In the media atmosphere of the country, there are constant talks about the conditions of the Biden administration or the Iranian government for “determining the status” of the JCPOA to such an extent that this impression is created for every listener, viewer and reader that from the day after the inauguration of the new US administration, the White House, in an Immediate action, would return to the JCPOA and the two sides, Tehran and Washington, begin negotiations to lift the sanctions.
In view of the author and for the following reasons, determining the status of the JCPOA cannot be among the priorities of the new US administration:
- The US election process is not over yet and the new US administration has not received the key to the White House. In the world of politics, everything is possible, so in the remaining period of Trump’s term, many things can happen. For example, the Trump administration has made every effort, especially through the imposition of new and consistent sanctions, to make the path for the easy return of Biden to the JCPOA difficult and uneven. According to a note that was written by Trita Parsi, the Executive Vice-President of the Quincy Institute, and was recently published in the Foreign Affairs: The Trump team apparently hopes (through a flood of sanctions against Iran in the remaining weeks of his administration) that Biden will not wish to incur the political cost of backtracking on these sanctions, which will be tied to non-nuclear concerns such as ballistic missiles and human rights. Therefore, it is too early to divert public attention to the resumption of JCPOA and the US return to it.
- It is possible that the US administration will postpone the actual interaction and dialogue to after the Iranian elections, unless, for some of its foreign policy considerations, it intends to make changes in the sanctions situation.
- There are far more important challenges and priorities for the new US administration than the JCPOA that need to be addressed. These issues have more internal dimensions. The Coronavirus debate is the most important priority in this regard. Whoever the President of the United States will be, the fight against Coronavirus and the recovery of the economy which has severely damaged during the disease will be his first priority. As the American media acknowledges, the situation inside the United States is severely critical. By the day of the inauguration, the Covid-19 pandemic has probably claimed the lives of 300,000 Americans. From now until then, it is likely that more than 100,000 cases a day will be added to the new cases of infection. The unemployment rate is likely to reach the limits of 6 to 7 per cent. Millions of Americans will not be able to pay their rent or mortgage. According to Foreign Affairs, the internal challenges facing the country go beyond its physical and economic health. The United States is fragmented. More than 70 million Americans voted for Donald Trump, and many believe in his destructive narrative of electoral fraud and consider Biden an illegitimate president. American society is divided over wealth, race, and education inequality. The two parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, are not even integrated in the internal structure and disagree on issues ranging from taxes to police reform and health care. The administration may also be fragmented as the Republicans are lucky enough to retain control of the Senate and the Democrats’ margin of control in the House of Representatives has shrunk.
- Although domestic challenges take up a large percentage of Biden’s time and resources, the new US administration is not without challenges abroad. Challenges whose priority for Biden is no less than the JCPOA. Determining the status of international treaties and agreements that the Trump administration has withdrawn from, such as the Paris Agreement, action against China for its trade measures, supplying Ukraine with lethal weapons, concluding an updated trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, normalizing relations between Israel and several Arab countries are the examples. But there are other issues that the new US administration needs to address; cases that the Trump administration has done grossly wrong: weakening alliances that have been the bedrock of international stability for 75 years and, in turn, raising questions about the credibility of the United States among friends and foes alike, withdrawing from international agreements and institutions without a better alternative, establishing cordial relations with authoritarian leaders in China, North Korea, Russia, and Turkey, repeated violations of democratic norms and policies, such as the separation of immigrant children from their parents, and travel bans for many Muslim-majority countries are among important issues that the new US administration is faced with.
- The next issue that will not allow the Biden administration to return to the JCPOA easily is the lobby of Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and some groups (Munafiqin terrorist organization) and countries opposed to Iran, which are staunch opponents of the JCPOA, in the United States. For example, the Israeli lobby is so powerful and influential in the structure of politics and power in the United States that traditionally various administrations in the United States, both Democrats and Republicans, are required to follow their views on any issue related to the West Asian region and the security of the Zionist agents. In this regard, the Zionist regime, which considers the JCPOA its biggest security challenge, is intensely lobbying with Biden team to block the path of any US return to the JCPOA. Meanwhile, the reactionary Arab regimes, which are naturally concerned about any interaction between Washington and Tehran, are lobbying for non-reconsideration of the JCPOA by the US.
- Lifting of sanctions and compensating for the losses as a condition of the Iranian side and the post-JCPOA demands of the American side are the two main factors, or otherwise two major obstacles, for preparing the ground for any interaction and dialogue to reach an agreement and lift the sanctions.
With regard to the above-mentioned cases, it seems very unlikely that the conditions will be in place for the revival of the JCPOA, as there are significant obstacles and considerations on both sides.
The United States is looking for a triangular outcome. The first side of it has been drawn, and currently, the next two sides, namely missile-defence capability and regional power of the Islamic Republic of Iran, have not yet been completed for the United States. The lifting of the sanctions, which Trump has returned all, and was supposed to be lifted according to the JCPOA, in the Biden administration will also depend on Iran’s withdrawal from the two important components of its power. Any return and revival of the JCPOA are possible for the United States when Iran is willing to negotiate and compromise on the two important sides of its power, namely ballistic missiles and its regional power. Meanwhile, Tehran’s policy in this regard is quite clear and with vigilance and under the supervision and insight of the Supreme Leader will fully defend the national interests of the country.