The Biden administration must be tough on Iran
The Biden administration must be tough on Iran
Unfortunately, the Biden administration is being too soft on the Iranian regime. It is now up to the White House to take a tough stance on the regime before it is too late.
Tehran gets away with a level of violations not seen since US President Joe Biden took office. With regard to its nuclear program, the theocratic establishment has now reached a record level of advancement. The New York Times reported last month: “By most accounts, Iran is closer to being able to produce a bomb today than at any other time in the two-decade saga of its program. nuclear – even if it plans, as many national security officials believe, to stop short of producing an actual weapon.
Some of the critical advances include the enrichment of a substantial amount of uranium – up to 60% purity, a short technical step away from the 90% purity required to build a nuclear weapon. Last month, US allies France, Germany and the UK warned that the Iranian government’s latest actions were “further reducing the time it would take for Iran to move towards a first nuclear weapon and… fuel distrust of Iran’s intentions”. Even one of the top Biden administration officials acknowledged that Iran was only weeks away from obtaining nuclear capability. Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued the warning in April during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.
The Iranian regime is also digging an underground nuclear facility in Natanz which would be extremely difficult to bomb. Even Israel does not have the military capability to attack this underground nuclear site. In a report released earlier this year, the President of the Institute for Science and International Security, David Albright, pointed out: “Fordow is already considered to be so deeply buried that it would be difficult to destroy it with an attack. Aerial. Natanz’s new site might be even harder to destroy.
Such nuclear violations would have been considered major transgressions under previous US administrations and would likely have triggered proportionate responses against Iran’s clerical establishment.
Tehran gets away with a level of violations not seen since Biden took office.
Dr Majid Rafizadeh
As Iranian leaders see the Biden administration taking no firm action against them, they have become even more emboldened in stepping up their nuclear program. The International Atomic Energy Agency’s latest report on Iran’s nuclear program revealed that the regime is preparing to increase its uranium enrichment at the Fordow plant. According to a June 20 Reuters report, Iran is “further stepping up its uranium enrichment as it prepares to use advanced IR-6 centrifuges at its Fordow underground site that can more easily switch between enrichment levels.”
Meanwhile, the Biden administration does not appear to hold accountable those who violate Iran’s sanctions. For example, since Biden took office, Iran’s oil exports have increased despite US sanctions. Under the Trump administration, Iran’s oil exports have been reduced to 100,000 to 200,000 barrels per day. But it currently exports more than a million barrels a day, of which about 70-80% goes to China. “Oil sales have doubled. We don’t worry about oil sales,” hardliner chairman Ebrahim Raisi boasted in May.
Iran is also sending massive amounts of oil to Venezuela without either country facing any consequences or fearing repercussions from the Biden administration. Last month, an Iranian-flagged tanker carrying nearly a million barrels of crude oil arrived in Venezuelan waters. This was the third delivery of crude supplied by the Iranian company Naftiran Intertrade to the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA.
With regard to the Middle East, the Iranian regime has escalated its destabilizing and destructive behavior. For example, it continues to intensify its arms trafficking to the Houthi militia in Yemen. In a February report, the UN Panel of Experts on Yemen said that “there are several critical pieces of evidence that indicate that the Islamic Republic has been smuggling weapons into Yemen, in violation of the United Nations Security Council resolution 2140. Last year, a cargo ship was discovered heading to Yemen from the port of Jask in southern Iran, carrying a variety of rifles and launchers. They had in turn been seized on ships coming from Iran.
The regime has also intensified its sponsorship and employment of terrorist cells in foreign countries.
In a nutshell, the Biden administration has been too soft on the Iranian regime despite its unprecedented level of violations. This approach will only strengthen and make the regime more accountable.
• Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a Harvard-educated Iranian-American political scientist. Twitter: @Dr_Rafizadeh
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