Dr. Majid Rafizadeh: Concessions made to Iran during nuclear negotiations only make the regime bolder/Luke Coffey: No deal with Iran is better than a bad deal/د.ماجد رفي زاده : التنازلات التي قُدمت لإيران خلال المفاوضات النووية تجعل نظام الملالي أكثر وقاحتاً/لوك كوفي: لا صفقة مع إيران أفضل من صفقة سيئة

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لوك كوفي: لا صفقة مع إيران أفضل من صفقة سيئة
No deal with Iran is better than a bad deal
Luke Coffey/Arab News/August 26, 2022

د.ماجد رفي زاده : التنازلات التي قُدمت لإيران خلال المفاوضات النووية تجعل نظام الملالي أكثر وقاحتاً
Concessions made to Iran during nuclear negotiations only make the regime bolder
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh/Arab News/August 26, 2022
Making concessions to a rogue state only emboldens it to pursue its destructive behavior and policies. This has been the case with the Iranian regime since it was established four decades ago.
Unfortunately, the administration of US President Joe Biden does not appear to have learned this important history lesson. Since Biden assumed office, his administration has made several concessions to the Islamic Republic with the hope that the theocratic establishment will alter its behavior and agree to a revival of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran nuclear deal. President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the agreement in 2018.
But with every concession made so far, the Iranian regime has become more intransigent. For instance, after the Biden administration suspended some of the anti-terrorism sanctions on the Houthis in Yemen and revoked the designation of the group as a terrorist organization, the regime in Tehran responded by increasing its illegal deliveries of weapons to the Houthis.
This was yet another violation by Iran of UN Security Council Resolution 2140: “Obligation to freeze all funds, other financial assets and economic resources that are owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the individuals or entities designated by the Committee, or by individuals or entities acting on their behalf or at their direction, or by entities owned or controlled by them; no funds, financial assets or economic resources to be made available to or for the benefit of such individuals or entities.”
In addition, after the Biden administration lifted sanctions on three former Iranian officials and several energy companies, the Islamic Republic ramped up oil sales to China, and shipped oil to Syria and Hezbollah in direct violation of US sanctions. The regime also took more hostages and further activated its terror cells in other countries.
In addition, the Biden administration appears to look the other way when Tehran cracks down on protesters in its own country. The regime also hand-picked a purported mass murderer, Ebrahim Raisi, to be its next president.
Now information leaked from Iran, obtained by the news outlet Iran International, reveals that the Biden administration has made even more concessions in an an attempt to revive the nuclear deal. According to the report, “the US guarantees that its sanctions against IRGC (the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) would not affect other sectors and firms: e.g. a petrochemical company shouldn’t be sanctioned by US because of doing business with IRGC.”
With every concession made so far, the Iranian regime has become more intransigent.
The Biden administration seems to be claiming victory, since Iran’s leaders have dropped a key demand that involved the removal of the IRGC from the US list of foreign terrorist organizations. But if other sectors that are linked to the corps can freely do business with it under the terms of the nuclear deal, then its designation as a terrorist organization, as well as the sanctions against it, are merely cosmetic.
The IRGC has a large stake in almost every industrial sector in Iran, including oil, mining, telecommunications, gold, shipping and construction. Competition and the private sector are not permitted because the more closed the economy, the easier it is for the IRGC to monopolize it. As a result, any financial growth in these sectors will directly benefit Iran’s military, the IRGC and its elite branch, the Quds Force, and Iran’s militias and terror groups operating across the Middle East.
Since Iran’s economy is predominantly IRGC-controlled or state-generated, additional revenues will likely be funneled into the treasury of the IRGC and the office of the supreme leader.
Another major concession that has reportedly been made includes a provision that only a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency can trigger a snap-back clause for the restoration of sanctions. This would mean the US or the EU3 (France, the UK and Germany) cannot unilaterally call for sanctions on Iran to be reinstated, even if they believe Tehran is violating the nuclear deal. This would be a more favorable deal for the Iranian regime than the previous version, due to the fact that under the 2015 agreement any single state that is a party to the agreement could unilaterally snap back sanctions.
Furthermore, an important issue about Iran’s nuclear program is linked to past nuclear activities that reportedly had military dimensions. The IAEA opened an investigation into this issue but the Iranian regime has refused to provide answers to questions about several clandestine nuclear sites. Another concession to Iran that is reportedly being made is that the IAEA is expected to halt its investigation into those previous nuclear activities.
To make things worse, even if the nuclear deal falls apart again, for any reason, the regime will be exempt from US sanctions for two-and-a-half years. In other words, even if the regime is found to be breaching the deal and the US withdraws from the agreement, Tehran seemingly can continue to enjoy sanctions relief for several years.
In conclusion, the Iranian regime seems to have obtained many concessions from the West. This will only make the theocratic establishment more intransigent and belligerent, as history has shown.
* Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a Harvard-educated Iranian American political scientist. Twitter: @Dr_Rafizadeh

