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The Biden Administration Is Getting Played by Iran

Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP

Whether it's because he longs for his days as VP in the Obama administration or because so many of the same staffers who were in the Obama State Department came back to work for the Biden administration, the president is trying to bring back the Iran nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). And it's not going well. 

Despite multiple rounds of negotiations in Vienna between the United States and its allies and the Iranian regime, the nuclear ambitions of Iran remain unchecked. And if readouts from the negotiations are to be trusted, Iran is running the table in attempts to delay any agreement while it continues escalating its nuclear capabilities. 

A senior State Department official briefed reporters over the weekend following the seventh and latest round of U.S. talks with Iran, and it's apparent that America's negotiators are not coming to the table from a position of strength. As a result, America and its allies are getting played by an Iran that does not have "the posture of a country that is seriously thinking of a rapid return to mutual compliance." Nevertheless, President Biden remains convinced that the nuclear deal can be "revived," according to the official. 

"We’ve been waiting patiently for five and a half months," the official explained, while the "Iranian Government said that it needed time to get ready to resume the talks on a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA, and I think what we’ve seen over the last week or so is what getting ready meant for them."

What "getting ready" meant, according to the official, is clear: "It meant continuing to accelerate their nuclear program in particularly provocative ways, and their latest provocation as reported by the IAEA only on Wednesday" when it was revealed that, while parties were meeting to work on an agreement to supposedly prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power, Iran was preparing "for the doubling of their production capacity of 20 percent enriched uranium at Fordow," one of Iran's nuclear facilities.

The State Department's takeaway, which is seemingly obvious and should not have taken seven rounds of meetings to discover, is that Iran "getting ready" meant the regime would "continue to stonewall the [International Atomic Energy Agency] despite efforts... to find a way forward between [IAEA] Director General Grossi and Iran."

So Iran, an evil regime with nuclear ambitions, is continuing its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Who could have seen this coming? Everyone. 

The Iranian explanation for why they're continuing to work on nuclear programs is one that attempts to put blame on the United States for not being in compliance with the original deal — that is, the Obama administration's deal that saw the U.S. shipping pallets of cash to the regime and very little if any hesitancy from Iran to abide by terms of the original deal. The State Department official noted that "the U.S. has said and the world has witnessed that we are prepared to come back into compliance if Iran agrees to reasonable agreement for a mutual return, which they have not done." 

The Iran deal was a fool's errand from the start, but even if a return to the deal would be a good thing, the Biden administration is failing to show any strength in ongoing negotiations which only embolden Iran's nefarious ambitions. And now, even though it's more or less universally recognized fact that Iran is yanking negotiators around by coming to the table in bad faith, the Biden administration's answer when asked about "whether we would walk away from the table or not" is "I don’t – we’ll decide what we do... I think the point is not so much whether we walk away from the table... So we’ll have to see," according to the State Department official. 

As the senior official noted, even the Biden administration knows that Iran is operating under a "plan B, which is to use the talks as a cover, as a front for continued build-up of their nuclear program to serve as leverage for a better deal for them." Despite this knowledge, President Biden and his administration continue to indulge Iran's gamesmanship by returning to multiple rounds of unserious negotiations without issuing a threat to walk away.

So, Iran is still marching toward nuclear capability, President Biden is still convinced the JCPOA can be revived, and there's no set date for another round of negotiations in which the Biden administration's negotiators can again be played. The only certainty — that even the Biden administration acknowledges — is that Iran will continue working on its nuclear program.

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