U.S. stands by demand Iran return to nuclear deal before U.S. does

The insistence that the US will reenter the JCPOA only after Iran resumes full compliance has been met with disbelief in Tehran. It makes no sense for the government that violated all of its commitments to make demands of one of the governments that is still a party to the agreement, and by refusing to rejoin the agreement first Biden is jeopardizing the agreement’s survival for no good reason. And they are tacking on more bullshit for a ‘new’ deal. I’m sure ‘Israel’ helped with that.

The White House later issued a statement saying that Biden “affirmed his personal history of steadfast commitment to’ Israel’s security’ and conveyed his intent to strengthen all aspects of the U.S.-Israel partnership, including our strong defense cooperation.”

Listening to Blinken here,there are strings attached. He doesn’t even sound hopeful, because it’s bullshit.

The White House later issued a statement saying that Biden “affirmed his personal history of steadfast commitment to Israel’s security and conveyed his intent to strengthen all aspects of the U.S.-Israel partnership, including our strong defense cooperation.”

 

Iran Foreign Minister Tells Biden US ‘Violated’ Nuclear Deal, So It Is US ‘That Has to Return’

While U.S. President Joe Biden insisted Sunday that Tehran must halt its uranium enrichment program before the U.S. rejoins the Iran nuclear deal, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif countered that it was former President Donald Trump who abandoned the agreement and deprived Iranians of food and medicine—and therefore the onus is on Washington to bring the U.S. back into compliance with the pact by lifting all sanctions on Iran.

“The sooner the current administration returns to international obligations, the sooner it can start rebuilding its reputation across the globe.”
—Javad Zarif, Iranian Foreign Minister

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has demanded that Tehran adhere to the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) before the U.S. does. When asked by CBS anchor Norah O’Donnell on Sunday if the U.S. will “lift sanctions first in order to get back to the negotiating table,” Biden responded curtly: “No.” And White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Monday reiterated that “it’s really up to Iran to come back.”

But Zarif made the case that “it was the United States that left the deal [and] it was the United States that violated the deal” in 2018 when Trump withdrew from the agreement and imposed sanctions on Iran. “So it is for the United States to return to the deal to implement its obligations.”

“Iran never left the deal,” Zarif told CNN host Fareed Zakaria on Sunday. “Iran is in the deal. Iran has reduced some of its commitments, in line with the deal,” he said, referring to Iran’s decision to resume uranium enrichment—though well below levels required to develop nuclear weapons— after the U.S. breached the agreement by reinstating sanctions.

“The way to go back to full compliance, on the part of Iran, is for the United States, which has totally left the deal, to come back and implement its obligations,” Iran’s foreign minister added. “Now it’s clear, it’s a decision that President Biden and his advisers need to [m]ake. Whether they want to break with the failed policies of President Trump, or whether they want to build on his failures.”

“If they want to build on his failures” Zarif warned, “they will only get failure as a result.”

According to Zarif, Iran has “a statutory requirement to reduce the presence of U.N. inspectors… somewhere around February 21,” at which point “you will not see the additional protocol implemented in Iran,” a reference to Tehran’s plan to expel United Nations nuclear inspectors if the U.S. does not lift sanctions in the next two weeks.

When you withdraw from Syria because you say you want to bring the troops home but then assassinate an Iranian general while he’s abroad.

“That doesn’t mean the window [for diplomacy] is fully shut,” Zarif added, stressing that “if the United States and its partners return to the deal, return to full compliance, Iran will reverse its actions. All the actions we are taking are reversible.”

“But obviously,” Iran’s top diplomat noted, “it would be much simpler if the United States decided to make good on its commitments earlier rather than later. And it is good for the United States’ reputation because President Trump not only destroyed the reputation of the United States domestically but he destroyed the reputation of the United States internationally.”

Emphasizing that an “international agreement is not a revolving door” enabling one party “to simply come and go as they please,” Zarif said that “the United States must make it clear and must give guarantees to Iran and other members of the deal that the behavior of President Trump will not be repeated because the international community has suffered enough from the lawlessness of somebody who acts on a whim.”

Psaki on Monday claimed that “if Iran comes into full compliance with its obligations under the JCPOA, the United States will do the same, and then use that as a platform to build a larger and stronger agreement that also addresses other areas of concern.”

“The entire nuclear deal is non-negotiable because it was fully negotiated. We need to implement something that we negotiated.”
—Zarif

With respect to U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan’s previously stated desire to make negotiating limitations on Iran’s ballistic missile program a precondition for U.S. reentry into the deal, Zarif said that Sullivan, who was part of the Obama team that negotiated the JCPOA in 2015, “should know better.”

According to Zarif, “It was because of the United States’ inability to address its own military sales to our region, hundreds of billions of dollars of military sales… going to the countries that are committing genocide and war crimes in Yemen and elsewhere” that restricting Iran’s ballistic missile program was not on the negotiating table more than five years ago.

“We agreed on what to deal with and what not to deal with,” added Zarif. “The United States cannot base its policy on ‘what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable.'”

