The Biden administration will "talk about a longer, stronger, broader deal [with Iran] that will remain a fiction," Mark Dubowitz, CEO of the hawkish defense and foreign policy think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies, predicted Thursday in an interview on the John Solomon Reports podcast.
"So you're going to go back into a deeply flawed nuclear deal that President Trump wisely exited," said Dubowitz, "and then you're going to negotiate a new longer, stronger and broader deal, where you've given up all your most powerful leverage? It doesn't make much sense.
"And what I think is going on is that there's a very smart political strategy at work where there's an attempt to try and assure Democrats who oppose the JCPOA, assure some Republicans, maybe try to break the Republican consensus on Iran, and try to contain the Israelis, the Saudis, Emiratis, the Bahrainis, and others who are in Iranian missile range. And the idea here is talk about a longer, stronger, broader deal that will remain a fiction, be a mirage in the desert that thirsty pilgrims are eager to satiate, but there's never a deal.
"I think Biden administration negotiators are going to collapse at the negotiating table in Vienna, they're going to give Iran almost everything Iran wants. We'll be back in the JCPOA. And then there'll be Kabuki dance about a new longer, stronger, broader deal that at the end of the day will never arrive unless the Biden administration is prepared to literally give up everything to the Iranians in exchange for this new 'longer, stronger deal.'"
Despite the Biden administration's likely concessions to Iran, Dubowitz said he is hopeful that both opponents of an Iran deal and businesses will stay out of Iran.
"My only hope is that, given Republican determination, given Israeli and Gulf determination, that hundreds, thousands of CEOs and chief legal officers around the world don't go back into Iran because of the huge market uncertainty and political uncertainty," he said. "We got to keep those tens and hundreds of billions of dollars out of the coffers of the regime, so that it doesn't have the money for regional havoc, internal repression, and building its nuclear weapons."
Dubowitz explained that Iran never fully complied with the JCPOA.
"They were denying access to weapons inspectors to sites where there was undeclared nuclear material and nuclear equipment," he said, and the Obama administration was shocked at Iran's "detailed blueprints to develop nuclear weapons that they were hiding in a warehouse in Tehran, which the Israeli Mossad, in a daring operation, seized and took out of the country."
However, Dubowitz said, the JCPOA never prevented Iran from "developing weapons grade uranium."
"Iran doesn't have to violate the agreement," he continued, "in order to build up an industrial-sized nuclear program with near zero nuclear breakout, ultimately advanced centrifuges that it can work on from day one, that provided an easier, clandestine sneak-out. It doesn't have to violate the agreement, in fact, it's foolish to violate the agreement. Just be patient. Wait for the restrictions to go away.
"There's nothing in the JCPOA that prohibits Iran from developing weapons grade uranium. There's no prohibition in the agreement anywhere that I can find that says Iran cannot develop weapon grade uranium.
"Now the answer to that is people say, 'Well, Iran, you know, has subject to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which prohibits it from developing nuclear weapons.' Well, if we trust Iran's adherence to that treaty, you wouldn't need a nuclear agreement in the first place. So that's the problem, patient pathways to nuclear weapons, and hundreds of billions of dollars for the mullahs to ravage the region and repress their people."
China's influence with Iran is also growing under the Biden administration, Dubowitz said.
China made "a $400 billion deal with Iran, to develop the energy, infrastructure, to buy Iranian oil, and to extend what's called 'One Belt, One Road,' which is their sort of global vision of a telecommunications network, land bridges, maritime waterways," he said. "And part of building this one bridge, one road, is to sink their teeth into the Middle East, into places like Iran, and essentially use their economic and political influence to get the Iranians under their thumb.
"At the end of the day, it's a deal that we could stop. Those transactions wouldn't happen if we had an administration serious about enforcing sanctions against Chinese banks and Chinese energy companies, which is why, actually, that deal didn't get done under Trump, and Chinese banks were not processing financial transactions. And the Chinese were buying less than 100,000 barrels a day of Iranian oil, now they're up to 800,000 under Biden."