diplomats burn miles flying far and wide, back and forth with Widen on the promise of doing the most disastrous exercise in toothless diplomacy since the 1938 Munich Agreement, the administration could waste months of time. Coalition against Iran, ending the regime’s surrogate, and changing the balance of power against Tehran.
Instead, Washington’s friends and allies in the Middle East will turn to the hot desert winds wondering how Washington will fail. Some people can compensate by moving towards China and Russia, whose influence will certainly not make the region more stable.
Team Biden would only be smart to make the cut for Iran’s failed deal before it would further damage American interests and peace and stability in the region. Why waste time trying to topple a murderous, corrupt authoritarian regime in Tehran? After all, there is so much that America can and should do in the region.
Washington could double efforts on Israeli-Arab cooperation. It should also intensify efforts to support a stable Jordan, a recent coup attempt.
Meanwhile, the US should step up pressure to isolate and punish Iran. Even sanctions relief should not be discussed until Iran has stopped pseudo-attacks against US troops in Iraq and rejected its widespread increase.
Finally, the US should insist on doing nothing less than direct talks with Iran, only for the purpose of clarifying a genuine deal that defames Iran.
Click here to read more from JAMES JAY CARAFANO