Putin’s forces ravage Ukraine as his envoy steers Team Biden’s talks with Iran



We all have our behavior patterns.

Start with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who, during the more than two decades he has ruled Russia, has murdered dissidents, slaughtered Chechens, cut off two provinces from neighboring Georgia and conquered Crimea from Ukraine, all while ending the conflict in that country’s east has fueled. He also helped the Assad regime kill Syrians – half a million and counting.

On February 24, Mr. Putin again invaded Ukraine. He has used artillery and bombs to murder men, women and children and reduce cities to rubble. His apparent aim is to subdue Ukraine, to deprive it of its independence, sovereignty and freedom.

Continue with President Biden surrendering in his first year in the White House on the battlefield in Afghanistan to the Taliban, a terrorist organization affiliated with al-Qaeda at the hip. He left behind more weapons than a Ukrainian general could dream of. Then he declared this mission a success.

Mr. Biden now appears keen to capitulate at the Vienna negotiating table to the Islamic Republic of Iran, a regime that funds and directs Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Houthi movement in Yemen, whose catchy slogan is : “Allah is greater, the death of America, the death of Israel, the curse on the Jews, victory on Islam.” He will then declare this mission a success.

While Mr Biden’s stated intention is to isolate Mr Putin, his diplomats in Vienna continue to work hand-in-hand with Mikhail Ulyanov, Mr Putin’s envoy.

That’s because the theocratic regime’s negotiators have refused – out of revolutionary Islamic principles – to sit at the table with the Americans. The Biden team meekly accepted this humiliation.

According to sources, Mr. Ulyanov is not just a mediator, but “the dominant player” proposing compromises to the Americans (who are always flexible) and the Iranians (who are never).

As for Mr. Ulyanov’s interests, do you think it is about peace, international security, non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and a “win-win” outcome? Or does he want to please Mr. Putin by helping Iran’s rulers further humiliate and degrade the United States?

On Saturday, Moscow requested a written guarantee that any sanctions imposed over its war against Ukraine will “in no way affect” its trade and military ties with the Islamic Republic. The Biden administration has dismissed that request — for now.

Perhaps you, along with the US State Department, think that “Russia has a common interest in ensuring that Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon.” If so, think again.

Mr. Putin reckons that any nuclear-tipped ICBMs manufactured by the Iranian rulers will be aimed at America and used to keep America in check while their proxies capture and/or destroy more of the Middle East than they already have.

As Mr. Biden’s “indirect” talks with the clerical regime began, he vowed to create a “longer and stronger” variant of the joint comprehensive plan of action that former President Barack Obama completed in 2015 and from which former President Donald Trump emerged in 2018 exit It is now clear that a shorter and weaker variant – more economic relief in exchange for less verifiable restrictions – has taken shape.

It’s not just sources that say that. It is also Mr. Ulyanov. “Realistically, Iran got more than I honestly expected others expected,” he told a reporter. “That’s a fact.”

He added: “Iranian clerics are fighting for Iran’s nuclear power – national interests like lions. They fight for every comma, every word and usually quite successfully.”

Mr. Biden’s deal will provide Iran’s rulers with billions of dollars to spend on weapons and even nuclear power plants (for peaceful purposes only!) from Russia and use to fund terrorists and threaten their American-allied neighbors.

Mr. Biden will not present his deal to Congress as a treaty (which he clearly should) lest it bind the next administration. However, Russian and Iranian negotiators are reportedly looking for a workaround.

For example, they could persuade Mr. Biden to agree to Iran’s enriched uranium being stored in Russia on the condition that it be returned to Iran if at some point Mr. Putin and the Iranian rulers jointly declare that the Americans violating the uranium regulations consent.

Or they could insist on an “inherent guarantee” that Iran’s rulers can keep their advanced centrifuges on standby, with permission to proceed with enrichment to 60% if they decide the US has breached it.

In contrast, non-compliance and even outright fraud are ignored or forgiven by the theocratic regime. We know this from our experience with the JCPOA.

In that regard, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, said on Saturday that a new deal could not be finalized unless Tehran first settled outstanding issues related to nuclear material found at Iran’s former nuclear sites, which the regime fails to declare Has.

That will take months. Can a deal be announced before these issues are resolved?

Logically no, but in the current era, logic is not a major component in the behavioral patterns that drive American foreign policy.

Was it logical to respond to Mr Putin’s many crimes over the years with a salad of carrots and not enough sticks to make a campfire?

Was it logical to invite him to cooperate with the US in negotiations with the Iranian rulers while excluding the American allies who were most threatened by the Iranian rulers?

Is it logical to give the theocrats in Tehran the means to do in the Middle East what Mr. Putin is doing in Eastern Europe?

Building on too many of its predecessors, the Biden administration has established a shameful and pernicious pattern of behavior: proving itself a harmless enemy and treacherous as a friend.

• Clifford D. May is Founder and President of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a columnist for The Washington Times.


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