Iran-West JCPOA Relations in 1399 (2020-2021)

2021/03/20 | interview, political, top news

Strategic Council Online - Referring to the most important developments between Iran and the West in the year 1399 (2020-2021), an expert on Europe and America affairs said: All developments in 1399 in the field of Iran-West relations have been overshadowed by the Iran Nuclear Agreement (also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action - (JCPOA).

Speaking in an interview with the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, Morteza Maki said: We also saw that the level of economic and trade cooperation between Iran and the West decreased significantly compared to the year 1398 (2019 – 2020), and in fact the imposition of tougher sanctions by the Donald Trump administration narrowed Iran’s relations with the West. Of course, in this regard, the West also includes European and American allies such as South Korea and Japan, which were among Iran’s important partners in Southeast Asia, but due to US secondary sanctions, huge amounts of Iranian money were blocked in the banks of those countries.

The expert, saying that almost all the analyses, assessments and projections in 1399 were linked to the US presidential elections, said: In this regard, consultations between Iran and the Western bloc and their allies with an aim of opening up relations between Iran and the West all were faced with failure. Therefore, all were hoping that the US election results would end the stalemate in Iran’s relations with the West.

Emphasizing that there was an important incident in 1399 that somehow isolated the United States and was a sign of a deep rift in US-European relations; he referred to Donald Trump’s efforts to prevent the lifting of arms embargoes on Iran under Resolution 2231, as well as his efforts to use the trigger mechanism under the JCPOA agreement and reinstate UN economic sanctions against Iran with a draft resolution prepared by the United States on these two issues. He said: Those efforts were met with the opposition from the European countries, China and Russia, which was a great diplomatic victory for Iran and a sign of the results of Iran’s patience and strategic resistance to the US withdrawal from the JCPOA agreement.

As for the impact of Biden’s coming to power on the JCPOA, he said: Contrary to many predictions, the Democrat President Joe Biden has not yet returned to the JCPOA and has not lifted sanctions against Iran, but one thing is clear: Trump’s way of using US maximum pressure policies has failed and could pose a threat to Washington’s regional policies and spread instability and insecurity in the region.

According to the expert, European countries and the United States have experienced the effects of insecurity and instability in the Middle East over the past decade, in part due to the spread of the influx of refugees to Europe and the rise of the Takfiri-terrorist acts beyond the Middle East in European countries and the US.

Regarding the future of the JCPOA case during Biden’s presidency, he said: Given the conservative policies of the Biden administration in the United States on how to revive the JCPOA, the JCPOA case will continue to be the most important agenda in Iran’s negotiations with the West in the year 1400 (2021-2022). However, given the fact that the Iranian presidential elections in 1400 is also ahead, it is not expected that a serious change will take place in the lifting of the US economic sanctions against Iran until the elections are held in Iran.

The expert stressed: The United States will try to keep the door open for dialogue and negotiation with Iran by pursuing a policy of easing sanctions and freeing some of Iran’s financial demands from its trading partners, in order to further its demands and expand the issue of negotiations with Iran beyond the nuclear issues.

Regarding the position of European countries towards the JCPOA after the victory of the Democrats, Maki also said that their position has been accompanied by a tactical change. The goal of the European governments after Trump’s departure was to preserve it. Because they are well aware of the achievements of the JCPOA within the framework of the policy of non-proliferation. That is why their political will against Trump regarding the withdrawal of the JCPOA was to preserve the agreement. The victory of the Democrats and their pursuit of a multilateral policy have made Europe, like the United States, unwilling to allow Washington to return to the JCPOA immediately and lift sanctions. In fact, Western countries still want to use the leverage of economic sanctions to secure their security and political policies in the Middle East and to satisfy the Arab states in the region, such as Saudi Arabia and the Zionist regime.

Saying that the position of European governments is not expected to change significantly in 1400, the expert explained: Although Josep Borrell, as EU foreign policy chief, will try to take a more moderate and conciliatory position than France and Germany, the leading countries in the EU.

He stressed: Some European countries do not support the position of France and Germany on how to revive the JCPOA and call for the immediate lifting of economic sanctions against Iran. The recent visit of the Foreign Minister of Southern Ireland to Tehran and the positions raised on the JCPOA illustrate this point. Borrell is trying to represent those countries to some extent in order to lift economic sanctions against Iran more quickly, and for this reason we see a more rational and moderate position on the part of the EU foreign policy chief than other European officials, especially France and Germany, towards Iran.

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