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Biden’s Policy on Iran

Iran is far from being out of trouble

Thursday 21 January 2021

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Given the new American administration under Joe Biden, the big question for us here at the Gazette is what will be the White House’s policy on the Middle East and Iran in particular. Indeed, the past shows that leaders do not necessarily do what they have said and promised.

Death to America
Iranian Protesters Burning US Flag in Tehran, November 2018.
(Credit: Tasnim News Agency)

Iran is the missing piece that could link Central Asia to the rest of the world. The normalisation of this country by abandoning its revolutionary character, which has lasted for more than forty years, is the sine qua non condition to open this door and revive the true Silk Road. However, the end of the Islamic “revolution” (only the revolution and not the Islamic republic) will have to be accompanied by the anti-Americanism of the regime in Tehran. Unfortunately, the Islamic Republic is very much attached to this anti-Americanism, for it has been, since the 1960s, in a purely opportunistic and non-ideological way, the justification for the overthrow of the ancient regime.

Yet this anti-Americanism only benefits the United States’ rivals (Russia, China and also Europe) and remains a major obstacle to the country’s economic development. Nevertheless, the abandonment of this dogma does not exclusively rely on the Iranians. In the past, the Americans have deliberately encouraged these feelings, particularly under the presidency of Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), by supporting revolutionary Marxist and/or Islamist groups.

Joe Biden has promised a return of the United States to the 2015 nuclear treaty. Can Tehran celebrate his accession to the White House? Nothing is guaranteed.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, candidate Trump was rather satisfied with the nuclear treaty, while candidate Hilary Clinton, who was behind the rapprochement with Iran during Obama’s first term, shamelessly declared wanting to literally “bomb” Iran. Once Trump was elected, matters then changed radically, as the new President walked out of the treaty while Democrats, including Hillary, became its biggest supporters.

We therefore believe that nothing has yet been won for the Iranians, since Biden is absolutely not bound by its purely electoral rhetoric, seeking only to contradict its rival Trump.

On the other hand, Biden is bound by alliances with Arab countries. These relationships have always predominated US policy in the Middle East.

The new American administration, seriously weakened by suspicions of electoral fraud, the scandal of the Biden Junior and above all the Obamagate, will be forced to treat the Iranian dossier with extreme caution. It is not in the coming months that Tehran will see the sanctions against it lifted, especially considering that no one wants Iranian oil in a very depressed market. ■

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