Biden Is on the Verge of Making the Same Mistakes

There are two reasons in why is Biden moving too slowly to revive the JCPOA: First, there is strong opposition domestically and from some US-allies against reviving the JCPOA. Therefore, President Biden and his Secretary of State want to appear tough towards Iran. Large parts of Congress, including members of the Democratic Party, want to renegotiate the JCPOA and attach new conditions. Also, they want to include missiles and regional issues. These arguments are a pretense since there is no arms control agreement in history that includes behavior or only the weapons of a single country.

Second, Biden does not want to appear to act under the pressure of Iran. At least, it would be fair that Biden admitted that Trump violated UNSC Resolution 2231. If all sides agreed to return to the original JCPOA, it would not matter who moves first.

It seems that Biden wants to compromise with Republican critics. It is the wrong approach. Critics of the JCPOA never will compromise and always ask for more pressure on Iran. Republican Senators will not support an agreement that has been negotiated by a democratic president. In the past, it led to tragedies when Democrats wanted to please conservatives. President Johnson escalated the war in Vietnam in 1964, which resulted in a ten year-disaster for the US. In 2002, almost all of the Democratic senators voted for the fateful intervention in Iraq. Biden is about to make the same mistake again.

If President Biden thinks within a larger context, he could ignore Trump’s policies and offer new diplomatic relations with Iran in order to save the nuclear deal. On the one hand, Biden’s foreign policy will be more diplomatic and multilateral. On the other hand, great power competitions will remain and maybe tensions will even increase. Biden claims global leadership. Leadership is not the same as partnership. Biden has to keep this in mind if he wants to get honest support internationally.

Domestically he already made important changes concerning like the deportation of immigrants that grew up in the USA, ending the immigration ban on citizens from Muslim countries and improving the fight against Covid-19.

Here is a key question “Does the EU have the willingness and enthusiasm to act independently?” When it comes to the nuclear deal, there is some willingness to revive the JCPOA by the EU, but not so much enthusiasm. Josep Borell, the High Representative, offered talks in the framework of the Joint Commission of the JCPOA with the US as a guest. The US sets conditions; Iran does not want to participate for the time being, however.

Europe did not request from the US to lift the secondary sanctions, which threaten European companies that want to do business with Iran. This would be indispensable if Europe wants to act independently. Europeans should take Biden at his word when he speaks about partnership.

The US under Trump tried to isolate Iran. If Biden continues on this line, Iran will try to look for other economic and political possibilities. Iran and China already negotiating on a comprehensive economic and political cooperation plan. Also, Iran wants to join the Eurasian Economic Union with Russia on the helm. It might not sufficient for Iran to diversify its relations and economy. The market of 180 million people and 5 trillion Gross National Product cannot replace the European Union with 500 million people and 15 trillion GNP. The trade Iran’s with China even decreased 2018 and 2019.

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