Biden’s Iran Dispute ‘Do-Over’ Must Stand

Iran experienced an eruption in 2009.

Politics in Iran has never been democratic in the Western sense. Islamic authorities vet candidates thoroughly and frequently remove more than 98 percent of them before the first ballot. 

Iran’s corrupt and Holocaust-denier president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, received a second term after the regime blatantly altered vote tallies.

Iranians were enraged. In every region, central city, and most significant villages, protests broke out. 

Not only did Iranians condemn Ahmadinejad, but they also criticized Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and demanded the end of the Islamic Republic. 

Obama’s Mistake

As the protests escalated from days to weeks, Iranians got impatient with former President Obama’s tepid response, frequently yelling, “Obama, Obama, you are either for us or against us.”

It was later revealed Obama attempted to downplay his sympathy for the demonstrators because he did not want to jeopardize his secret approach to Khamenei. 

This resulted in a series of talks and ransom payments for Iranian hostages that refilled Iran’s coffers and snatched defeat from the jaws of triumph. 

Now, President Biden has the rare chance to start anew.

Iran is simmering with rage over rising bread costs. The Russia-Ukraine war significantly disrupted Iran’s wheat imports, which previously reached record levels. 

The gap in domestic grain output is primarily attributable to regime corruption.

The river in Isfahan dried up last year, for one, not caused by climate change, but because the regime awarded no-bid concessions to enterprises owned by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for the construction of useless dams for the military’s profit. 

At Nowruz festivities for the Persian New Year, many Iranian urban residents fled their homes because of rising prices and food shortages.

Yet, on Iranian media platforms, rumors circulate that government is ready to institute bread rationing. The government, meanwhile, screams against bread profiteers and pledges aid to the poorest. 

In Iran and throughout the Middle East, bread uprisings have long been a taboo topic.

In 2008, wheat shortages caused by significant snowfall necessitated the deployment of security forces throughout numerous northern regions.

The slashing of subsidies in Egypt in 1977, and again, 40 years later, led to violent protests. 

Bread Shortage

Many Iranians cannot comprehend why they lack wheat. Khorasan, the northeastern province of Iran, has historically been the region’s breadbasket. 

The Islamic Revolution always included socialist elements. Ayatollah Khomeini and those around him combined Islamism with various Marxist elements.

The regime supports a command economy while frequently basing its judgments on a vague notion of social fairness.

Presently, however, it is difficult for Iranian officials to divert the public with class warfare rhetoric since poor Iranians view the leadership, not the vanishing middle class, as the source of the crisis. 

Iran is tinder; rising food prices and shortages may be the spark that ignites the fire. 

As Iranians resist the regime that failed to honor its promises and turned Iran into a global pariah, the issue for Biden is whether he will make the same mistake as Obama.

It’s about if Biden will disappoint the Iranian people to facilitate negotiations with the regime they despise.

Alternatively, he might stand aside and announce Iranians have the same rights to liberty as Ukrainians and Americans. 

Should Iranians determine their own future, the nuclear standoff will dissolve first because the regime’s ideology poses the greatest threat.

Secondly, there is no rational rationale for Iran to expand nuclear energy from an economic and energy perspective. 

As Iran flares, let us hope President Biden has the vision to grasp the big picture and avoid Obama’s blunders.

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