Youth Against Empire
During Trump’s reign, he unilaterally withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) which eased US sanctions on Iran in exchange for Iran’s agreement to end weapons grade uranium development.
Excerpting a piece from Counterpunch by Behrooz Ghamari Tabrizi . . .
“Not only did the U.S. withdraw, the Trump administration reinstated the sanctions against Iran and instituted an ever-expanding regime of maximum pressure tantamount to all-out economic warfare. . . .
During his campaign, Joe Biden never categorically declared that his administration would rejoin the Iran nuclear agreement. During the campaign, in a CNN op-ed, he wrote that he “will offer Tehran a credible path back to diplomacy. If Iran returns to strict compliance with the nuclear deal, the United States would rejoin the agreement as a starting point for follow-on negotiations.” Later he continued that those negotiations would involve the Islamic Republic’s violations of human rights and Iran’s role in the regional conflicts. That convoluted position did not make it clear whether, as the President, Biden would return to the nuclear agreement without preconditions. This uncertainty became more evident. Unlike rejoining the Paris Climate Accord and renewed membership in the World Health Organization with a prompt executive order, President Biden left the decision on reviving the JCPOA to an unspecified future date.
Last week’s statements by the Biden appointees made the matter unnecessarily more complicated, sounding more like a continuation of the Trump policy rather than its refutation. In his confirmation hearing, Antony Blinken, Biden’s choice for secretary of state, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the new administration believes that Iran needs to resume strict compliance with the nuclear agreement before the US contemplates a return to the JCPOA. In response to the question of lifting the economic sanctions that the previous administration imposed on Iran, Blinken told the committee that “we are a long way from there.” He further added, “We would then have to evaluate whether they were actually making good if they say they are coming back into compliance with their obligations, and then we would take it from there.” The Biden administration’s ultimate aim would be, he reiterated, a deal that also limited Iran’s missile program and support for regional proxies.
In her confirmation testimony, Biden’s pick for the director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, further complicated the formula on rejoining the nuclear agreement. “I think, frankly, we’re a long ways from that,” she responded to Senator Susan Collins’ inquiry. She then added that Biden and his team would “also have to look at the ballistic missile issues, as well as Iran’s other ‘destabilizing activities’ before rejoining the nuclear agreement.” And to leave no doubts, the White House press secretary Jen Psaki, made it abundantly clear that the president believes that “The United States should seek to lengthen and strengthen nuclear constraints on Iran and address other issues of concern. Iran must resume compliance with significant nuclear constraints under the deal in order for that to proceed.”
The Biden administration’s demand that Iran must fulfill its obligations to an agreement from which the U.S. has withdrawn is an Orwellian framing that was highlighted by the Iranian officials. In an op-ed in Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, argued that the United States needs to return to diplomacy and deliver its obligations to the document they signed in 2015. Once a party leaves an agreement, then that party has no authority demanding others’ compliance to that agreement. Zarif tweeted, “It was the US that broke the deal—for no reason. It must remedy its wrong; then Iran will respond.” The Iranian side argues that the United States needs to rejoin the JCPOA and lift all the Trump-era sanctions without preconditions.”
The only way to assure that Biden will step away from Trump’s disastrous Iran policy is for us to build a massive antiwar movement to effectively demand:
Reinstate JCPOA immediately.
An end to sanctions, the blockade and interference with Iran’s trade with Venezuela and other partners, an end to military threats and provocations against Iran as well as Israel’s military actions toward Iran. US must also end proxy war with Iran in Yemen and Syria.
A first step in such efforts are actions such as this one coordinated by NJ Peace Action to demand that US Senator Robert Menendez act to reinstate JCPOA.
Iran will also be a featured concern at the third protest of 2021 at US Senators Menendez and Booker at One Gateway (Newark, NJ Penn Station) – Details.
More information on this topic at the following links:
Join the fightback – Here are the groups and initiatives organizing around this issue:
Join these actions to press these demands now!
AntiWar Protest Monthly Outside Mendendez and Booker Office One Gateway, Newark NJ- Wednesday, March 10, 5:30 pm One Gateway, Newark, NJ – Fightbackbetter.com