Dan Crenshaw, a Republican Congressman, said Iran understands only power and leverage, and the Biden administration was not acting rationally.
Crenshaw told Iran International Friday that the 2015 Iran deal, from which Republican president Donald Trump withdrew the United States in 2018, “was a danger to the Middle East stability.”
In opposing talks in Vienna between Iran and world powers to revive the deal, Crenshaw, an Afghanistan war veteran and a SEAL force commander, said the Biden administration should not be “engaged in negotiations when Iran is sending missiles into Iraq near our consulate.” Iran March 13 fired missiles at Erbil, northern Iraq, hitting a villa it claimed was used by Israeli intelligence, apparently in response to Israeli attacks on an Iranian air base in Kermanshah province or on Iranian forces in Syria.
Crenshaw said that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) accepting responsibility for the missiles had been “bold and brazen,” and that the US was projecting weakness “over and over again.” This was the “worst way to negotiate,” he argued.
Earlier in the day, the Democratic Majority Leader in the House of Representatives Steny Hoyer told Iran International’s Arash Alaei that President Joe Biden saw limiting Iran’s nuclear program, as done by the 2015 deal, as “a critically important objective” and that Washington would continue negotiations with Iran and other world powers as long as agreement was possible.
The Vienna talks over reviving the 2015 deal − the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) – have gone on for a year, struggling to resolve which US sanctions contravene the agreement and exactly how Iran’s nuclear program, expanded since 2019, be returned to JCPOA limits. Among issues reportedly remaining, the US is refusing to rescind Trump’s 2019 move adding the IRGC to the US list of ‘foreign terrorist organizations,’ the only example of a sovereign state’s armed forces being so designated.
In a Friday statement, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan defended this week’s new US sanctions against Iran’s procurement effortsfor its missile program. “We will continue to use all appropriate authorities to hold Iran and its proxy groups accountable for threats against our friends and partners,” he said.
Yemen’s Ansar Allah, known as the Houthis, have in recent weeks, accelerated efforts to hit Saudi energy targets in response to the Saudi war effort in Yemen. Ansar Allah, who control most of northern Yemen, have developed a missile capacity, reportedly with Iranian help, over many years although the damage caused by the strikes is limited given Saudi air defenses.