Is Biden about to capitulate to Iran -- based on a deal engineered by Putin?

Is Biden about to capitulate to Iran -- based on a deal engineered by Putin?
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

“What’s happening in Vienna is a total disaster,” reports one of Gabriel Noronha’s colleagues from the talks between Iran, Russia, and Joe Biden envoy Robert Malley. The former State Department official — fired by Donald Trump from the Iran desk at Foggy Bottom for calling the former president “unfit for office” after the January 6 Capitol riot — hears from his former career colleagues at State that Malley and Biden have allowed Russia to push the US into a full capitulation to Iran over its nuclear ambitions. It’s so bad, in fact, that Noronha’s colleagues want him to leak the current positions in an attempt to get Congress to intervene:

According to Noronha, the agreement would lift sanctions on a number of grotesque bad actors in Iran, starting with Mohsen Rezaei, who took part in the infamous 1994 terror attack on Jews in Argentina, as well as Ali Akbar Velayati, who now advises Ali Khamenei but helped plan the AMIA bombing in 1994. It would also remove sanctions from IRGC general Hossein Dehghan, who led forces in Lebanon at the same time Hezbollah bombed the US Marine Corps barracks, killing 241 of them in 1983. The agreement would also have the effect of removing sanctions on Khamenei’s funds, collected through the pillaging of dissidents and which runs into the billions of dollars.

What does any of this have to do with Iran’s nuclear program? Nothing at all, Noronha explains, even to the extent that Iran claims it to be a peaceful energy production effort. Perhaps closer to the real purpose of Iran’s nuclear development, the US will also lift sanctions against actual terrorist forces, responsible for hundreds of American KIAs in Iraq:

What would we get for all of these unrelated concessions? Nothing at all, Noronha’s sources insist:

The biggest question at the moment is why we’re still engaging Russia on Iran at all. With Vladimir Putin invading Ukraine and Western sanctions all but impoverishing him and his oligarchy — not to mention a restive populace — Putin has every motivation to put the US in as bad a position as possible with Iran. Furthermore, Putin needs fronts for trade, and getting sanctions lifted off Iran will no doubt make him popular enough with the mullahs for them to risk sanctions again to provide Putin that relief valve.

Russian dissident Garry Kasparov blasted the US for its continued engagement with Putin as an appeasement path for the Iranians. The US must “leave every table with Russia” until they withdraw from Ukraine, perhaps especially with Iran:

Garry Kasparov, the former world chess champion and expert on Russian President Vladimir Putin, on Tuesday urged the US and other world powers to walk away from the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna to protest Russia’s war against Ukraine. …

To the astonishment of many critics of Putin and Iran’s regime, the US government announced that it will continue to negotiate alongside Russia in Vienna to curb Tehran’s drive to become a nuclear power in exchange for economic sanctions relief.

Russian and the Islamic Republic of Iran are allied with the regime in Syria where President Bashar Assad’s war against a revolt has caused the deaths of over 500,000 people.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi greenlighted Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. The removal of sanctions on Iran’s regime is a goal of Putin because it permits him to sell weapons to the theological regime in Tehran.

It doesn’t take a chess master to see the problem with allowing Russia to shape our policy toward Iran, especially after the last week. Rather than pursue the meaningless reinstatement of the impotent JCPOA, the US should boot Russia from the table and make clear that Iran will face escalating sanctions along with Putin unless and until they put an end to their nuclear development and their long-range missile programs. If they want to continue talking, the mullahs can find another intermediary from Europe to assist … one that isn’t making war on the continent at the same time.

It’s unbelievable that Biden has continued to outsource American security vis-a-vis Iran to Putin. It’s time for Congress to demand that Biden recall his appeasement squad tout suite.

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