I must say, the current administration’s policies certainly provide a target-rich environment. With so many actions that are questionable at best, and dangerous at worst, I am at no loss for column fodder.

Honestly, I can’t keep up with all of them. But some things are so bad they demand comment.

Case in point: the proposed re-entry of the United States into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Iran Nuclear Deal. As has been widely reported in the past, the JCPOA (killed by Donald Trump in 2018) gave Iran permission to exclude nuclear inspectors from specified Iranian military facilities, put a limit that is now only six years from expiry on Iranian nuclear weapon construction technology, and addressed neither continued Iranian missile development nor its ongoing support for terrorists. When the restrictions (had they been observed in the first place) expire, Iran will therefore be able to mount nuclear weapons (and possibly even multiple-warhead MIRV technology) on those missiles. Unrestricted development of such missiles can also reasonably lead to Iranian intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), use of which would be unfettered by the rationality that circumscribed their use by the US, Soviet Union (and successor state Russia), the People’s Republic of China, the United Kingdom, India, Pakistan and France; and by the fear of destruction in retaliation that has thus far stayed North Korea’s hand.

Of course, these known downsides of the JCPOA presume no Iranian cheating. But given neither the U.S. nor Iran signed the JCPOA in the first place, nothing has prevented willy-nilly violation of the supposed agreement. With all these things going against the JCPOA, it is astonishing that the Biden administration could even think of re-engaging with Iran.

Yet re-engagement is part of the 2020 Democratic platform which Joe Biden has so slavishly executed thus far. Not only that, but the Democrats appear to have jumped the gun, according to westernjournal.com on Feb. 24. As early as 2019, Barack Obama’s former secretary of state John Kerry, Obama Middle East adviser Robert Malley and Obama-era Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz were involved in negotiations with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, effectively establishing a Democratic parallel foreign policy even as Donald Trump was doing his best to rein in the world’s foremost sponsor of terrorism.

Worse still, as revealed by the New York Times on April 25, Kerry informed Zarif that Israel had attacked Iranian interests in Syria at least 200 times. Zarif was reportedly astonished that Kerry would make the revelation.

But never mind the blatant illegality of all such activity. Even after all that, Iran – so far from at least graciously accepting the re-engagement – has demanded conditions on resumption of formal negotiations, coupled with flat-out refusal to negotiate informally.

It has demanded the end of sanctions imposed by the Trump administration for its cheating on the deal – cheating shown by the discovery by inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency back in 2019 and 2020 of evidence that Iran had been enriching uranium to a rate of 20 percent instead of the permitted 3.67 percent. Iran has previously announced it would continue the 20 percent enrichment rate until the U.S. lifted all sanctions.

And sadly if predictably, Joe Biden rolled over and played dead. On April 21, as reported by the Associated Press, the administration announced it was prepared to end some sanctions and talk about others. The lesson: cheat and Biden will give you a pass.

Especially if you pressure his administration and push it around. As reported by American Military News on April 24, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) speedboats swarmed two U.S. Coast Guard vessels on April 2 in international waters of the Persian Gulf, maneuvering within 70 yards of the U.S. vessels in what the U.S. Navy called “unsafe and unprofessional” maneuvers. The boats kept crossing the ships’ bows, risking collision, and “buzzing” the ships for about three hours.

So why – if this incident took place on the 2nd – didn’t we hear about it until the 24th? Well, coincidentally, on April 2 the Biden Administration announced it would begin indirect talks with Iran regarding returning the U.S. to the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement. Sure looks like a cave-in to me – and the administration didn’t want anyone to connect the dots.

Of what value is a return to any sort of agreement with a country that (a) cheats openly on such agreements and (b) exerts such heavy-handed pressure to get us to return to it?

I’m not the only one who thinks this agreement creates a fool’s paradise for those wishing to return to it. “Israel believes that going back to the old agreement will pave Iran’s path to a nuclear arsenal,” said the office of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as reported by the Jerusalem Post on Feb. 19.

You and a whole lot of others, Bibi.

Gary Exelby is a reporter for the Paragould Daily Press. He can be reached at gexelby@paragoulddailypress.com

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