The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Biden, Just Flat Wrong on Pressure on Iran in 2008


Vice President Biden, today: “When we took office, let me remind, there was virtually no international pressure on Iran. We were the problem,” the vice president said. “We were diplomatically isolated in the world, in the region, in Europe.”

Of course, the facts are that the United Nations Security Council passed five resolutions against Iran between July 2006 and September 2008, banning the import of nuclear-related materials, freezing assets, expanding the freeze of assets, calling for the search of Iranian ships and planes, and so on.

Then, of course, throughout President Bush’s final year in office, diplomatic efforts generated new levels of pressure on Tehran.

March 2008: “The UN security council today approved a third round of sanctions against Iran with near unanimous support, sending a strong signal to Tehran that its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment is unacceptable and becoming increasingly costly. For the first time, the resolution bans trade with Iran in goods that have both civilian and military uses. It also authorises inspections of shipments to and from Iran by sea and air that are suspected of carrying banned items.”

June 2008: “Even as Bush won new support from the Europeans, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran responded by mocking attempts to rein in his country’s nuclear program, which Iran maintains is for peaceful development of nuclear energy.”

June 23, 2008: “European Union states agreed on June 23 to impose new sanctions on Iran, including an asset freeze on its biggest bank, over its refusal to meet demands to curb its nuclear programme.”

In August 2008: “The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany have agreed to seek further sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program after the Islamic state missed a deadline to respond to council incentives, the State Department said Monday.”

And then in October 2008, “Australia has imposed targeted autonomous sanctions in relation to Iran’s proliferation sensitive nuclear and missile programs and efforts to contravene United Nations Security Council sanctions.”

So besides the ugly, knee-jerk claim that until President Obama took office, the United States was “the problem” in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program, Biden is just plain wrong on the facts.

But hey, at least Obama can tout the tough new sanctions in place today, and how his diplomacy has unified the world on cutting off Iran… oh, wait, what’s that on foreign television?

Ah, an Iranian trade delegation visiting Indian officials in New Dehli, discussing ways to “overcome U.S. and European sanctions.”

Then again, Jeanne Kirkpatrick warned us about Biden’s type: “They always blame America first.”

UPDATE: The Romney campaign distributes Policy Director Lanhee Chen on Vice President Biden’s comments on Iran that “we were the problem.”

“All too often, President Obama and his administration have sought to blame America first, yet Vice President Biden’s reckless statement today blaming America for – of all things – the progress of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, has reached a new low. The problem is not America.  It is the ayatollahs who oppress their people, threaten their neighbors, and are pursuing nuclear weapons. President Obama’s naïve approach to Iran has given the regime valuable time to get closer than ever before to a nuclear weapons capability. Vice President Biden’s comments are wrong and completely inappropriate. Mitt Romney will stand up for America and our allies, and he will not apologize for America’s leadership role in the world.”

Tags: Barack Obama , George W. Bush , Iran , Joe Biden , United Nations


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