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The Iranian regime, one of the main enemies of the United States, insisted on avenging the assassination of the highest-ranking Iranian general Qasem Soleimani as the country announced this Monday that it had resumed the level of uranium enrichment to 20 percent purity, far beyond the limits established in the 2015 nuclear agreement.
Iran is currently enriching its uranium inventories to about 4.5%. This is well above the 3.67% limit imposed by the 2015 pact with the world powers. The Persian regime began to breach its obligations in 2019 in retaliation for the U.S.’s exit from the pact a year earlier and its re-imposition of sanctions.
In response to Iran’s announcement, the U.S. State Department condemned Iran’s level of uranium enrichment and denounced it as an effort to increase its nuclear extortion campaign.
“Iran’s enrichment of 20% uranium at Fordow shows a clear intention to increase its nuclear extortion campaign, an attempt that will continue to fail,” the spokesperson said.
Iran’s move represents a challenge to U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, who pledged to reinstate the agreement after he takes office on January 20th.
Tehran has repeatedly called on the United States to restore the agreement from which Trump withdrew in 2018.
However, Biden’s national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, said the incoming administration would re-enter the pact if Iran agreed to comply.
Sullivan also said the Biden administration would seek a “follow-up negotiation” on Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities.
“Our view is that ballistic missiles, and Iran’s ballistic missile program, should be on the table as part of that follow-up negotiation,” Sullivan said.
The advisor added that the Biden administration would seek to bring some of Iran’s regional partners into the talks.
Agreement with Iran: A catastrophic decision?
Biden’s intentions to resume a nuclear deal with Iran could be catastrophic for the world, especially if his main interest is to get along with this regime and not to set clear conditions on which to negotiate.
In an article for the New York Post, columnist Michael Goodwin argued that the terms of the Obama-Biden administration’s nuclear deal negotiated by John Kerry “were a surrender that paved the way for the mullahs to receive nuclear weapons in due course.”
Goodwin recalls that the deal was so bad that international sanctions were lifted and Obama returned unfrozen Iranian funds, many of which went to finance terrorism in the region. Despite this, Biden has already invited Iran to join the agreement and brought Kerry back for another round that could be a failure.
Internationalist David Bittan agrees with Goodwin. He assures that returning to the nuclear agreement “without a privileged negotiating position that allows for strict control over Iran, would be a mistake.”
Iran expects Biden to surrender at its feet, just like Obama did
Joseph Humire, a security analyst and director of the Center for the Study of a Free and Secure Society, told El American that “Iran is hoping to recover and sees in Biden an opportunity that can be exploited to its advantage.”
The Trump Administration succeeded in weakening the Iranian regime not only through sanctions, but also through diplomacy, intelligence and military surgery, a situation that could change with Biden in office.
Right now, Biden has to understand that there is no need to have conversations with Iran, because now the cards are in the hands of the United States, when you have the advantage, you don’t start the conversation.
Humire explained that should Biden return to nuclear agreement with Iran, the United States must set clear conditions, because if Biden loses the advantage achieved by Trump, he would be “condemning the Middle East to a very dangerous period.”
“It’s very dangerous because the Arab countries have a sense of calm that Iran is no longer going to bother, and if these countries see that Biden is not going to take action, they will do it on their own, and that worries me because even though these countries are allies, many of them are not democratic either,” he added.
Humire recalled that when Iran entered the agreement, it was they who set the conditions, as they conditioned it not to talk about human rights, terrorism or its missile programs. He recalled that with the nuclear agreement promoted by the Obama Administration, Iran made progress in the field of terrorism and in the area of armaments.
“The way in which this agreement was reached with Obama was very bad and irresponsible, with many gaps, giving many privileges to Iran and getting very little benefit and without any guarantees (…) If Biden wanted to take up this agreement again he has to do it better than in previous years, because the last one only led to more failures”, he said.
After learning that Biden is willing to negotiate, Iran warned that it will not accept the preconditions of a new Biden Administration. Both sides seem to want the other to first lay out the terms of the agreement.
Given this scenario, it remains to be seen what Biden’s position will be in the face of a regime that seeks to rise after the Trump government and the countries of the Middle East are now aligned to weaken it.