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America stands to lose if we save Iran from more economic trouble

America stands to lose if we save Iran from more economic trouble
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The economy of Iran, the leading state sponsor of terrorism, now stands on the brink of collapse. The United States should not bail it out. Recent data from the International Monetary Fund reveals that Iran carried over $122 billion in accessible reserves in 2018, the year that President Trump withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Today, the Islamic Republic is down to a paltry $4 billion in usable foreign exchange reserves. Further combined with a currency that has lost half of its value, the failed government response to the coronavirus, and millions of Iranians taking to the streets to protest the legitimacy with the regime, the leaders in Tehran are now vulnerable and desperate.

While President Biden and his administration may not have had access to the recent report by the International Monetary Fund when they entered the Vienna talks a few weeks ago, it is absolutely critical that the United States now factor in that Iran might be on the brink of economic collapse and not throw it a lifeline for no reason. It is time for the administration to make credible demands of the rogue regime in Tehran.

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First, it should get Iran to release the five Americans it is currently holding hostage. Remember that the Islamic Republic is born of the original sin of taking dozens of United States Embassy staff hostage in the 1979 radical revolution. Our diplomats should not step foot in Vienna for negotiations with Iran before these Americans are released to safety.

Next, the administration pledged to address the numerous flaws of the Iran nuclear deal with “lengthening and strengthening” it. Biden and his administration announced that the demands of the United States would include the full dismantling of the Iran nuclear program, ending its proxy terrorist activity and ballistic missile program, and bringing to an end its vile human rights abuses. An editorial column by Biden laid out his Iran plan and the State Department has echoed such points.

During his confirmation hearing, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States would use the Iran nuclear deal as “a platform with our allies and partners who would once again be on the same side with us” to seek “a longer and stronger agreement.” He said a new deal could address the destabilizing activities and the ballistic missile program. Blinken also pledged that terrorism sanctions against the regime will not be lifted, a promise that appears to be on its way to being broken.

Given its present circumstances, Iran desperately needs sanctions relief and does not hold leverage in these talks. In contrast, the administration has the option to walk away from Vienna if our demands are not met. The administration holds this historic opportunity to finally negotiate an Iran agreement that preserves United States national security. A new robust deal would create a Middle East without a rogue nuclear state which can support terrorism in less than one decade from today.

With so much at stake with both regional and international stability, the administration must understand it would be morally bankrupt to bail out Iran with a blank check deal that harms our interests.

Ellie Cohanim is a former United States deputy envoy sent to monitor and combat antisemitism and a visiting fellow at Independent Womens Forum.