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The Biden administration’s attempt to thrash out a new Iran nuclear deal threatens to provide “legitimacy” to Iran’s nuclear activity and a backdoor for Russia to avoid the harshest effects of sanctions, according to Middle East diplomats.
Danny Danon, the former Israeli Ambassador to the U.N., told Fox News Digital that the deal adds “legitimacy” to Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
“I think it would be a mistake to sign this deal,” Danon said. “It is better to have no deal and to be aware of the threat and the problem.”
Iran and the U.S. agreed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran Nuclear Deal, in 2015 during President Obama’s administration. President Trump withdrew from the plan in 2018 and promised to negotiate a better deal, but President Biden had to take the running on any such new deal.
Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that his country is not bound by any agreement between the U.S. and Iran, and the Biden administration’s approach to negotiations, which started in early 2021, has troubled some allies – most recently regarding Russia’s continued involvement while Moscow maintains its invasion of Ukraine.
“Anyone in the U.S. is sanctioning Russia, but on the other end, they are working with them very closely on the Iran deal,” Danon noted.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov threatened to stall talks with Iran after the U.S. announced its first wave of sanctions when he argued that those sanctions not apply to Russian trade and investment with Iran.
The backdoor relief would continue to dampen the impact of Western sanctions, which this week saw their impact blunted as Russia’s economy regained most of its lost value – though some experts believe that the stabilization will prove temporary.
Another issue at hand is that the deal largely resembles the deal that Obama agreed with Iran. The same deal will not have the same effect as Iran has changed in that time, a Middle Eastern diplomat noted to Fox News Digital. Iran resumed its enrichment of uranium shortly after Trump withdrew from the deal, as well as reviving research and development of advanced centrifuges and expanding its stockpile of nuclear fuel.
“On paper, it’s the same deal, but in reality, it’s a weaker deal,” the diplomat said. “It’s the same deal, but it’s hitting a stronger, more developed Iran.”
The new deal, then, likely will not deter Iran’s ability to achieve nuclear weapons capability. Danon believes that it is likely that a deal would lead to Iran one day suddenly announcing a nuclear test, which will threaten the stability and security of Israel and “moderate” Arab countries in the region.
Israel has also voiced concern that a new deal will provide money that will go directly to the Houthis and fund attacks in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other countries.
“I think the administration wants to declare that it solved the problem, but they will not solve anything,” Danon argued.
“And I think it is better that the eyes of the world will be about what’s happening in Iran with sanctions and with pressure, whether they’re to sign a deal that will actually allow them to continue with their activities and to enjoy the legitimacy for the world.”