Tuesday, November 10, 2020

  • Tuesday, November 10, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
Times of Israel reports:

Amos Hochstein, a former aide to President-elect Joe Biden, tells Israeli television that rejoining the Iran nuclear deal remains “high on his agenda.”

“I believe that in the first months [of his presidency], we’ll either see him rejoin the deal fully, or what I would call ‘JCPOA-minus,’ meaning lifting sanctions in exchange for suspending some of the Iranian nuclear programs [developed] in the past three years,” he tells Channel 12.

Hochstein, who oversaw energy sanctions on Iran under former president Barack Obama’s tenure, says Biden wants “some changes” to the pact clinched in 2015 — which Trump withdrew from in 2018 — including its expiration date.
It isn't as if Biden hasn't pretty said all of this already. He wrote in an op-ed in September exactly how he plans to get "tough" on Iran.

[T]here is a smart way to be tough on Iran, and there is Trump's way....

First, I will make an unshakable commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

Second, I will offer Tehran a credible path back to diplomacy. If Iran returns to strict compliance with the nuclear deal, the United States would rejoin the agreement as a starting point for follow-on negotiations. With our allies, we will work to strengthen and extend the nuclear deal's provisions, while also addressing other issues of concern. This includes working aggressively to free unjustly detained Americans and calling out the regime for its ongoing violations of human rights, including the execution of wrestler Navid Afkari this week and the wrongful detention of political prisoners, such as human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh. And we will work to help our partners reduce tensions and help end regional conflicts, including the disastrous war in Yemen.
If re-joining the JCPOA is the starting point to try to pressure Iran, what incentive does Iran have to negotiate about ballistic missiles or human rights after the US re-joins? What other carrots or sticks are there?

Biden is showing all his cards and then expecting Iran to somehow pretend it hasn't seen them.

Iran is hurting because of Trump's sanctions. But Biden is acting as if the US is dying to re-join the JCPOA and will do anything necessary to have that happen. 

In other words, Biden is setting the stage to make the JCPOA even worse than it was, not better!

Iran is of course acting like a rational poker player:
Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Monday reacted coolly to suggestions that US President-elect Joe Biden would revive the 2015 nuclear deal between the Tehran regime and six world powers including America.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told a news conference in Tehran that the Islamist regime was “not aware” of comments made by an aide to Biden suggesting that a modified version of the original deal was on the table.

Khatibzadeh described the JCPOA — the technical term for the Iran deal — as the fruit of ten years of negotiation that was legally binding on all parties.
Iran is sending a message opposite to Biden's. It is saying that he US rejoining the JCPOA is not a big deal, and anyway the US is legally obligated to so don't even think of asking for more concessions. 

Biden is squandering any chance the US had of negotiating a better Iran deal by telling Iran that (a) restoring the deal is one of his top priorities, (b) he will not condition any return to JCPOA on Iranian actions to make the world a safer place, and (c) after the US grovels to rejoin the JCPOA, then it will beg Iran to pretty please stop terrorism and other bad things without having anything left to negotiate with.

If you want a textbook case on how not to negotiate, this looks like it. 




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