The Biden administration’s Iran policy, beset by criticism that it is too lenient about Tehran’s bloody crackdown on peaceful protesters and the clerical regime’s ambition to build a nuclear weapons device, is facing fresh backlash from the US Senator Ted Cruz, former US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley and European politicians.
Critics say this month’s statements by the Biden administration show allegiance to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name for the Iran nuclear deal, which, according to a study by a US think tank, will send $275 billion in benefits to Tehran. would lock in its first year and $1 trillion by 2030.
A spokesman for Senator Cruz, R-Texas, told TBEN News Digital that “Senator Cruz believes the Biden administration is ideologically obsessed with re-entering a nuclear deal with Iran, and they are doing everything they can to keep that possibility open. to keep. that they prioritize the deal over other critical interests they claim to have, including supporting the women-led protests against the Iranian regime and helping our Ukrainian allies take out Russian and Iranian forces using drones to destroy Ukrainian military and civilian targets.”
The spokesperson added that the senator “fully expects the administration to deepen its obsession, including continuing to enable nuclear cooperation between Iran and Russia despite Congressional sanctions, if they believe it is politically possible.”
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The London-based news organization Iran International reported that Biden’s special envoy to Iran, Robert Malley, recently met with Iran’s ambassador to the UN, Saeed Iravani, “at least three times in the past two months.”
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When asked about the meetings, State Department spokesman Ned Price told TBEN News Digital: “We have made it clear that we have the resources to deliver specific and strong messages to Iran when it is in the interest of America is to do that. We have consistently conveyed three messages to Iran.” Iran: Stop killing peaceful protesters, stop selling weapons to Russia to kill Ukrainians, and release the Americans you wrongfully detained. We also take every opportunity to make it clear that we will take the necessary steps to protect American citizens.”
Price added: “I’m not going to go into details about how we deliver these messages, but we do so in close collaboration with allies and partners and make no apologies for delivering them vigorously and consistently.”
Haley told TBEN News Digital, “The IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] is a terrorist organization, simple as that. Europe should have blacklisted them years ago. Every day the farce of reviving the Iran deal continues is another day the world is less safe.”
The Trump administration classified the IRGC as a terrorist entity in 2019.
In response to criticism from Cruz and Haley, a spokesperson for the US State Department told TBEN News Digital: “The JCPOA has not been on the agenda for months. It is not our focus. Since September, our focus has been on championing the fundamental freedoms of the Iranian people and countering Iran’s deepening military partnership with Russia and its support for Russia’s war in Ukraine.”
The spokesman added: “President Biden is absolutely committed to never allowing Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon. We believe that diplomacy is the best way to achieve that goal on a sustainable and verifiable basis, and that the alternatives are worse .”
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In a statement to TBEN News Digital, a spokesman for the US National Security Council echoed the State Department.
“The JCPOA is not our focus right now. It is not on the agenda. Iran is killing its youth and selling UAVs to Russia to kill Ukrainians. Our focus is on practical ways to confront them in these areas. Regardless of the nuclear talks, we will continue to confront Iran’s behavior in the region, protect our forces, including military forces if necessary, and support the brave Iranian people who demand their basic rights and dignity – which this regime has long denied them. commit violence against peaceful demonstrators or otherwise attempt to suppress their rights,” said the NSC spokesperson.
The European Union (EU) on Monday refused to sanction the massive 125,000-strong army without a court order from an EU country certifying that the IRGC is involved in terrorist activities.
“It’s something that can’t be decided without a court… a decision first. You can’t say I consider you a terrorist because I don’t like you,” said Josep Borrell, the top EU diplomat.
EU diplomats told Reuters last week that the bloc would add 37 names to a blacklist of Iranian people and entities banned from traveling to Europe and subject to an asset freeze.
The European Parliament last week passed a non-binding resolution calling for the inclusion of the IRGC on the bloc’s terror list. The commander of the IRGC and the parliamentary chairman of Iran threatened the EU with consequences if it banned the IRGC as a terrorist organization.
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Charlie Weimers, a conservative Swedish Member of the European Parliament (MEP), told TBEN News Digital regarding classifying the IRGC as a terrorist entity: “The henchman of the Islamist regime should face the harshest possible measures from the West .”
Weimers, a strong supporter of Iranian dissidents who oppose the clerical regime, added: “The Obama-Iran deal [JCPOA] eases the pressure on the Mullahs and harms our ally, Israel. Ongoing JCPOA negotiations undermine European and US security interests by giving Russia leverage through a seat at the table. It is incomprehensible that some in Europe still cling to trade from a bygone area.”
Nile Gardiner, the director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, told TBEN News Digital: “The EU remains mired in a terrible appeasement mentality towards Iran. The refusal to add the IRGC to the terror blacklist is embarrassing, but not surprising. The EU has been eyeing Iran for years.” He said it is “inexcusable and a shame” that the EU is not confronting the “biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world”.
The US State Department has routinely identified the Iranian regime as the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism.
The IRGC, which oversees the Basij militia, has played a key role in crushing protests against the clerical regime sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini in mid-September.
The Iranian regime’s notorious morality police have arrested and allegedly tortured 22-year-old Amini to death for violating the Islamic Republic’s dress code that she covers her hair with a hijab.
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Question marks about the sustainability of reviving the JCPOA come from circles formerly associated with the Iran deal. Hannah Neumann, a German Green MEP, said: “How can we talk about reviving the JCPOA when all that comes out is the international recognition that the regime desperately needs? The time for ambiguous policies is the brutal protests continue, we should not negotiate. As long as the IRGC is terrorizing their own people and the region, we should treat them as terrorists.”
The German Green Party has long been a staunch supporter of the JCPOA. Germany’s Green Party foreign minister Annalena Baerbock is advocating for the JCPOA and is now facing criticism from the opposition Christian Democratic Union party for its perceived failure to sanction the IRGC.
TBEN News Digital sent a press inquiry to the German Foreign Office.
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The United Kingdom is also reviewing the value of returning to the JCPOA following the regime’s execution of a dual British-Iranian citizen, Alireza Akbari, in January, according to a report in The Sunday Telegraph. The newspaper wrote: “The UK is reconsidering its support for the Iran nuclear deal after the execution … The Sunday Telegraph understands.”
A British withdrawal from the deal would represent a serious setback to one of President Biden’s main foreign policy objectives.