In an unexpected move that has sparked criticism from various quarters, President Joe Biden chose not to visit any of the 9/11 attack sites on its 2023 anniversary. Instead, he undertook trips to Vietnam and Alaska, where his speeches were received with palpable disdain.
In what many deem as a startling coincidence or perhaps, a calculated strategy, the Biden administration also announced a $6 billion deal with Iran on the sacred day of 9/11. It’s pertinent to mention that Iran is tagged as a “state sponsor of terrorism” by the U.S. State Department, making the decision even more controversial.
As per Managing Editor Jennifer Van Laar’s report, this deal encompasses the release of five American citizens detained in Iran in exchange for billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars. This move raises eyebrows, considering it is with the same regime with which former President Obama struck a nuclear accord. This accord was later scrapped by former President Trump in 2018, on grounds that it failed to put an end to Iran’s nuclear ambitions and posed a threat to America’s national security.
The recent activities in Iran have also not gone down well with the international community, especially U.N. officials. Rafael Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), highlighted that Iran has dismissed nearly a third of the agency’s experienced inspectors who are in the country to ensure compliance with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Although Iran has the right to veto inspectors, the extent of removal is alarming.
The NPT, signed by 191 countries in 1970, has been pivotal in curbing the spread of nuclear weapons globally.
IAEA’s official statement condemned Iran’s actions:
“I strongly condemn this disproportionate and unprecedented unilateral measure which affects the normal planning and conduct of Agency verification activities in Iran and openly contradicts the cooperation that should exist between the Agency and Iran.”
This decision is seen as a blow to the already fragile relationship between the IAEA and Iran. Grossi’s statement echoes the sentiments of many when he said, “This profoundly regrettable decision by Iran is another step in the wrong direction.”
The coming days will ascertain the repercussions of Biden’s actions and decisions, both domestically and on an international front. With the 9/11 anniversary being a poignant reminder of the threats America faces, many question if sidelining its remembrance for questionable deals is a prudent move.