With negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program dormant, the Biden administration is getting slammed for leaving its foreign policy toward the rogue state in the lurch.
Critics are blasting Biden — and his former boss — for failing to devise a “Plan B” to keep Iran from developing a nuke now that diplomacy has collapsed, the Washington Times reports.
Biden in limbo on Iran
The Trump administration maintained a policy of “maximum pressure,” in a stark departure from Obama’s conciliatory approach, and pulled out of the Iran deal, which offered sanctions relief in exchange for limits on Iran’s nuclear program.
Biden has made fruitless efforts to revive the now-defunct agreement, but the administration recently pulled back from diplomacy because of Iran’s support for Russia’s war with Ukraine. Iran’s recent crackdown on domestic unrest has also added to tensions.
Just what Biden plans to do next is far from clear.
A top negotiator for the State Department, special envoy Robert Malley, recently conceded that bringing the Iran deal back is “not even on the agenda.”
“It is not on our agenda. We are not going to focus on something which is inert when other things are happening…and we are not going to waste our time on it… if Iran has taken the position it has taken,” Malley said.
Former Pentagon official Michael Rubin, a scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, said that Biden’s lack of options underscored the problem with Barack Obama’s original approach.
“A lack of plan B has been the problem in Iran strategy throughout the JCPOA era,” he said.
“First Obama’s and then Biden’s failure to enunciate a best alternative to a negotiated agreement convinced the ayatollahs [in Iran] that negotiators … were desperate.”
An official told Axios anonymously that the administration is moving ahead is “as if there is no nuclear deal and is taking steps to ensure the U.S. has a ready military option [emphasis added].”
So the Biden administration is preparing for military conflict with Iran, even as Biden concedes that the war in Ukraine, which Biden has refused to peacefully resolve, is bringing the real threat of “nuclear Armageddon.” Is this the “normalcy” that Biden promised?