By Dr. EVANGELOS VENETIS
Expert on Islam and the Middle East
In the last few days, immediately after the election of Ebrahim Raisi as President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, pessimistic views have been heard that speak of the deterioration of the prospect of a US return to the agreement on the nuclear program of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran because of the election of Raisi. Among other things, these views allegedly invoke the argument that “a conservative president is more difficult to negotiate, let alone agree.” Yet this is not the case.
US President Joe Biden knows that Tehran and Iran’s new president, Raisi, are realistic negotiators. He is also aware that Iran has faced stifling sanctions with the same realism, steadily pursuing its foreign policy in the Middle East. It is certain that Tehran, for its part, is conducting the negotiations from a position of power, due to the successful confrontation of the sanctions within it and its increased influence in the Middle East.
At the same time, Biden is concerned about the fact that the Trump presidency left power with the prestige of the United States suffering at home and abroad. As the current American president has stated, his main goal is to restore the credibility of the USA in the pre-Trump era, that is, that of President Obama.
The return of the United States to the Iran Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is a precondition for restoring US credibility today, especially among Washington allies and partners.
The US President is well aware that it was Trump’s presidency that unilaterally and arbitrarily withdrew the US from the Iran Nuclear Deal Agreement, bringing embarrassment and concern to its allies in Europe and beyond. He also knows that it was not Iran that caused the problem. On the contrary, Tehran has complied with the terms of the Agreement until the US withdrawal from the Agreement, but also for several years after, despite the newly-imposed sanctions of Washington.
In addition to the US return to the Agreement, Biden also faces the problem of lifting sanctions against Iran imposed by Washington over the past five years, as well as the sanctions imposed unilaterally by the so-called International Financial System.
Yet Biden’s main issue is to balance the return to the Agreement with the management of the pressure from Tel Aviv and the US Jewish lobby to the contrary, i.e. the non-return of the US to the Agreement.
The fundamental question is whether President Biden is willing to continue Obama’s policy during his current presidency. This policy consists of US multilateral diplomacy in the Middle East. As Vice President of the United States under Obama, he was instrumental in implementing the US innovative approach by signing the Agreement.
Today, Biden is battling over time to stabilize the Middle East. Given that it was Washington that withdrew from the Agreement, it is the one that must take the first steps to restore the rpe-existing diplomatic confidence in the Agreement reached under Obama.
Currently the conditions are favorable.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.