First things first: Putin is actually mediating Iran talks on behalf of Team Biden

by WorldTribune Staff, March 15, 2022

Vladimir Putin’s regime is not only being allowed to mediate negotiations on reviving the Iran nuclear deal, but says it has received “written guarantees” from Team Biden that Western sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine will not affect cooperation with Iran within the framework of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday said the United States has agreed to Russia’s demand that the sanctions would not impede the Kremlin’s future dealings with Iran.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov / Maxim Shemetov / Pool via Reuters

“But shouldn’t America also sever the relationship with Putin in the Iran talks? After all, since we don’t trust him in Ukraine and want to isolate him, why should we trust him on whether Iran gets nuclear weapons?” Michael Goodwin noted in a March 12 op-ed for the New York Post.

“Still, the head-exploding question is why didn’t Biden stop the arrangement when Putin launched the Ukraine invasion? And why doesn’t he stop it now as the growing slaughter in Ukraine horrifies the world?”

As for the deal close to being reached, former Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu called it “unbelievable,” worse than its predecessor and posing an unacceptable threat not only to Israel but to the United States.

In a joint news conference, Lavrov and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian rejected claims that Moscow’s demand was presenting an “obstacle” to the nuclear negotiations in Vienna and backed a quick return to the deal that President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from in 2018.

“We received written guarantees. They are included in the text of the agreement itself on the resumption of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program,” Lavrov said.

Moscow made the demand last week amid reports of an imminent agreement after more than 11 months of negotiations aimed at reviving the JCPOA. Team Biden called Russia’s last-minute demand “irrelevant”, while the so-called E3 countries – France, Germany and the United Kingdom – had warned it could lead to the collapse of the talks.

Amirabdollahian said “there will be no connection between developments in Ukraine and the Vienna talks.”

He added: “If we reach an agreement with the U.S. on remaining issues which relate to some of Iran’s main red lines, based on my talks with Mr Lavrov today Russia will remain beside the Islamic Republic of Iran until reaching a good and sustainable agreement, continuing to play the constructive role it has played since the start.”

In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. and Europe have sanctioned Russia’s economy and Putin’s cronies. The West is also supplying weapons to Ukraine and helping to care for more than 2 million refugees.

Meanwhile, according to the Russian state-owned news agency Tass, the Russian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday imposed “personal sanctions against representatives of the U.S. leadership and persons associated with them.”

Russia announced the sanctions against Joe Biden, a number of his top administration officials, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Biden’s son Hunter Biden.

Russia’s alliance with Iran in Syria and elsewhere “ought to have ended any consideration” of Putin “as an honest broker,” Goodwin wrote.

A video carried by Real Clear Politics shows Russia’s chief negotiator in the Vienna talks, Mikhail Ulyanov, praising his Iranian “colleagues,” saying they “are fighting for [their] national interest like lions. They fight for every comma, every word, and as a rule, quite successfully.”

Ulyanov added: “I am absolutely sincere in this regard when I say that Iran got much more than it could expect. Our Chinese friends were also very efficient and useful as co-negotiators.”

Goodwin noted: “There you have it, the new axis of evil — Russia, China and Iran — working together on the nuke pact. Who, pray tell, was fighting for our side?”

Putin knows full well how badly Team Biden wants the Iran deal and the oil supply it would put on the market.

Even after Putin started moving his military into position for the Ukraine invasion, “Biden still trusted Putin to deliver a verifiable deal,” Goodwin noted.

Throughout the nuclear negotiations in Vienna, Iran has refused to meet directly with American negotiators.

Why did Team Biden choose Putin as the go-between?

“The most likely reason is that Iran and Russia maneuvered the U.S. into endorsing the Russian role. Count that as yet another foreign policy screwup by Biden, Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, a k a the Three Blind Mice,” Goodwin wrote.

“It always defied any meaning of common sense for Biden to believe Putin cares about safeguarding America and our allies, including Israel, in negotiations with the mad mullahs. So now is the time to correct the error,” Goodwin added.

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