Joe Biden’s administration is restarting negotiations with the hardline Iranian regime about its nuclear capabilities by waiving sanctions against its power to raise revenue by selling electricity to Iraq.
The Washington Free Beacon reports that the administration issued the sanctions waiver on November 19, but Congress was not advised until November 29, just as nuclear negotiations were resuming. The timing and lack of disclosure led to accusations that the White House is attempting to appease the Iranians before negotiating a restart of the 2015 nuclear agreement entered into by the Obama administration.
Iran has reportedly been increasing the capabilities of its nuclear program in recent months, including in uranium enrichment and building modern nuclear centrifuges.
Former Trump National Security Council member Richard Goldberg described the waiver allowing electricity sales as a “dressed up Chanukah present” to Tehran. He added that it is an “unfortunate example of projecting weakness” just as the U.S. should project strength, also saying that it “just screams desperation.”
Iran is allegedly demanding that the U.S. remove all of the sanctions imposed by President Donald Trump, and the Biden administration appears willing to do so. The latest waiver provides 120 days for Iran to sell electricity to Iraq without penalty.
The State Department said that the delay in transmitting the news of the waiver to Congress was caused by the Thanksgiving holiday while maintaining that the waiver is in the national security interests of the U.S.
The message conveying the news of the waiver said that the electricity sales to Iraq are essential because they will provide for Iraq’s “continued concrete political and economic cooperation.” The first week of renewed nuclear discussions with Iran also shows little progress.
Iran’s uranium program is currently enriching the primary component of an atomic weapon to greater than 20 percent purity, exceeding the levels allowed under the current terms of the nuclear agreement. Iran is reportedly moving toward processes that would produce 90 percent pure uranium usable in a nuclear weapon.