While the negotiations with Iran have taken a backseat to the drama of the Russia-Ukraine war, the Biden administration is still desperately trying to salvage the remains of the Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran.
But there are growing concerns about the U.S. negotiating with Iran, and people are questioning whether these are turning into negotiations with terrorists.
White House press secretary Jen Paski did not help allay these fears during a press briefing on Wednesday. She instead said the negotiations were still ongoing and had nothing more to offer.
Just before the war broke out in Ukraine, negotiations were still being held in Vienna, Austria, between Iran and the world powers that were part of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The talks, however, took a monthlong pause when Russia demanded that it still be allowed to trade with Tehran, even in spite of the heavy sanctions the West put in place in response to the invasion of Ukraine, PBS News reported.
However, aside from the complication with Russia, there are also concerns about negotiating with Iran after it fired missiles in Iraq that struck near a United States Consulate compound being built in the Kurdish region there, The New York Times reported.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps claimed the attack in a statement posted on Iranian state media. The IRGC linked the U.S. presence in Iraq with Israel and claimed that the missiles were aimed at “the strategic center of the Zionist conspiracies in Erbil.”
This does not bode well for the negotiations. In light of such open hostility, it would be reasonable to expect another pause or even abandonment of negotiations.
After all, the IRGC is officially on the list of State Department recognized terrorist groups.
A reporter first asked Psaki, “Is the White House willing to delist the IRGC from the Foreign Terrorist Organization list in order to get a deal with Iran?”
“We’re still in the negotiations, so I’m not going to speculate or outline from here what the final details look like,” Psaki said, in a non-answer way.
The reporter tried to push Psaki to an answer.
“And these are likely the group responsible for firing missiles at U.S. facilities in Iraq. So as long as Americans aren’t killed, are there — are there are no consequences for something like that, all in an effort to get a nuclear deal?” the reporter asked.
To which Psaki just answered again, “Again, you’re speculating on something that is not even finalized. The deal is not finalized.”
She cushioned her answer a bit more by saying that there is urgency to negotiations because Iran’s growing nuclear capabilities are a threat to the U.S.
But having negotiations with Iran at all is having negotiations with terrorists. The IRGC is not just some individual group operating in Iran. It is an integral part of the government in Tehran. Over the decades it has more or less been the “power behind the throne” in Iran.
It runs intelligence operations. It is connected with the military and runs parts of it. It also significantly controls the economy.
“The IRGC has now become a main center of power that has control of many aspects of Iran’s politics. It is an organization that definitely has to be reckoned with, even by the religious authorities,” the Center for Strategic & International Studies reported.
So when the U.S. negotiates with Iran, it is also negotiating with IRGC, which should be concerning.
Psaki’s non-answers just highlighted this fact.
Sure, Iran’s nuclear capabilities might be a threat to the U.S., as Psaki referenced, but Tehran is a menace to America, even without nuclear weapons, as made clear in Iraq.
Yet, instead of punishing Iran for these attacks, or for the long years of terrorism from the IRGC, the Biden administration is still set on putting the U.S. back into a deal with Iran.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.