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Jay Ambrose: Biden must play hardball with Iran

Jay Ambrose: Biden must play hardball with Iran

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Jay Ambrose

President Joe Biden says he’s ready to resuscitate the Iran deal former President Barack Obama disastrously gave us if Iran quits its advanced uranium enrichment, the kind that could ultimately deliver nuclear bombs. Bullying Iran says in reply that it will do no such thing unless Biden first ends the sanctions former President Donald Trump inflicted through getting out of the deal.

Biden has said no, he won’t lift the sanctions first, and shouldn’t. He should instead make them tougher by trying to get the other signatories still in the deal to add their own sanctions despite the profitable losses in trade. They won’t like that, and many would object to Biden renewing the last-moment military option that Obama once believed in but hung up on. That did not fit in with Obama’s appeasement schedule, but Biden needs to be strong.

A major way would be to use the deal as a guide, not by replicating it but by reversing it, by trying to prevent what it now promotes, namely a nuclear-armed Iran conceivably wiping out Israel, instigating nuclear proliferation, hegemonic ambitions and threatening the United States, even conceivably starting World War III.

Here are some of the things to change.

One. Take away the means necessary for Iran to create nuclear weapons. That would mean taking away all the centrifuges it now says it wants just to generate nuclear power. The deal says it can use the centrifuges only at low rates sufficient for that purpose, but that hardly means it can’t break the rules. Right now Iran, an oil-rich country that does not need nuclear power, is enriching well beyond the deal’s limits.

Two. Quit financing the killing of innocents as Iran remains the largest terrorist-sponsoring state in the world. Because it is just about nuclear weapons, the deal does nothing about militia terrorism recently employed in a rocket attack on a U.S. military base in Iraq. Obama actually forked over $1.7 billion of encouragement after the deal was completed. Earlier than that, he returned multibillions of Iranian assets frozen because of aggressive enmity. Even if the dollars did not go directly to Iran’s terrorist friends, they were obviously an enabler along with lifted sanctions in a country still holding American hostages.

Three: Have real inspections. At the moment, they are pretty much limited to nuclear facilities when they should be all over the place without perplexing procedures, such as in military bases. The United States and some other signatories have wanted to search them, but Iran says no, never. 

Four: Stop ballistic missile tests. These missiles obviously can be used as nuclear weapons, but as long as there is no discovered evidence that they are being prepared for that, the Iranians can do their thing.

There’s much, much more, such as Iran denying to negotiators its past work on developing nuclear weapons even as history and Israel have provided convincing pants-on-fire evidence.Iran has also killed hundreds of American soldiers, harassed the United States since the deal and plagued other Middle East countries that should be involved in a renegotiation. Trump did come up with a great move that united some Arab countries with Israel to provide a shield against Iran.

Biden’s secretary of state, Antony Blinken, has said Iran could be just months or even just weeks away from having what’s needed for nuclear weaponry, but Israel will certainly try to prevent the worst from happening if it gets close, and some say the United States could do the job with air attacks. Surely none of us want war, but horror won’t be prevented by acquiescence to evil.

Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Email


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