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Many of us watching “Face the Nation” on February 7th were assured by President Biden that the United States would not lift sanctions on Iran unless they completely halt their enrichment of uranium. He was asked by Nora O’Donnell, “Will the United States lift sanctions first in order to get Iran back to the negotiating table?” “No.” President Biden clearly responded. “They have to stop enriching uranium first?” O’Donnell asked. Mr. Biden nodded affirmatively.

(February 19, 2021 / JNS)

We have been stating that it is absolutely essential that the sanctions not be lifted first, because that is the only thing that the Shiite nation truly wants, and that is our only leverage to use as a negotiating tool. Although, we also have been arguing that it is absurd to negotiate with Iran because of their record of using negotiations as a smokescreen, as their nuclear program advances way beyond the level that is necessary for “peaceful purposes.”

In the standoff between the Iranian regime and the United States, the United States blinked first. We are profoundly disappointed, here. Yesterday, a mere 11 days after that pronouncement on “Face the Nation,” the news came that the administration will lift sanctions against Iran, just to get them to the negotiating table.

What is so incredibly tragic about this is that the Iranians said that the Iranians threatened not to allow the International Atomic Energy Administration (IAEA) inspectors in for “snap inspections.”

First of all, there have never been “snap” inspections.

In the JCPOA, the 2015 nuclear deal, the P5 plus 1 powers, (The United States, Russia, China, France, Great Britain plus Germany) argued for simply a 24 hour warning before the IAEA inspectors were allowed to enter the sites. The Iranians, who are such tough negotiators argues that they need 24 days, and the rest of the world powers gathered around the negotiating table agreed to their demands.

And beyond that, although the JCPOA was agreed to in May of 2015, their parliament, the Mahjlis voted on a series of amendments, in October of 2015, one of which was that they would not allow the IAEA inspectors to access military sites. That is one of the reasons why our version of the JCPOA in English is a great deal shorter than the Iranian version, in Farsi.

Therefore, any time the IAEA inspectors are suspicious about nuclear activity, they can simply hang out a sign stating that this is a military site.

The fact that the Biden administration caved to this Iranian ruse does not augur well for the future of our negotiations with the Islamic Republic.

The stakes are very high. Secretary of State Tony Blinken has said that the Iranians are weeks away from nuclear breakout, (having enough highly enriched uranium for one nuclear bomb).

We, at EMET believe as, President Ronald Reagan said, “Trust, but verify.”

However, with the Iranians it should be “First verify, and then trust.”

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About the Author

Sarah Stern
Sarah Stern is founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET).

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