The Biden Administration’s negotiators are on the verge of obtaining a significant set of concessions from Iran, but the potential deal is, predictably, dismal. The agreement would be significantly weaker than the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was supposed to restore the conditions of the previous agreement.
The agreement is foolishly predicated on Iran’s good faith cooperation. Since Biden lifted maximum-pressure sanctions, Iran has accelerated its nuclear program, reducing break-out time to less than six months. Iran will almost certainly try to talk its way out of ongoing International Atomic Energy Agency investigations. Tehran has already evaded IAEA inspections without a whimper from the Biden Administration.
Moreover, with such a favorable deal for Iran, the US is unlikely to retain enough leverage to pursue a “longer and stronger” deal in the future. It is a point made by Nagel and Dubowitz, authors of a book about the Iran nuclear talks. They regard Washington unwilling to respond to their regional hostility, including frequent attacks on American personnel. Why would the religious dictatorship agree to substantial limitations on its nuclear and missile programs when it already has practically everything it requires?
According to the reports, Russia is the world’s third-largest petroleum producer, producing 10 million barrels of oil per day and serving as Europe’s primary source of oil. Some have proposed quickly reaching an agreement with Iran so that its oil supplies can help alleviate shortages. Negotiations have made significant progress in the last two weeks, and Iran analysts appear optimistic that a deal will be reached soon.
Therefore with the United States’ leverage at an all-time low, communicating to Tehran that it is now critical to the world’s fuel supply is unlikely to deter its rogue behavior. And, given the flimsy constraints of the upcoming nuclear agreement, this bodes ill for future negotiations.