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The Biden administration’s rush to sign a new nuclear deal with Iran (JCPOA) is paving the way for something far worse than the lousy deal the Obama administration and its European allies signed with Tehran. What the Biden administration intends to sign quickly in Vienna, in addition to strengthening Iran by destabilizing the Middle East, would guarantee Putin an additional $500 million for his war in Ukraine.
Last year, before the invasion of Ukraine, Moscow notified Washington of its intention to continue its arms sales to the Islamic regime and to complete the construction in Iran of another nuclear power plant. Moscow is now collecting debts from Tehran, such as the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, a pillar of the Iranian nuclear program that could not have been completed in 2011 without Russian support.
Despite the curb on sanctions implied by Europe’s energy dependence on Russia, Moscow takes seriously the risk of facing long-term economic sanctions. Already Western Europe is discussing how to end its dependence on Russian oil and gas. Moscow supported Tehran, both to keep the nuclear program alive and to get what the ayatollahs want from the new nuclear deal. Once Iran is free of sanctions, on the lifting of which Tehran conditioned the signing of the new JCPOA, Moscow is expecting an Iranian quid pro quo.
Already Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had revealed that Moscow had “written assurances” from Washington “in the text of the agreement itself” about to be signed, to continue trading with Iran despite Washington’s sanctions on Moscow for the invasion of Ukraine. Moscow logically demands that a sanctions-free Tehran pays it $500 million for the Bushehr nuclear plant and other debts. Lavrov recently stated that the two countries are preparing new agreements to reach a new level of cooperation and stressed that despite “well-known factors” to put pressure on them, the turnover between Russia and Iran grew by about 80% in 2021 exceeding $4 billion.
Con Coughlin, Defense and Foreign Editor of the Telegraph, has closely followed the cooperation between Tehran and Moscow in evading sanctions and noted in a column on April 15 that a senior Western security official revealed to him that Iran has already promised Russia that it will repay its debt when its funds held in the United States are not subject to sanctions, and that the transfer of initial payments to Russia for new military agreements between the parties is conditional on the agreement in Vienna over the new JCPO. Bethan McKernan, from The Guardian, revealed that Tehran has even donated to Moscow Iranian Babar 373 missiles that are being used in the war in Ukraine.
Iran developed a shadow banking system and an extensive network of shell companies and covert accounts in China, Turkey, Singapore and Hong Kong to evade sanctions and maintain its international trade.
Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji stated in a meeting in Moscow in mid-March with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak that Russia supported Iran when sanctions were imposed, and Iran should support Russia now. Then Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirmed in late March to the Russian news agency RIA the cooperation between Moscow and Tehran to circumvent Western sanctions.
The Biden administration refuses to give up its failed “green” energy policy that ended American energy independence and worsened its inflationary monetary, fiscal and regulatory policies. With fuel prices escalating, the White House would now attempt to reintroduce Iranian oil to the market before the mid-term elections by signing a new JCPO, worse than Obama’s.
The administration would also be accepting that once its JCPO is signed, the agreements between Moscow and Tehran would give Putin at least an additional $500 million for his war in Ukraine.
Guillermo Rodríguez is a professor of Political Economy in the extension area of the Faculty of Economic and Administrative Sciences at Universidad Monteávila, in Caracas. A researcher at the Juan de Mariana Center and author of several books // Guillermo es profesor de Economía Política en el área de extensión de la Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Administrativas de la Universidad Monteávila, en Caracas, investigador en el Centro Juan de Mariana y autor de varios libros