The Return of Iran
By Ethan Hay
“The US is the embodiment of evil, then they complain why we chant ‘Death to America. As long as America continues its wickedness, the Iranian nation will not abandon ‘Death to America.”-Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran. (1)
In 1979 there was an overthrow of the Iranian Shah, Reza Ali Pahlavi. The overthrow is officially called the Islamic Revolution, was led by Sayyid Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini, an exiled Islamic scholar who would become known to the world as Ayatollah Khomeini. (2) The result of this ‘revolution’ was the establishment of a theocratic regime that has based its entire legal system off of Islamic law, or rather Sharia law, a system that establishes a patriarchal system, and has historically been abusive towards women. (3) While the country does have elected officials, such as a President, a Prime minister, and a legislative body, the true power of Iran’s political system rests with the Supreme Leader, who controls the military, state run media, and the judicial system, and a twelve, person body called the Guardian council that vets, and approves of which political parties and individuals can hold political office. (4) Another thing that must be considered is that since 1984, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been labeled by the US State Department as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, on a list that includes North Korea, Syria, and Cuba. (5) Iran has also exerted immense political influence in the Southwest Asian, or Middle Eastern region,(6) even having a former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, calling for the nation of Israel to be ‘wiped off the map.’ (7)
In spite of these blatant abuses of power by that regime and these radical views, which are considered to be mainstream by some, in 2015, the Obama administration sought to make a deal with the Iranian regime. This deal, they hoped, would limit the ability of Iran to make a nuclear weapon and lift economic sanctions on the nation, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. (8) This deal was agreed upon, and signed by representatives of seven nations, the US, UK, France, Germany, China, Russia, and Iran, as well as a representative for the European Union. (9) It became one of the landmark accomplishments for the Obama administration. However, this deal was heavily criticized by then presidential candidate, former President Donald J. Trump, who said that he had never seen a deal as ‘incompetently negotiated, as our deal with Iran,’ (10) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the deal a ‘capitulation.’ (11) Upon his 2016 election victory, President Trump vowed to withdraw from the deal, to reinstate sanctions on Iran, and on May 8th, 2018, that goal was accomplished. (12) Since that withdrawal, Iran has breached the terms of the deal a total of five times. (13)
But there is a new president occupying the White House, Joseph R. Biden, and he wants to bring back the deal. (14) Currently in Vienna, Austria, negotiation teams from the US and Iran have come together to either negotiate reinstating the old deal or coming up with an entirely new one. (15) That being said, there are several very large bumps in the road. One of which is that Iran is enriching Uranium levels from 20%, previously agreed upon in JCPOA, to 60%, (16) to which President Biden said that was ‘unhelpful’ in negotiations. (17) While still not to the level required to make the radioactive material weapon ready, it would have to be at 90% for that, (18) but it is sending a clear message of ‘we do not take these negotiations seriously.’ Furthermore, there has been an attack on Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility, which the Associated Press has said damaged several centrifuges. A suspect has been named, and Iran was quick to throw blame on Israel, which is likely to increase the tensions in the region. (19)
Common sense would decree that when dealing with a nation like Iran, one should at the least be cognizant of whom they are dealing with. But yet again, it feels as though it has become a staple of the Biden administration to sell the country down the river. The Biden administration’s eagerness to renegotiate a deal with the theocratic regime of Iran only reaffirms that opinion, all the while adding more fuel to a very large fire that is growing more and more powerful as time goes on. The adults are back indeed, and their either incompetency or their choosing to be purposefully blind to the evils at work in the world are resulting in the collapse of freedom, both at home in the west, and abroad.