Analysis: Why Is Mnuchin Pushing For A Return To Appeasement Of Iran?

by Jonathan S. Tobin, JNS –

Excerpt: Iran’s people deserve sympathy for their coronavirus suffering. But the regime that oppresses them and is still working on a dangerous nuclear program deserves none.

The tyrants of Tehran are in trouble. The coronavirus pandemic has hit Iran particularly hard. That’s due, in no small measure, to the fact that, like their counterparts in China, the theocrats running the country suppressed news about the spread of the deadly disease, hampering efforts to contain it.

Nevertheless, they are determined to exploit the natural sympathy generated by the country’s plight in order to advance their political agenda.

Unfortunately, those who wish to resurrect America’s former policy of appeasement of Iran—a group that includes Obama administration alumni, Obama’s mainstream media “echo chamber,” and European nations that are desperate to trade with and avoid confrontation with Tehran—are supporting the Iranian government’s efforts.

They’ve tried to mobilize their considerable influence in an effort to undermine the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” effort to force the regime to renegotiate the 2015 nuclear deal in order to end Iran’s nuclear program, as well as to stop supporting international terrorism and building illegal missiles.

Unfortunately, they’re now also being aided by one of the most important figures in the Trump administration: Treasury Secretary Mnuchin. As JNS reported, Mnuchin has apparently succeeded, despite objections from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in getting the White House to agree to extend a waiver on U.S. economic sanctions that will allow Russian, Chinese and European companies to keep operating at Iranian nuclear facilities.

Those waivers are among the last remaining vestiges of Obama’s disastrous pact that enriched and empowered the regime, while also allowing it a legal path to a nuclear weapon.

Why is Mnuchin pushing for the extension of the waivers?

It appears that Mnuchin is seeking to change the administration’s basic purpose in dealing with Iran from one that is aimed at replacing Obama’s deal to one that bows to European and Russian pressure to maintain it in place.

Mnuchin is apparently more interested in good relations with the international community than in using American economic power to roll back the alarming gains that Iran has made in the Middle East as a result of Obama’s misguided attempt to bring about a rapprochement with Tehran.

This is a huge mistake. As Richard Goldberg of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies—a key resource on Iran—has written, the argument for retaining the waiver would be if the Europeans, Russians and Chinese promised to hold Iran accountable for their violations of the deal and to “snap back” sanctions, as they are pledged to do under the pact. …

|March 31, 2020
Jonathan S. Tobin is editor in chief of JNS—Jewish News Syndicate. Follow him on Twitter at: @jonathans_tobin.

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