Biden's Iran Deal: It's All About the Oil
On Monday, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called Iran's latest demands in the on-again, off-again nuclear negotiation, "a step backward," making a deal "unlikely." The Iranians want the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to shelve its investigation into Iran's undeclared uranium enrichment activities and figured they could get the U.S. to cave, as it did when John Kerry was leading the U.S. negotiating team in 2015.
Team Biden desperately wants the deal to go through, despite all the insistence from Tony Blinken that the U.S. will only agree to a deal that benefits U.S. national security. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy thinks he knows why.
"Are they trying to get Iranian oil back into the market to try to lower the gas price based on stopping production in America?" he asked Maria Bartiromo on Fox News “Sunday Morning Futures.”
Noting that the administration "has not briefed anyone" on the negotiations, despite numerous reports that a deal is just "days away," McCarthy pointed out that lifting sanctions on Iran and immediately releasing nearly $100 billion frozen oil money would only encourage more Iranian terrorism around the world. In addition, he said, Democrats believe a dramatic drop in gasoline prices would increase their chances in the midterms.
Israel has been observing the body language in Washington with increasing trepidation. On Monday, Israeli interim Prime Minister Yair Lapid reportedly provided hot new intelligence on Iran's nuclear program to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz -- information so sensitive that it apparently caused Germany, France, and the United Kingdom to issue a statement expressing "serious doubts" over Iran's sincerity in the ongoing negotiations.
"We gave information to the Europeans that proved that the Iranians are lying while talks are still happening," an Israeli official told the Times of Israel.
Israel attempted unsuccessfully to discourage the Obama administration from concluding the initial nuclear agreement in 2015, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveling to Washington, D.C., to address a joint session of Congress to make the case against the deal.
On April 30, 2018, it was again Netanyahu who convinced President Donald Trump it was time to make good on his campaign promise to end "the worst deal ever" and withdraw U.S. support from the Iran nuclear agreement, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action (JCPOA).
In a press conference in Tel Aviv at the time, Netanyahu revealed that Israel's Mossad had broken into a warehouse in Tehran and stolen thousands of documents from Iran's secret nuclear weapons program, some of which Netanyahu described in detail. "Netanyahu's revelation provided concrete evidence that the Iranians had failed to comply with the terms of the deal -- and in fact showed that they had never intended to comply," former Trump senior aide Jared Kushner writes in his new memoir.
It's truly astonishing that any analyst capable of reading at a 6th-grade level could conclude any differently, and yet the pro-Tehran lobbyists in Washington and their consorts in the media continue to lie, claiming Iran is not a threat.
Information on Iran's nuclear weapons intentions has been publicly available for over thirty years. I was involved in the early 1990s in making some of it public in a ground-breaking report for the Simon Wiesenthal Center. The Iranians predictably howled, calling the report Zionist propaganda and me an Israeli spy during a live segment on ABC Nightline.
As I recount in a new memoir, And the Rest is History, when I offered to Iran's then United Nations ambassador, Kamal Kharazi, to lead a team of non-governmental experts to Iran to investigate -- and potentially whitewash Iran -- he brushed it aside. "Mister Timmerman, if you come to Iran we will keep you for a very long time," he said.
Today, the International Atomic Energy Agency, under its formidable chief, the Italian Raphael Grossi, is refusing to back away from demands that Iran explain past nuclear weapons research and the presence of traces of weapons-grade uranium at supposedly civilian production sites. In June, the IAEA's 35-nation Board of Governors passed a motion censuring Iran for its non-cooperation. Predictably, Russia and China abstained.
The IAEA has been asking -- begging -- the Iranians for years for "technically credible explanations" to whitewash the evidence of nuclear weapons activity. The fact that the Iranian regime can't even provide that should be a clear indicator of their intent.
The Israelis continue to provide information from Iran's secret Nuclear Archive to governments and researchers. Their most recent revelation involves photographs of a fourth underground site used in "explosive testing of nuclear weapons components." They also produced a table detailing 192 underground tests.
These are not the activities of a country seeking to build nuclear power plants. But the Biden administration remains hell-bent on concluding a deal. And it's all about the oil.
Ship-tracking firms estimate that Iran has stockpiled anywhere from 60 to 93 million barrels in crude oil and condensate in tankers in the Persian Gulf, off Singapore, and near China, Bloomberg reported recently. That oil "could be swiftly dispatched to buyers in the event an agreement gets hammered out," Bloomberg added.
While it could take weeks or even months for Iran to find buyers and insurance to move all that oil to markets, nevertheless it represents an enormous surge in global oil supplies -- nearly half of what the U.S. pledged to release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserves.
The SPR releases are widely credited with bringing oil prices down over the past three months, with gasoline now at $3.70/gallon on average nationwide, instead of well over $5.00
But the SPR releases are currently scheduled to end in mid-October -- just three weeks before election day.
What better time for Iran to flood world oil markets than now? In addition to the surge of Iran's offshore stockpile, a new nuclear deal would allow Iran to return as a "normal" exporter, increasing the flow of Iranian oil "by between 500,000 bpd to 1 million bpd," according to analysts.
That would likely drive the price per barrel back into the $65 range -- and remove a big pocketbook issue Republicans had been hoping to use in November. It's hard to imagine a more cynical motive for recklessly endangering U.S. national security.
Ken Timmerman’s 12th book of non-fiction, And the Rest is History: Tales of Hostages, Arms Dealers, Dirty Tricks, and Spies, was recently released by Post Hill Press. Timmerman was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 and has covered the Middle East for 40 years.