Iran declared Saturday that President Joe Biden’s removal of sanctions against the regime’s civilian nuclear program was “not good enough,” as the administration continues its year-long effort to woo Iran back to negotiations to return to the 2015 deal.
In 2015, then-President Barack Obama bypassed the U.S. Senate, defying the Constitution’s treaty clause, and bound the U.S. to lift economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for a temporary suspension of Iran’s nuclear weapons development program.
The deal also unfroze up to $150 billion of Iranian assets in the U.S., and was accompanied by billions of dollars in cash, delivered on pallets in cargo planes, in exchange for the release of several American prisoners held as hostages by Iran.
The agreement, approved by the United Nations, did not limit Iran’s support for terrorism around the world, nor did it stop Iran’s ballistic missile program, which it pursued vigorously. Moreover, Iran continued to pursue nuclear weapons covertly.
The deal had been reached after the Obama administration agreed to lift many sanctions against Iran in an interim agreement, giving the regime much of what it had sought to achieve through a deal, even before negotiations on the agreement began.
In 2018, then-President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran deal and began imposing new sanctions on Iran, both for its nuclear program and human rights abuses. The Iranian economy reeled, and the regime struggled to pay its terrorist proxies.
When President Biden took office, he pulled away from U.S. allies in the confrontation with Iran, such as Saudi Arabia, dropping U.S. support for the Saudi war effort in Yemen against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, who had launched a civil war.
The Biden administration also dropped the designation of the Houthis as terrorists, though they continued to slaughter civilians and to attack targets in Saudi Arabia. Recently, the Houthis have fired missiles at the United Arab Emirates.
Biden also sent envoy Rob Malley, known for his history of appeasing Iran and other terrorist regimes, to Vienna in an effort to negotiate with the Iranians. After a year of futile discussions, during which Iran accelerated its nuclear research, U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken concluded that Iran was not “serious” about talks, and was merely playing for time. Still, Biden’s efforts continued, and culminated in Friday’s renewal of a “waiver” on sanctions on Iran’s civilian nuclear program.
In response, the Times of Israel reported, Iran’s foreign minister said that the move, while welcome, was “insufficient” and “not enough” to bring about a new deal. Biden appeared to have repeated Obama’s mistake on an interim deal with Iran.
Meanwhile, Israel has recently begun military exercises whose stated, public purpose is to prepare for a possible strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Israel has said that a nuclear Iran is an existential threat that it will not allow to arise.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.