‘They exploited him’ Biden humiliated on nuclear weapons as ‘lax’ US stance a win for Iran

Iran threatens to build nuclear warheads in chilling videos

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US President Joe Biden is mulling over Iran’s offer to comply with a 2015 deal designed to stop it making nuclear bombs. Tehran, which denies wanting nukes, has already responded to the “final text”, presented to the US and Iran by EU mediators during their 16-month-long talks to revive the deal. Under the landmark accord, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran agreed to limit its nuclear programme in exchange for relief from US sanctions.

However, Tehran abandoned its promises and ramped up its enrichment of uranium after then US President Donald Trump pulled America out of the JCPOA in 2018 and reverted to crippling economic sanctions against Tehran.

His successor Mr Biden has given Tehran relief from US sanctions in a bid to resurrect the nuclear deal.

However, the US leader’s approach to Iran has been torn apart by nuclear expert Andrea Stricker of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, she said: “When Biden came into office, he was announcing that he would provide sanctions relief to Iran if they went back into the deal.

“Iran’s ultra-hardliners that were coming into office certainly exploited this.

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“They also had the assistance of Russia and China to help buy their oil and fortify their economy.

“So, I think what they have done is build a resistance economy through the lax enforcement of sanctions by the Biden administration, all the while exploiting the negotiations to make nuclear advances.”

Ms Stricker also noted how Mr Trump had been “less conciliatory” towards Iran than Mr Biden.

Comparing the two US presidents, she added: “I think Biden has presided over these advances.

“Whereas, under the Trump administration, Iran was more restrained with its nuclear advances.

“You can say what you like about the Trump policies in general, but the fact is, they were more restrained.”

In June, officials in the Biden administration stressed that if efforts to salvage the nuclear deal failed, then the US would reimpose sanctions on Iran.

However, Mr Biden faces a difficult decision as he has been accused of being too soft on Iran and therefore allowing Tehran to make secret nuclear advances during the JCPOA negotiations.

Ms Stricker is among those who think that Iran has been taking part in the talks with the US in bad faith so it can “covertly” step up its nuclear programme.

She said: “In my view they are using the negotiations as a way to further their nuclear programme.

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“So, they are getting closer and closer to what we call the ‘nuclear threshold’.

“And if you think of that as like stepping over a step, it will take them the final way to an atomic bomb.

“Once they are at this threshold it is seen as so technically close to being able to make nuclear weapons that they could likely do so before foreign powers could stop them.

“So that is how we view their actions. They could be just drawing out the talks to make covert advances.”

She added: “Particularly in the nuclear weaponisation programme, because that is one pillar of their programme that they had not yet accomplished back in the early 2000s.”

Mr Biden also faces another challenge if he agrees to revive the JCPOA with Iran, according to a new report.

Diplomats warned on Tuesday that if the deal is brought back, Russia plans to use Iran to avoid sanctions over its war in Ukraine.

Under a “swap” arrangement, Iran could buy Russian oil and sell it to countries that have blacklisted Moscow.

One diplomat told Politico: “Iran is a good partner in this endeavour. Russia has a difficulty and Iran has a capability.”

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