Renegotiating JCPOA: Biden, Europe and Iran

Photograph Source: Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äusseres – CC BY 2.0

While this writer never felt that the inauguration of Joe Biden as president would usher in a period of Utopia for the United States, he at least felt that he had climbed out of the rabbit hole into which Alice, in the form of the Electoral College, had shoved him four years earlier.

But, in true Orwellian form, black is white and white is black under this new administration. And nowhere is this bizarre view more pronounced than in the context of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action).

Let us set a baseline of understanding.

After years of negotiations, the U.S., under President Barack Obama (don’t get this writer started on him), Iran and several other nations signed an agreement that limited Iran’s nuclear development program, in exchange for the lifting of many sanctions issued against that nation. This was good news all around: many nations had a major new market for their goods, Iran was able to export its own products and services, and the world, bizarrely, breathed a sigh of relief that Iran would not develop the nuclear weapons that its spokespeople always said it never had any interest in anyway; its nuclear program was for peaceful purposes only.

We will only pause here to mention that the only nation that kicked up any fuss about it was Apartheid-Israel, whose prime minister, the currently-indicted Benjamin Netanyahu, actually spoke to the U.S. Congress, imploring the members of that august body not to approve the agreement. Alas and alack for Netanyahu, his pleas fell on deaf ears.

Anyway, in 2015, the agreement went into effect. United Nations weapons inspectors were given full and free access to any site in Iran they wanted to visit, and the U.S. Congress certified quarterly that Iran was in completely compliance.

But what to our wondering eyes should appear in November of 2016, but a fat, red-faced but far-less-congenial-than-a-merry-old-elf creature not bringing gifts to all sundry, but blustering his way to an Electoral College victory, thus becoming president. This writer hastens to state that he chose not to vote for either of the odious candidates put forth by the Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle Dee (aka Republican and Democratic) Parties, but opted for a third-party candidate instead (Gloria LaRiva of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, in case you are interested). Donald Trump blasted his bloated person onto the U.S. political scene, fueled by racism, Islamophobia, homophobia, misogyny and a hatred of all things Obama, including the JCPOA. Calling it ‘the worst deal ever’ (but certainly not as bad as the one the world got with his presidency), he violated it in 2018, withdrawing from it, re-issuing brutal sanctions, and threatening to sanction the U.S.’s European allies if they, too, didn’t violate it. Iran responded by continuing to maintain compliance for a full year longer.

Enter the elderly Joe Biden who, as a candidate, promised to re-enter the agreement. However, once elected, he began dancing to a somewhat different tune. The U.S., he proclaimed, would be happy to come back into full compliance with the JCPOA if Iran did first. The government of Iran, very reasonably, demurred. Since it was the U.S. that had first violated the agreement, and since it was Iran that had suffered the severe economic hardships from U.S. sanctions, and since the U.S. government had very clearly proven that it could not be trusted, Iranian government officials said that that nation would be happy to comply fully, once all sanctions were lifted.

In the last few days, this writer has been reading articles about how Iran is not taking negotiations seriously, and that the U.S. wants some assurances that Iran will cease its terrorist activities and human rights abuses. My, my! What statements coming from U.S. government sources! Let us look at a few facts about the U.S.

+ The U.S. has 655 of every 100,000 members of its population in prison. Iran has 228. And prisons in the U.S. utilize ‘disciplinary’ tactics that are widely seen as torture by the standards of international law.

+ The U.S. supports anti-Syrian terrorists in Syria, ongoing Israeli genocide against the Palestinians and countless other terrorist activities. The Iranians know this all too well since the U.S. government overthrew their democratically-elected government in 1953 and replaced it with a brutal dictator who reigned for decades. Iran supports its allies, including the Syrian and Yemeni governments.

+ One wonders just how, in the name of all the stars in the heavens, the U.S. can possibly proclaim that Iran must not have nuclear weapons, when the U.S. is the only nation ever to have used them (and against two civilian populations of no military importance whatsoever), and supports the rogue nation of Israel, which possesses them?

So where this disconnect from reality originates can be guessed; the U.S., wanting to save face following its disgraceful withdrawal from an international agreement that had almost universal support, is now trying to make Iran look like the unreasonable party. The U.S. citizenry may buy into it; Iran is a mostly Muslim nation, and Islam is the U.S.’s current big bad wolf.

But despite the apparent acquiescence of some governments (see France; Germany) to the U.S.’s fanciful dictates, much of the global community will simply shake its collective head in disbelief. ‘There goes the U.S. again’, they may say, ‘pretending to be the guardian of international morals while going about the world spreading death and carnage everywhere’. Same old, same old.

One hopes that someone in the Biden administration will bring the president back down to earth, but one is not hopeful. The one thing that the U.S. can never do, under any circumstances whatsoever, is lose face. To admit that a mistake was made, even by a president who was viewed everywhere but in Israel as a dangerous joke, whose petty squabbles with world leaders, celebrities, opposition party members and even members of his own party were played out on the international stage, had taken the U.S. dangerously off course, is simply not allowed. No, the U.S. must always be right, even when the consequences of not admitting a mistake bring the world closer to a major and potentially globally-devastating war.

Perhaps this writer never escaped the rabbit hole after all.


Robert Fantina’s latest book is Propaganda, Lies and False Flags: How the U.S. Justifies its Wars.