Biden Revives Deal, Embarrasses and Harms U.S.

President Joe Biden speaks during his visit to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., December 2, 2021. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Last week, I posited that the Biden administration was soft-pedaling SWIFT sanctions because it does not want to discuss why the United States is not in a position to boot Russia from the telecommunication system that facilitates global commerce and finance: The United States government has willfully entangled itself in dependence on Putin’s regime. This is particularly so in the realms of energy and foreign relations.

It hasn’t taken long for a textbook example of this idiocy to leap to the fore.

As NR’s editors have noted this week (and this is Biden idiocy to the nth degree), the administration is desperate to forge a new and “improved” version of Obama’s disastrous Iran nuclear deal. There is no good reason for this; it is yet another case of “because Trump reversed something that Obama did, Biden must reinstate it.” It doesn’t matter how apparent it is that Trump reversed the deal because it was both reckless and unpopular or even that the recklessness of reinstating it will make Biden more unpopular.

Tehran understands this well, and in its “Death to America” contempt for our feckless government, humiliates Biden by refusing to meet directly with his envoy, appeasement aficionado Rob Malley. The Biden administration is thus forced to grovel and plead for the intercession of Vladimir Putin’s regime, which (along with China) is Iran’s patron. This is especially delicious for the mullahs now: They know that, on the world stage, Biden is trying to play hard-ass against Putin regarding Ukraine, echoing Biden’s legend-in-his-own-mind routine on the 2020 campaign trail; yet, in reality, Biden is a five-alarm phony who, behind the scenes, is actively colluding with Moscow to get a new Iran nuke deal done.

The Kremlin, of course, knows this, too. Indeed, the Kremlin knows that while Biden is desperate for a new Iran deal, he can’t afford to acknowledge that it is a new Iran deal. Under U.S. law — the inconvenient though largely toothless Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA) of 2015 — Biden would have to present a new Iran deal to Congress. Consequently, the president must pretend that all he is really doing is reinstating the already INARA-approved JCPOA (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as Obama’s Iran nuclear deal was called).

This is a lie: The Biden deal has brand new terms, such as sanctions relief for terrorists who have mass-murdered hundreds of Americans, that make it even more of a catastrophic capitulation than was the JCPOA. But Biden does not want to call attention to the terms of his sellout by asking Congress to bless them, so he is pretending that his deal merely reinstates the JCPOA and therefore needs no sign-off from lawmakers.

Putin is now delighting in Biden’s self-made predicament: Incredibly, the U.S. president has put himself in the position of needing not one but three banes of U.S. security — Russia, Iran, and the JCPOA. And for Putin it gets even better.

See, the JCPOA’s terms call for extensive Russian participation and commerce. As the Wall Street Journal points out today, this includes “receiving enriched uranium from Iran and exchanging it for yellowcake, work to turn Iran’s Fordow nuclear facility into a research center and other nuclear-specific deliveries to Tehran’s facilities.”

Yes, as I related this week, even as Putin is murdering civilians in his unprovoked Ukraine invasion, Biden is cutting a deal that would have Iran park its enriched uranium in Russia — with the proviso that Iran gets the uranium back if Putin and the mullahs decide the U.S. has not held up its end of Biden’s boneheaded bargain.

But let’s put that mind-bender aside if we can for a moment. For immediate purposes, the point is that Biden is trying to convince our country and the world that his administration is serious about sanctions that will strangle Putin into abandoning his aggression in Ukraine. Yet, if harsh sanctions are really in place, then Biden cannot have his pretend JCPOA reinstatement because Russia would not be permitted to conduct the commerce the JCPOA prescribes.

So, as you’d expect, today, Russia’s foreign minister Sergei (This-is-even-more-fun-than-picking-Hillary’s-pocket) Lavrov demanded written guarantees from the Biden administration that its Ukraine-related sanctions will not interfere with the Russian commerce with Iran and other nations that is central to the operation of the JCPOA.

What a perfect storm of American amateur hour and embarrassment. And what an inexcusable blow to American national security.