Opinion Trump allowed Iran to go nuclear, but Biden will get the blame

cigaretteman

HR King
May 29, 2001
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By Max Boot
Columnist |
July 13, 2022 at 6:00 a.m. EDT

As he travels around the Middle East this week, President Biden is struggling with the fallout of what may turn out to be the single worst diplomatic blunder in U.S. history: President Donald Trump’s 2018 decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. Even though Iran was complying with the agreement, Trump called it “defective at its core” and warned that “if we do nothing … in just a short period of time, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror will be on the cusp of acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapons.”
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When Trump spoke those words, Iran’s “breakout time” — the period it would need to accumulate enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon — was about a year. In May, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran’s breakout time was essentially at zero. Under the nuclear deal, Iran could not enrich uranium beyond 3.67 percent. Now it is enriching up to 60 percent (far closer to weapons grade) and its stockpile of enriched uranium is 18 times greater than what was allowed under the nuclear deal. Iran already has enough highly enriched uranium to make a nuclear bomb within a few weeks. Within six months it could produce five bombs.
Needless to say, Iran also hasn’t complied with the “12 very basic requirements” that Mike Pompeo, Trump’s secretary of state, imperiously laid out a couple weeks after the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal. Pompeo demanded, inter alia, that Iran stop developing “nuclear-capable missile systems,” “end support to Middle East terrorist groups,” “withdraw all forces under Iranian command” from Syria, and “end its threatening behavior against its neighbors.” The Trump administration tried to signal its seriousness by killing Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s feared Quds Force, in January 2020.
Yet Iran remains in the terrorism business (Turkey just uncovered an Iranian plot targeting Israeli tourists), and it hasn’t reduced its support for proxies such as the Houthis in Yemen or the Assad regime in Syria. Iran had largely stopped attacking U.S. troops in the region when the nuclear deal was in effect, but its militias have now ramped up strikes against bases in Syria and Iraq where U.S. personnel are based.


This isn’t all Trump’s fault. While Biden was dealt a very poor hand, he also hasn’t played that hand particularly well. The administration did not rush to renew the Iran nuclear deal when it took office, thus losing a valuable window of opportunity before the election in August 2021 of hard-liner Ebrahim Raisi as Iran’s president.
More recently, in April, there were numerous media reports that a nuclear deal had finally been reached and that only one major obstacle remained: Iran’s demand that Biden rescind Trump’s 2019 listing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization. Biden should have done so, because the designation was largely symbolic and would not have affected individual sanctions on the corps’s commanders. But the Senate voted 62-33 for a nonbinding resolution against delisting the guard, and Biden was too afraid of being labeled soft on Iran by Republicans to complete the deal.
But while Biden could have handled Iran better, there is little doubt that we have reached this perilous pass in large part because of Trump’s catastrophic blunder. The shadow of Trump, indeed, looms over efforts to revive the nuclear deal. Iran is not inclined to make any sacrifices today when it knows any deal could be — and probably would be — torn up in 2025 by a future Republican president, perhaps even by Trump himself.
So now that Trump and his “America First” crew have brought us to the brink of disaster, what do they propose to do? Republicans, naturally, have nothing constructive to offer. Their demands (endorsed by 49 of 50 GOP senators) are to not make any concessions to Iran and keep tough sanctions in place. In other words, keep doing what isn’t working.
Biden has to maintain the pretense that the nuclear deal — which is effectively dead — could still be revived because if he were to admit that negotiations had failed, he would have to lay out an alternative strategy to stop Iran from going nuclear — and that strategy simply doesn’t exist. The only other option would be to launch U.S. or Israeli military strikes, but they would be unlikely to eradicate Iranian nuclear facilities that are heavily fortified and hidden. The last thing the world needs right now is another war; the West needs to focus on defeating Russia, not Iran.
Here’s the really cruel irony of the situation: If Iran goes nuclear, Trump will be more responsible than any other American, but Biden will get the blame. Indeed, if Iran tests a nuclear weapon before the 2024 U.S. election, that would further discredit Biden and could hasten Trump’s return to the Oval Office. With his genius for failing upward, Trump has created a no-win situation for the country that could redound to his political benefit.

 

Randon

HR MVP
Gold Member
Feb 5, 2003
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Just another colossal dumb move by Trump! Iran was in compliance, period. Trump's supposed "pressure campaign" to hold Iran in check was an abysmal failure. And besides, this was a unilateral decision by the US and was vehemently opposed by the other countries involved. Iran is now closer to producing a nuke than they have ever been.
 
Nov 28, 2010
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Maryland
"Iran is not inclined to make any sacrifices today when it knows any deal could be — and probably would be — torn up in 2025 by a future Republican president, perhaps even by Trump himself."
 
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Nov 28, 2010
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Biden is struggling with the fallout of what may turn out to be the single worst diplomatic blunder in U.S. history: President Donald Trump’s 2018 decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal.
Or 2nd worst blunder.

While Biden has returned the US to the Paris Agreement on Climate change, our Republicans, aided by Manchin, and working through the corrupt Supreme Court, have made it nearly impossible for us to meet our targets.

Without US leadership, the fight against climate change will fare poorly, if at all.

"Worse than nuclear war," you ask?

Yes. Because Iran having nukes doesn't mean there will be a nuclear war. And even if there is a limited nuclear exchange, it doesn't mean a planet that will struggle to support civilization. Whereas unchecked global warming may move slowly, but the results are likely to be worse than anything but an all-out nuclear war.
 
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Nov 28, 2010
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Maryland
Needless to say, Iran also hasn’t complied with the “12 very basic requirements” that Mike Pompeo, Trump’s secretary of state, imperiously laid out a couple weeks after the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal. Pompeo demanded, inter alia, that Iran stop developing “nuclear-capable missile systems,” “end support to Middle East terrorist groups,” “withdraw all forces under Iranian command” from Syria, and “end its threatening behavior against its neighbors.”
When I see demands like this, I immediately think 2 things:

1. Does anyone believe those are serious demands with any chance of being agreed to?

2. What would the US do if the world wanted us to agree to those same basic demands?
 

Rifler

HR Legend
Jan 26, 2011
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"Iran is not inclined to make any sacrifices today when it knows any deal could be — and probably would be — torn up in 2025 by a future Republican president, perhaps even by Trump himself."

Big deals being made directly with any US president are now a thing of the past,.. Congressional approval required.
 

Titanhawk2

HR Legend
Jul 14, 2011
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So did China, Russia, France, UK, Germany and European Union NOT continue to hold Iran to the agreement since they were also in on it?

all of this just because we weren't in on it?

"On 8 May 2019, Iran announced it would suspend implementation of some parts of the JCPOA"
"On 7 July 2019, Iran announced that it had started to increase uranium enrichment beyond the agreed 3.67% limit"
"On 4 November 2019, Iran doubled the number of advanced centrifuges it operates. Iran is also enriching uranium to 4.5%; the agreement limits enrichment to 3.67%"