Wednesday, November 18, 2020


Iran wants something from Joe Biden that Donald Trump took away. The Islamic Republic is pressuring the presumed president-elect to return to the terms of the Iran Nuclear Deal, and also to “compensate” Iran for the errors of U.S. ways. Mr. Biden campaigned on a pledge to re-enter the deal, but now that rhetoric is giving way to reality, any new agreement must contain added conditions that better safeguard U.S. national security.

The apparent Election Day victory of Barack Obama’s vice president prompted congratulatory messages from U.S. allies, but from the bearded rulers of Iran has come stern advice: “Now, an opportunity has come up for the next U.S. administration to compensate for past mistakes and return to the path of complying with international agreements through respect of international norms,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told the IRNA news agency.

Iran’s top political leader clearly referred to the nuclear deal that Mr. Obama constructed in 2015 and Mr. Trump withdrew from in 2018. The pact’s temporary restrictions on Iran’s nuclear enrichment program and limited compliance verification rules had the unmistakable look of an atomic armament build-up on the layaway plan.

Moreover, the deal’s bequeathal of billions in economic sanctions relief, and particularly its secret shoveling of $400 million in cash into Tehran’s treasury, appeared to Mr. Trump as an Obama attempt to buy better behavior of an implacable enemy. Mr. Rouhani’s current call on a Biden administration “to compensate for past mistakes” sounds like a demand that as a condition for a deal redux, American taxpayers pay up again.

“Deeds matter most,” tweeted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif following the U.S. election. Indeed, they do. Since Mr. Trump’s bold departure from the multinational deal, the Islamic regime has rekindled its nuclear ambition with a vengeance.

The International Atomic Energy Agency informed member-nations last week that Iran has accelerated its uranium enrichment process, according to The Wall Street Journal. Tehran is stockpiling uranium with 4.5% purity — above the 3.67% permitted under the agreement — and with a mass more than 12 times the allowed limit. The news prompted Mr. Trump to mull strikes on Iran’s nuclear sites, The New York Times reported Monday, before advisers convinced him to table the idea.

Iran’s alarming deeds clearly matter. Taken together with the regime’s incessant support for destabilizing proxy conflicts throughout the Middle East and vows to destroy Israel and America, there is little rationale for accepting Tehran’s reassurance that its nuclear program has no purpose but peace.

Any Biden agreement redux must come only with tougher conditions: Foremost should be Iran’s pledge to allow international inspectors unrestricted access to suspected nuclear sites. Next should be a time extension of the original pact provisions, all of which expire by 2030. Finally, Team Biden should redline any compensation for “past mistakes.” Preventing an Iran Bomb was and is the right thing to do.

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