In a bid to appease Iran and return to the 2015 nuclear deal brokered badly by Obama, the US State Department has restored sanctions waivers that would allow Iran to engage in international nuclear cooperation projects, as Vienna gears up for another round of talks.
“The waivers had allowed Russian, Chinese and European companies to carry out non-proliferation work to effectively make it harder for Iranian nuclear sites to be used for weapons development,” reports Reuters.
The waivers were rescinded by President Trump when he pulled the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal, formerly known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May of 2018.
“The waiver with respect to these activities is designed to facilitate discussions that would help to close a deal on a mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA and lay the groundwork for Iran’s return to performance of its JCPOA commitments,” according to a report sent to Congress, obtained by Reuters, and signed by Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“It is also designed to serve U.S. non-proliferation and nuclear safety interests and constrain Iran’s nuclear activities,” the report reads. “It is being issued as a matter of policy discretion with these objectives in mind, and not pursuant to a commitment or as part of a quid pro quo.”
Removing the sanctions and restoring the waivers will greatly benefit Iran, to the tune of about $29 billion.
“The removal of sanctions would see the release of Iran’s frozen funds held abroad, estimated at some $29 billion, about one third of what’s held abroad by the country,” reports the Daily Mail.
“Iran would once again be allowed to trade with the rest of the world, use global banking systems such as SWIFT to wire money,” the article continues. “Sanctions against exports of Iranian oil would also be removed. Foreign firms would once again be allowed to invest in Iran’s commodities of oil and gas, automobiles, hotels and other sectors.”
And it is precisely this kind of renewed cash flow that has Israel ready to defend itself against Iran, regardless of what the Biden administration does or does not do.
At the INNS 15th Annual International Conference on Feb. 1, Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett declared: “The campaign to weaken Iran has begun.”
Bennett stated that “the removal of sanctions and the flood of billions of dollars for this regime means more rockets, more UAVs, more terrorist cells, more cyber attacks and malign activities. More of everything. By the way, not only against us but also against our American allies in the region and other allies.”
“We are following the nuclear talks in Vienna and we hope that they conclude without an agreement,” Bennett continued. “But even with an agreement, our assessment is that the Iranians will continue to be Iranians. We already see it now. While Iranian foreign ministry officials are negotiating in Vienna with the superpowers, the Revolutionary Guard is behaving like the neighborhood bully and attacking the UAE and other places. This is the definition of ‘negotiation under fire.’ This is blackmail.”
While not naming Biden directly, Bennett did address Israel’s relationship with America and noted that, while the countries will always be friends, D.C. has “its own set of interests.”
“The United States has been, and will always be, our best friend, but Washington has its own set of interests, which we must honestly admit do not always overlap with ours,” Bennett said. “We are speaking honesty and understand one another. Its interest in the region is dwindling. The United States is currently focused on the Russian-Ukrainian border and it is in a strategic conflict with China.”
“This is the reality,” said Bennett. “There is no point in whining about it. We must act within existing circumstances, not in a world that we wished existed.”
Bennett also pointed out that nature abhors a vacuum, and states it could be Israel that fills the one left by the U.S.
“This new reality presents us with challenges, but also creates opportunities,” Bennett said. “In the geopolitical arena, there is no vacuum. A void that is created is immediately filled. The U.S. presence in the region can be filled, God forbid, by the forces of terrorism and hatred, or with the right steps, it can be filled by Israel.”
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