November 17, 2021 | The Hill

Virginia elections show that Biden needs a bipartisan approach to Iran

November 17, 2021 | The Hill

Virginia elections show that Biden needs a bipartisan approach to Iran

Excerpt

Elections have consequences. Republican victories in the Virginia governor’s race and House of Delegates, along with an unexpectedly tight gubernatorial race in New Jersey, don’t just signal a domestic political earthquake, but will likely hamper the Biden administration’s efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. If Biden wants any deal to last longer than his time in the White House, he needs to negotiate a deal with bipartisan support from the Senate that the administration will be able to ratify as a proper treaty. Otherwise, history will repeat itself and the next Republican president will pull out of Biden’s deal, just as Donald Trump rejected the deal Barack Obama made with Tehran.

Nothing is permanent in American politics. On Jan. 20, President Biden was inaugurated with slim majorities in the House and Senate, and a nearly 60 percent approval rating. Ten months later, the president’s political clout is clearly on the wane, and his approval rating is underwater. Based on the outcome of the Virginia and New Jersey races, Republicans are now expected to take control of the House and Senate in the 2022 mid-term elections and may be able to mount a successful presidential bid in 2024.

These results are a problem for the Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who wants Biden to guarantee that the United States will not pull out of the nuclear deal again. For the moment, Tehran is earning billions from oil sales and other foreign trade thanks to Biden’s decision not to enforce many Trump-era sanctions that remain on the books. But Khamenei wants sanctions to go away completely and stay away for good.

Mark Dubowitz is chief executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), where Matthew Zweig is a senior fellow. Follow Mark and Matt on Twitter @mdubowitz and @MatthewZweig1. FDD is a nonpartisan research institute focused on national security and foreign policy.

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Issues:

Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran Nuclear Iran Sanctions Sanctions and Illicit Finance