Who benefits most from Joe Biden’s obsessive pursuit of a renewed JCPOA nuclear deal with Iran? Tehran’s mullahs, obviously, as well as the IRGC when Biden orders them removed from the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations. But coming in a close second will be Vladimir Putin and the Russian oligarchs that support him, as Adam Kredo outlines at the Washington Free Beacon this morning:
Several of Russia’s top state-controlled nuclear companies stand to gain billions of dollars in revenue as part of a new nuclear accord with Iran that will waive sanctions on these firms so that they can build up Tehran’s nuclear infrastructure, according to a U.S. government-authored document reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon.
Russia’s state-controlled Rosatom energy firm and at least four of its major subsidiaries will receive sanctions waivers under a new accord so that they can complete nuclear projects in Iran worth more than $10 billion, according to the 2019 document, which details all the Russian entities involved in these projects. …
With a new nuclear accord being finalized, the Biden administration has repeatedly guaranteed Russia that it will not face sanctions for its work on Iranian nuclear sites, even as Moscow faces a barrage of international penalties for its unprovoked war in Ukraine. Already, the Biden administration renewed a series of sanctions waivers to permit Russia’s nuclear work in Iran as part of a package of concessions meant to entice both countries into signing a new accord. These waivers were rescinded by the Trump administration in 2020 as part of its “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran.
The removal of nuclear sanctions on Iran will hand Russia’s Rosatom a financial lifeline, even as the United States and European nations seek to isolate Moscow for its ongoing assault in Ukraine. Republicans and Democrats are sounding the alarm on these concessions, criticizing the Biden administration for undermining its own pressure campaign on Moscow to ensure that a nuclear deal is inked. Critics of the deal have in recent days seized on the carveouts for Russia following a series of Free Beacon reports outlining how sanctions relief would turn Iran into a “sanctions evasion hub” for Russian president Vladimir Putin.
“Russian state-owned firms stand to gain billions of dollars under a revived Iran nuclear deal and would be exempted from U.S. sanctions,” said Andrea Stricker, a veteran nuclear proliferation expert who has closely tracked Iran’s program as a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank. “Washington should be working to close every one of the Kremlin’s revenue streams, not letting Moscow enrich itself while it is committing mass atrocities.”
This isn’t a new concern, and it might not even be the main concern about Russian involvement in the renewed JCPOA. Biden is allowing the Iranians to set up Russia as a guarantor of compliance with the terms of the new pact when Iran cheated endlessly on the original JCPOA as well as with the terms of a non-proliferation pact which it signed decades earlier. At the moment, Russia is violating almost every convention of warfare in Ukraine and arguably is committing a genocide aimed at wiping out Ukrainian national identity entirely. How in the world can the US rely on Russia to enforce compliance by Iran, especially in programs that will deliver massive economic benefits such as those outlined above?
Russia’s currently lying about its own compliance, of course. The latest example comes today from Putin’s negotiator in the Iran talks, Mikhail Ulyanov, who last was heard bragging about the great deal he squeezed out of Biden for Iran. Today Ulyanov is on Twitter, claiming that the Russians don’t have the Tochka-U missiles in their arsenal that hit the train station today at Kramatorsk:
The Russian MoD emphasises that Tochka-U tactical missiles, the wreckage of which was found near the Kramatorsk railway station and published by eyewitnesses, are used by the Ukrainian Armed Forces only. https://t.co/GSLl62PURf
— Mikhail Ulyanov (@Amb_Ulyanov) April 8, 2022
Moreover, in late March this year, a train carrying Tochka-U missile launchers was filmed in Gomel, Belarus.
— CIT (en) (@CITeam_en) April 8, 2022
And double ahem:
Would that be the same MoD that posted a video of its Tochka-U missiles on its YouTube channel? https://t.co/VsDZp1EChw
— Konstantin Kisin (@KonstantinKisin) April 8, 2022
This is an article from Belarus which proudly confirms that Russia deployed Tochka-U missiles in Belarus as part of the manoeuvres immediately before the invasion.
This will come in handy in the next few hours as Putin apologists will shortly be claiming Russia doesn't use them. pic.twitter.com/AsLZEiMqG0
— Konstantin Kisin (@KonstantinKisin) April 8, 2022
Putin’s forces and those of his allies have used the Tochka-U missiles in conflicts from Chechnya to South Ossetia and all the way up to the beginning of this war. Syria and the Houthis, both close allies of Iran, have used them as well. Ukraine does have its own stockpile of them as well, but with Russians invading in multiple directions, one would assume that they’re going to use those judiciously to blunt Putin’s offensives rather than waste them on alleged false-flag ops. Come on, man.
As laughable as Ulyanov’s gaslighting attempt might be, we can expect a lot more of it from Ulyanov and Putin when it comes to violations of any nuclear deal with Iran in which Russia has any involvement. Once again, we have to wonder — as even some House Democrats have begun asking — why Joe Biden insists on outsourcing American national security to Vladimir Putin. Cui bono?