What price is Joe Biden willing to pay Iran to get them to allow the U.S. to rejoin the nuclear deal? It will be a buyer’s market for Iran if Biden’s choices for national security positions are any indication.
Biden had already chosen Jake Sullivan as national security advisor and just picked former ambassador William Burns to run the CIA. Both men led the backchannel negotiations with Iran during the Obama administration on reaching the incredibly flawed nuclear agreement.
Biden wants to be friends with the Iranians again so he’s tapped two men that some in the Iranian government trust. Those backchannel negotiations lasted three years and there’s little doubt that most of the credit for reaching it should go to Sullivan and Burns.
Burns wrote of Obama that “secrecy would help prevent opponents in both capitals from smothering the initiative in its crib — but it would carry future costs, feeding stab-in-the-back criticisms from some of our closest partners, particularly the Israelis, Saudis, and Emiratis.” Burns said Obama stressed that he should “focus the back-channel talks on the nuclear issue” and recounted that the president “was convinced that we’d never get an agreement with the Iranians without some limited form of domestic enrichment.”
It should be noted that it had been American policy since the 1990s that there would be no negotiations with Iran as long as they continued to enrich uranium. That Obama didn’t even use that as a bargaining chip is shocking and demonstrates his “deal at any cost” attitude that resulted in returning tens of billions of dollars to the Iranian regime to modernize their military and stir up trouble all over the Middle East.
“It was hard to imagine when we embarked on that first secret flight to Oman in early 2013 that diplomacy could resolve the Iranian nuclear issue,” Burns wrote, adding, “we couldn’t neatly erase by military or diplomatic means Iran’s basic know-how about enrichment. What we could do was to sharply constrain it over a long duration, monitor it with unprecedented intrusiveness, and prevent its leadership from building a bomb.”
Burns wrote that “Trump’s demolition of the Iran deal was a further blow to our own credibility.”
Biden said Monday that “Bill Burns is an exemplary diplomat with decades of experience on the world stage keeping our people and our country safe and secure.”
Burns is right that we would never be able to “erase” Iran’s knowledge of the enrichment process. But we may not have had to worry about it. The sanctions, imposed in 2011, were devastating to Iran’s economy. Iran was on its knees when they reached out to Barack Obama to save them. Obama gladly obliged.
There might have been a revolution. There might have been a military coup. Iran might have felt they had to give up its nuclear program in its entirety if we had held on for another year or two. As it worked out, Burns and Sullivan worked tirelessly to surrender American advantages to Iran, which is now almost certainly within months of the nuclear threshold.
Once again, both men are in positions of influence in government with a warped, cockeyed view of the Iranian regime. One thing is certain: They won’t try to destroy it. Instead, they will nurture it, make it more powerful, until Iran is dominating the entire Middle East.
The clerics running Iran are almost certainly rubbing their hands together in glee as Biden’s foreign policy team takes shape.