In a new interview with CBS Evening News, President Biden confirmed that his administration will not be lifting sanctions imposed upon Iran in order to bring Tehran to the negotiating table for the restoration of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal.
“Will the U.S. lift sanctions first in order to get Iran back to the negotiating table?” Biden was asked by CBS’s Norah O’Donnell.
“No,” the president replied.
“They have to stop enriching uranium first,” asked O’Donnell.
Biden nodded in response.
With Iran resuming its enrichment of uranium, we asked Pres. Biden if the U.S. will lift sanctions first in order to get Iran back to the negotiating table on a nuclear deal.
“No,” Pres. Biden says, affirming that Iran will have to stop its enrichment program first pic.twitter.com/OPszf15Q1o
— Norah O’Donnell 🇺🇸 (@NorahODonnell) February 7, 2021
There are a few things that are ridiculous about this, the first being that the JCPOA does not require that Iran “stop enriching uranium” at all. As explained by Al-Monitor‘s Arash Karami, the deal only calls for Iran to “keep its level of uranium enrichment at up to 3.67 %”, a level it only began exceeding when the Trump administration backed out of the deal and imposed sanctions. The administration later clarified that Biden meant Iran would have to return to its JCPOA levels before negotiations could begin, but the fact that neither the United States president nor the high-profile reporter interviewing him appear to have been clear on this says a lot about the vapid nature of America’s political/media class.
More importantly, this is confirmation from the horse’s mouth that Biden is in effect continuing Trump’s Iran policy. Trump began strangling Iran with crushing sanctions in an effort to force it to obey US dictates, and Biden is continuing that exact same strangulation while continuing to demand compliance with its dictates. The demands might be a little different, but the effect is identical since Tehran would never bow to either of them.