لوك كوفي: لا صفقة مع إيران أفضل من صفقة سيئة
No deal with Iran is better than a bad deal
Luke Coffey/Arab News/August 26, 2022
A new nuclear deal with Iran appears close to being reached in Vienna. For the past 18 months, talks have achieved barely anything. Iranian negotiators were leading on their American counterparts by pretending that an agreement was just around the corner — but it never really was.
Iranian negotiators were using US President Joe Biden’s desperation for a deal to squeeze out every last possible concession, and it looks as if they have accomplished their goal. Iran stands to benefit handsomely from this revived agreement. At the beginning of his administration, Biden claimed that any new agreement would lead to a “longer and stronger” nuclear deal. For the most part US officials have given up on this aspiration. Sadly, it is likely that a new deal will be even weaker than the original 2015 agreement.
Considering the state of geopolitics, signing a new agreement with Iran right now would be a terrible idea. It would also mark a new low in the Biden administration’s inept statecraft. There are two reasons.
First, any deal agreed with Iran is turning a blind eye to Tehran’s nefarious activities and rewarding its malign behavior around the region. Since Biden entered the Oval Office in January 2021, Iran’s behavior has become increasingly cavalier. There have been more than a dozen maritime incidents in the Gulf attributable to Iran, and Iranian proxies fired rockets and launched drone attacks across the region. The targets of these attacks included Irbil airport, a base used by US forces at Al-Tanf in Syria, and numerous civilian and military locations in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. As recently as last week Iran-backed militias attacked US forces again in Syria.
The US response to these provocations has been weak. Not until the attacks in Syria last week did the Biden administration finally respond with military force, because the White House is so desperate to chalk up a perceived foreign policy victory it is willing to turn a blind eye to obtain an agreement with Iran.
Second, there is the Ukraine angle to consider. The issues of Ukraine, Russia and Iran are connected. Russian-Iranian military cooperation is no secret. Iran will provide armed drones to Russia for use in Ukraine after Moscow’s stockpiles were depleted by a surprisingly effective Ukrainian air defense.
Any deal agreed with Iran is turning a blind eye to Tehran’s nefarious activities and rewarding its malign behavior around the region
If Iran received sanctions relief as part of any new deal and was allowed to become a player in the global economy, Tehran could help Russia evade Western sanctions. Indirectly, it is quite possible that a new deal with Iran could, indirectly and in part, finance Russia’s war in Ukraine.
However, there is one silver lining when it comes to the Biden administration’s Iran policy. Israel and the Gulf states share similar threats from Iranian aggression and expansionism. Any new agreement with Iran will probably push Israeli and Arab cooperation to an even higher level. After all, although it was Donald Trump’s leadership in the region that really got the Abraham Accords started, the seed of Israeli-Arab normalization was planted by Barack Obama and his willingness to cut the original Iran deal in 2015. With such great progress being made on Israeli-Arab relations since the Abraham Accords in 2020, it is only logical to assume even deeper level cooperation will result from a new Iran deal.
From a US domestic political point of view, the timing of this deal with Iran is curious. Hotly contested midterm elections will take place in November, and the Democrats will probably lose control of the House of Representatives. There’s even a chance that the Republicans can regain control of the Senate.
In Congress, both Democrats and Republicans have been critical of the White House’s approach to the negotiations in Vienna. After seeing what happened in Afghanistan last year, the American public is not sure if it can trust the Biden administration on the big foreign policy issues. So it’s not clear why the Biden administration would be willing to sign such a controversial deal with Iran in the run up to the midterm elections.
During the 2020 presidential campaign Biden had one major foreign policy pledge: to rejoin the Iran deal that Trump had left. He seems determined to do this at any cost. Now is the time for Arab and Israeli leaders and policymakers to put pressure on the US government to step back from the talks before it is too late. The message to Biden should be crystal clear: No deal with Iran is far better than a bad deal.
*Luke Coffey is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. Twitter: @LukeDCoffey