The Biden administration badly wants a nuclear agreement to replace the 2015 accords that Donald Trump canceled. They have given Tehran almost everything they’ve asked for except one important item: an accounting of all the “undeclared” nuclear activity by Iran, mostly in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Iran wants the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to drop its investigation into that undeclared nuclear activity. They see it as an infringement on their sovereignty — something the prickly mullahs are particularly sensitive about. Presumably, the IAEA and the United States will find a way around the impasse and prepare to sign an agreement that would allow the Iranian government to access tens of billions of dollars of their assets currently frozen in Western banks.
But with the last fortnight of demonstrations in Iran leading to dozens of people being shot dead in the street, we have to wonder why is any Western nation sitting down with these barbarians.
These are some people being injured & killed for protesting the murder of #MahsaAmini
Iran protests spread, death toll rises as internet curbed.
On 2019 protests when regime cut off the Internet,1500 people got killed. Be our voice.#مهسا_امینی
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) September 29, 2022
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) told the Washington Free Beacon that the Biden administration is close to throwing in the towel. “We’ve negotiated for a year and a half through our good friend and honest broker Russia and we got the same thing that we should have expected, which is, they want a better deal than they had before, and if you don’t give them a better deal, then they don’t want a deal,” according to Issa. “They’re basically on the eve of getting a nuclear weapon and don’t want to be talked out of it.”
But despite saying negotiations were at a “dead end,” Biden continues to urge Iran to sign on the dotted line. This, with protests in 100 cities in Iran growing and the nation’s hardline President Ebrahim Raisi saying the blood will really begin to flow soon.
“We all are saddened by this tragic incident … (However)Chaos is unacceptable,” Raisi said in an interview with state TV, while protests continued around the country.
“The government’s red line is our people’s security … One cannot allow people to disturb the peace of society through riots.”
Despite a growing death toll and a fierce crackdown by security forces using tear gas, clubs, and in some cases, live ammunition, social media videos showed Iranians persisting with protests, chanting “Death to the dictator”.
Still, a collapse of the Islamic Republic seems remote in the near term since its leaders are determined not to show the kind of weakness they believe sealed the fate of the U.S.-backed Shah in 1979, a senior Iranian official told Reuters.
During the Iranian revolution in 1979, the United States inexplicably sided with the Islamists — a decision that has resulted directly and indirectly in the death of tens of thousands of innocents. Would a bloody crackdown by the Shah really have been any worse?
That’s the kind of decision Biden has to make. Neither Biden nor former president Barack Obama gave full-throated support to the Iranian protesters and, more importantly, actually called for regime change.
If Biden were to call for regime change in Iran, it would supercharge the protests. But that wouldn’t do much good with the severe restrictions on the internet. Along with supporting the protests, Biden needs to unleash the internet to override the efforts of the Iranian government to squelch it.
Relaxing restrictions on U.S. internet companies to fight the Iranian social media blackout and targeted sanctions against the morality police is a good beginning. However, unless more is done, it will simply be virtue signaling — a misleading, false claim that America is offering substantial support or making a significant difference.
“The amount of support and solidarity from traditionally less-engaged progressive circles in the U.S. and around the world gives one hope that this time is different,” a Senate Democratic aide told Politico. “A global movement of empowered women empowering women is paralyzing for any regime.” But that doesn’t mean Biden will go beyond the milquetoast rhetoric of encouragement.
Someone who was confident in America’s historic role as a revolutionary society and a force for good in the world is what’s needed now. Unfortunately, Joe Biden doesn’t have that in him.
Protests in #Iran have spread to 164 cities and strikes are reported in 62 universities.
This is despite the regime’s massive deployment of security, IRGC and intel units to quell the ongoing uprising.#IranProtests2022 pic.twitter.com/cQ821clZe6
— Mohammad Mohaddessin (@Mohaddessin) September 29, 2022