It would be comforting if the Biden Administration would begin to act as if it has come to understand the Iranian pattern of prevarication and stop groveling.
Unfortunately, it is now clear that the Iranians are convinced that there are no real options the US is willing to consider in order to rein in their malevolence. While they were forced to the negotiating table in 2015 under the threat of Western military action, this is no longer in play. And even then, only their nuclear aspirations were addressed, superficially and ineffectively, leading to a festering problem of the stealth growth of Iran’s nuclear capabilities. At all events, left completely out of the calculation were Iran’s programs for building delivery systems for nuclear and conventional weapons and support for local proxy wars across the Middle East.
Recognizing that the West had no stomach for military action against Iran, President Donald Trump opted to deal with Iran’s non-compliance with the Iran nuclear deal, continued missile development and support for proxy wars, by the institution of severe economic sanctions against the Iranian economy. While these sanctions had devastating effects and showed signs of imminent success in moving the Iranians to change their ways, President Trump was replaced by President Joe Biden.
Unfortunately, despite the lack of a realistic military option, President Biden indicated that he was prepared to drop most of the Trump sanctions in order to draw the Iranians to the negotiating table. Yet without any sword to wield, Mr. Biden was in little position to insist on Iran reentering negotiations or to drive the negotiating agenda. Not surprisingly, Iran is now viewed in the catbird seat and making substantial, non-negotiated demands as preconditions for negotiations. Simply stated, time is marching on and Iran is just doing its thing unimpeded.
So, Iran is literally dictating to the US about any renegotiation of the Iran nuclear deal and the US is reduced to the role of supplicant. Mr. Biden must reverse this perception and issue some threats with teeth. He can order swift and significant military responses to Iranian provocations short of war, and he can restore economic sanctions with a vengeance. Otherwise we are certain to awake one morning and come face to face with a nuclear weaponized Iran.