Lavrov: Biden administration gave us "written guarantees" that Iran deal will give us a sanctions pass

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Iran chants “Death to America” and spends years developing a secret nuclear-weapons program. Russia invades its neighbor while Vladimir Putin threatens nuclear war if anyone intervenes. The US and the West impose massive sanctions on both.

Now, however, the US and EU apparently think that the appropriate response to a Tehran-Moscow combine is to create a hole for sanctions avoidance. At least, that’s what Sergei Lavrov claims to have been guaranteed — in writing:

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that Moscow has received guarantees from the US on its ability to trade with Tehran as part of ongoing talks to salvage the Iran nuclear deal.

“We received written guarantees. They are included in the text of the agreement itself on the resumption of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian nuclear program,” Lavrov tells reporters during a press conference with his Iranian counterpart in Moscow.

We’re in the middle of an economic war against Putin, the effect of which is to push him to retreat out of Ukraine. Why would we give Russia any guarantees of being able to avoid our sanctions while Russians continue to pound Ukraine? It would be one thing to make such an offer for something that actually enhances our national security and that of our allies in the region. This deal does the exact opposite.

Don’t just ask us, though, Ask the Sunni nations who are stunned to see the US reorient once again to their Shi’ite enemies in Iran. They’re reacting by looking for a better ally, and perhaps to send one last signal to the Biden administration:

Saudi Arabia has invited Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit Riyadh as the kingdom looks to deepen ties with Beijing amid strained relations with Washington, people familiar with the plan said. …

The trip comes amid shifting geopolitics in the Middle East, as the U.S. looks to focus more attention and resources on Asia while China and Russia expand their influence in the region. Amid doubts about Washington’s staying power, especially after the rushed U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, many of its regional partners are seeking out new security and economic ties.

The war in Ukraine has further highlighted the changes under way to traditional alliances in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia has rebuffed U.S. requests to pump more oil to help tame surging crude prices and the United Arab Emirates ignored U.S. lobbying and abstained from a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the Russian invasion.

In other words, this isn’t just stupid — it’s insane, as Ben Shapiro notes:

That hardly sends a signal of strength; it looks far more like desperation. It’s as if the Biden administration can’t wait to capitulate just to get back into an Iran deal that was bad from the beginning, and is even worse now. In fact, it’s so bad — especially after Iran’s missile attacks near our consulate in Irbil — that even one House Democrat wanted Biden to put an end to negotiations:

We’re not just re-entering the JCPOA, we’re bribing the Russians to craft the deal to do so. Insane may not be a strong enough word.