Welcome back to the Biden Administration Foreign Policy Tracker. Once a month, we ask FDD’s experts and scholars to assess the administration’s foreign policy. They provide trendlines of very positive, positive, neutral, negative, or very negative for the areas they watch.
As August drew to a close, Washington and Tehran were nearing a nuclear agreement that imposes even fewer constraints than the 2015 deal with Iran. The White House pushed ahead with the nuclear negotiations even as the Justice Department revealed an Iranian plot to assassinate former U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton. Meanwhile, one of Tehran’s Iraqi proxy forces employed Iranian-provided drones to attack U.S. troops in eastern Syria. Tehran also continues to stonewall inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who are investigating the presence of nuclear materials the clerical regime failed to disclose despite a binding obligation to do so under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Biden administration’s determination to ignore Iran’s signs of bad faith suggests the White House may accept a nuclear deal based more on trust than on verification.
Will the Biden administration insist that Tehran address these concerns, or will it press the IAEA to stand down, as the Obama administration did to protect the original nuclear deal in 2015? Will President Joe Biden accept a deal that renders military sites off-limits to inspectors, like the original agreement? Come back next month to see if the White House was able to push the deal over the finish line, and whether the cost of doing so was trusting Tehran to honor its promises.