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Opinion
Bobby Ghosh

In the Nuclear Face-Off With Iran, Biden Just Blinked

The U.S. offer of some sanctions relief for Tehran’s nuclear program is an empty gesture that betrays weakness.

Tehran will interpret the latest sanctions waivers as a weakening of presidential will.

Tehran will interpret the latest sanctions waivers as a weakening of presidential will.

Photographer: Yuri Gripas/Abaca

For months, President Biden has given the impression that he is prepared to play hardball with Iran over its nuclear program. As the world powers have negotiated with the Islamic Republic to revive the 2015 agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the U.S. has maintained that the theocratic regime in Tehran would get no relief from sanctions until it returns to compliance with the deal’s terms.

The Biden administration also let it be known that it had reviewed a range of military options to prevent Iran from producing a nuclear weapon. When Tehran ignored the admonition and ramped up its uranium enrichment capacity, the U.S. took its tough talk up a notch, saying fresh sanctions would be imposed if the negotiations in Vienna to restore the deal didn’t produce results.