Stressing that “we do not buy the horse twice,” Zarif clarified that “the entire nuclear deal is non-negotiable because it was fully negotiated. We need to implement something that we negotiated.”

Iran’s foreign minister continued:

Put yourselves in our shoes. You agreed to a deal. You agreed to give and take. You agreed to sacrifice certain demands that you had because you agreed not to deal with certain issues…

We waited for five years. The United States did not implement the deal, but we did implement the deal. And we did fulfill our promises, and we are going to fulfill our promises again if the United States fulfills its promises…

We agreed on the JCPOA. The United States should start making good on its promises that it violated for four very, very long years for Iranians.

“The sooner… the current administration returns to… international obligations,” said Zarif, “the sooner it can start rebuilding its reputation across the globe.”

Israel warns Biden against reviving the Iran nuclear deal

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu Holds 45-Second Silence in U.N. Speech on Make a GIF
Aviv Kohavi said the Biden administration should not return to JCPOA

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi said on Tuesday that he ordered the military to draw up new plans to attack Iran’s nuclear program.

He also warned the new Biden administration against reviving the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.

“I have ordered the IDF to prepare a number of operational plans, in addition to the existing ones,” Kohavi said. “We are studying these plans and we will develop them over the next year.”

Kohavi’s comments are just the latest threatening comments towards Iran from Israeli officials. Earlier this month, an Israeli minister from the Likud party said Israel will have to attack Iran if the Biden administration returns to the JCPOA.

Warning against a revival of the JCPOA in his comments on Tuesday, Kohavi said the new administration should not let up the pressure that the Trump administration left on Iran in the form of crippling economic sanctions.

“These pressures must continue. No matter what happens. Anything that releases that pressure gives them oxygen gives them air and will allow them to continue to violate the current agreement,” he said.

Kohavi, like most Israeli officials, warned that Iran is racing to develop a nuclear weapon.

He cited Iran’s recent decision to increase uranium enrichment to 20 percent as an example of this.

But uranium enriched at 20 percent has a civilian purpose. It is used to make fuel rods for the Tehran Research Reactor, a facility built by the US in the 1960s that can make medical isotopes.

The Iranians only recently decided to increase enrichment to 20 percent as a response to the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the prominent Iranian scientist who was killed in an apparent Israeli plot.

Iran has also made it clear that they will return to compliance with the JCPOA if the US lifts sanctions.

Returning to compliance means reducing uranium enrichment and other violations of the deal that Kohavi cited as reasons to plan an attack on Iran.

Israel rejects call to join anti-nuclear treaty

“As a non-signatory state of the NPT, Israel is not obligated by the decisions of this conference, which has no authority over Israel,” the Israeli government said in an emailed statement.

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel on Saturday rejected as “flawed and hypocritical” a declaration by signatories of a global anti-nuclear arms treaty that urged it to sign the pact and make its atomic facilities subject to U.N. inspections.

All 189 parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, including the United States, called on Friday in a declaration that singled out Israel for a conference in 2012 to discuss banning weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.

“As a non-signatory state of the NPT, Israel is not obligated by the decisions of this conference, which has no authority over Israel,” the Israeli government said in an emailed statement.

“Given the distorted nature of this resolution, Israel will not be able to take part in its implementation,” it said.

The 28-page declaration said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and key states would arrange a conference that would include all nations in the region, by implication including bitter enemies Israel and Iran.

Israel is presumed to have a sizable nuclear arsenal but neither confirms nor denies it. It is the only Middle East state that has not signed the NPT and, like fellow non-members India and Pakistan, did not take part in the review conference.

U.S. officials, irked at efforts to single out Israel, made clear the proposal might go nowhere, saying the Middle East could not be declared WMD-free until broad Arab-Israeli peace prevailed and Iran curbed its uranium enrichment programme.

“HYPOCRITICAL”

Alluding to this point, the Israeli statement said: “This resolution is deeply flawed and hypocritical. It ignores the realities of the Middle East and the real threats facing the region and the entire world.”

Iran was not mentioned in the NPT declaration.

Israel and Western powers suspect Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons capability due to its past concealment of nuclear activity from the watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency and continued restrictions on IAEA access.

Tehran says it is enriching uranium only to generate electricity and isotopes for agriculture and medical treatment.

The Israeli statement said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would discuss the NPT declaration with President Barack Obama when the two leaders meet on Tuesday at the White House.

Obama welcomed agreements on a range of non-proliferation issues at the NPT meeting but said he would oppose efforts to isolate Israel and any actions to jeopardize its security.

Israel, whose jets bombed Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981 and mounted a similar sortie over Syria in 2007, has hinted that it could use force to deny Iran the means to build an atomic bomb.

The Israeli government statement said: “The real problem with WMDs in the Middle East does not relate to Israel but to those countries that have signed the NPT and brazenly violated it: Iraq under Saddam, Libya, Syria and Iran.”

Libya in 2003 ended years of international isolation after it promised to give up nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and has followed through on those promises.