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Bloomberg published an analysis Thursday written by the editors which called on President Biden to get tougher on Iran over its nuclear program.
The article, titled “Biden Should Show Iran What ‘Plan B’ Looks Like,” argued that the United States “needs to make clear the consequences of letting [nuclear] talks collapse.”
“President Joe Biden’s administration has said for months that there would come a time when the benefits of reviving the Iran nuclear deal no longer outweighed the costs,” the editorial board wrote.
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“That cutoff point, whether US officials admit it or not, may now be weeks away. While diplomacy shouldn’t be abandoned, the US should be using this time to show Iran and its backers what the alternative will look like.”
The editorial board noted that “Iran has provoked the crisis.” “Its stonewalling of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has been investigating nuclear material found at several undeclared sites, prompted a dramatic rebuke last week: Thirty countries voted to censure Iran for its intransigence, with only Russia and China dissenting,” they continued.
“Iran has retaliated by removing nearly half of the cameras monitoring its nuclear facilities while announcing plans to install more advanced centrifuges. The IAEA says if the cameras aren’t reconnected within a month, inspectors will no longer be able to verify key details about Iran’s production of nuclear material and equipment.”
They wrote that without this type of supervision, Iran would be able to build a bomb.
“That would be, as the agency’s head put it, a ‘fatal blow’ to the 2015 nuclear deal,” the editors said. “Without knowing exactly how many centrifuges and how much enriched uranium Iran has, the outside world can’t ensure that Tehran isn’t secretly stockpiling material for a bomb.”
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The Bloomberg editors also noted that “Iran’s lack of cooperation raises questions about the value of any revived deal.” Despite these challenges, they argued that “the US should remain open to compromise.”
However, they wrote that “at the same time, the Biden administration should set aside fears that a tougher approach might derail negotiations.”
“US officials have suggested they’re prepared to shift to a ‘plan B’ if talks fail; they should spell out what that means.”
They called for the Biden administration to start enforcing existing sanctions on Iran “far more robustly,” noting that Iran sells most of its oil to China.
“The administration should start by enforcing existing sanctions far more robustly. Iran’s oil exports rose 30% in the first three months of the year; it claims to be selling more oil than at any time since the US reimposed sanctions in 2018, almost all of it to China.”
They continued, “The Biden administration needs to track and interdict illegal shipments, and follow through on previous threats to sanction Chinese companies involved in the trade.”
The editors also called on the Biden administration to “assemble a regional coalition to counter Iran” and cited the Trump administration’s historic Abraham Accords as a resource that should guide Biden’s policies.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently declared that Biden administration “set the mark” when they made the decision to walk away from the Abraham Accords and return to the “crazy” Iran nuclear deal, leading to higher American energy prices and making “life worse for every American.”
“The stability that we had built during our four years has now just been squandered and thrown away,” he said on “Sunday Morning Futures.” “They’re putting us all at risk.”
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“Finally, Biden should reiterate his vow never to allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon,” the Bloomberg editors said. “Without setting any red lines publicly, he should make clear to the Iranians that any attempt to enrich uranium to weapons grade or to kick out IAEA inspectors could be a trigger for military action,” the editors wrote.
“The US should work closely with Israel on its own capabilities and plans, while continuing high-profile joint military exercises,” they continued, concluding that, “Showing that it’s prepared to defend its interests in the absence of a deal may be the best way for the US to convince Iran to sign one.”
Biden plans to visit Saudi Arabia in July, where some analysts say he hopes to seek help in addressing rising gas prices and confront Iran’s nuclear weapons program.