Foreign Policy

It’s time for Iran to concede, not the United States

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On Nov. 28, one day before President Biden resumed negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi proclaimed, “We will not back off from the annihilation of Israel, even one millimeter. We want to destroy Zionism in the world.” Within the words of Brigadier General Shekarchi lie the true intention of the Ayatollah and his military leaders. Despite this clear and direct threat, the administration is in Vienna attempting to revive the failed Iran nuclear agreement — a strategic mistake that emboldens the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. This comes at a time when the world is seeing renewed Iranian aggression, including escalating nuclear extortion, regional terror attacks, and assassination plots. 

In Syria, Iranian militias engaged in a drone attack at an American military outpost, Al-Tanf. In Iraq, militias backed by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Forces engaged in an assassination attempt of the Prime Minister.

Moreover, sanctioned Iranian cargo aircraft have been conducting illicit flights to Venezuela. It is suspected that Iran is providing arms to the illegitimate regime of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela—including ballistic missiles. These flights have been reported to be carrying 1,050 missiles, 400 bombs, 500 rockets, 30 containers and 35 radars. It’s time for the administration to wake up. Caracas is less than 2,100 miles from Washington, D.C. This isn’t happening in the Middle East — it’s in America’s backyard. 

Additionally, Tehran is now enriching uranium to higher levels and engaging in more irreversible nuclear violations than ever before. It does not take monumental critical thinking to understand that resuming these negotiations rewards such malign behavior. President Trump’s maximum pressure campaign worked. However, President Biden is squandering this leverage and is relaxing pressure for a renewed deal. 

These concessions have resulted in Iran’s foreign currency reserves reportedly increasing by more than 750 percent. The largest state sponsor of terrorism does not deserve sanctions relief given its behavior, as they are clearly not negotiating in good faith. Iran’s destabilization of the Middle East and its attempts to threaten the mainland United States exemplify why the maximum pressure campaign was necessary. Sanctions relief for the sake of a poorly negotiated nuclear agreement will not prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. They’ve violated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) provisions and United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) in the past — why would we be so naive as to think that will not happen again?

Congress must reassert its authority over economic sanctions and use all legislative tools available to force a vote on any sanctions that are lifted by President Biden. With American credibility damaged from the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, the United States and our allies cannot afford another foreign policy mistake. It’s time for Iran to start making concessions, not the United States.

Pat Fallon represents the 4th District of Texas and is a member of the Armed Forces Committee.

Tags Donald Trump Joe Biden Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Nuclear program of Iran U.S.-Iran negotiations United States sanctions against Iran

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