The US withdrawal from the nuclear agreement with Iran in 2015 and the unprecedented economic pressure on Iran that followed significantly weakened the international positions of all parties to the conflict, as a result of which Washington and Tehran were equally interested in discharging relations with each other.
The newly elected head of the White House, Joe Biden, has repeatedly stated during his election campaign that he is positive about the revival of the nuclear deal. However, this step is fraught with difficulties and is likely to take considerable time. First, this is due to the Iranian claim for just compensation for the damage caused by the US sanctions. Of course, the payment of any compensation is not included in the plans of Washington, which, despite its clear rejection of the policies of Donald Trump, still views Iran as an adversary. Among other things, Joe Biden prefers to consolidate the image of a “tough guy” who will never admit defeat and compensate for the inconveniences caused by his predecessors.
Secondly, the impossibility of quickly restoring the nuclear deal is due to Iran’s enriched uranium. In particular, we are talking about 2.4 tons of nuclear material, which, in accordance with the American ultimatum, must be destroyed or taken out of the country. Such an operation is unlikely to be organized in the shortest possible time, and Tehran is not at all interested in liquidating its reserves. After all, Iran is not sure that Washington will be consistent in fulfilling Joe Biden’s promises to reduce economic pressure on Iran. And in these conditions, uranium reserves can serve as a guarantee that the White House will be more accommodating.
Given this scenario, it is clear that neither Tehran nor Washington will take the first steps to resume the nuclear deal. In this regard, the proposal made by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to the head of the European Union’s foreign policy Josep Borrell to develop a “synchronous” and “coordinated” scenario for returning to the 2015 agreements is quite logical. This indicates that the European Union should take over the functions of a conciliation commission, which will ensure the search for compromises that are equally acceptable to both Iran and the United States. Moreover, both parties to the conflict must simultaneously take a certain set of actions to renew the agreement.
US President Joe Biden, despite repeated statements about the need to revive the nuclear deal, nevertheless, has not yet taken any serious steps to intensify the negotiation process with Iran. Moreover, now the head of the White House is formally demonstrating his excessive employment, first of all, with internal political problems and the fight against coronavirus. This prompted Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and other Internet officials to regularly remind Joe Biden of his promises to return to the nuclear deal. However, by all appearances, the newly elected US President is not going to rush. At the very least, US Foreign Minister Etnoni Blinken recently officially announced that Washington will continue to pressurize sanctions until Iran agrees to completely abandon its nuclear program. In any case, until June 2021, when the next presidential elections are held in Iran, the United States will definitely try to do everything possible to finally kill the Iranian economy.
Rob Malley was chosen as the US envoy to Iran because of his extensive experience in negotiating a nuclear deal. At least, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is confident that his protégé will be able to convince Tehran of the need to fulfill the American ultimatum: eliminate enriched uranium stockpiles, destroy centrifuges and completely abandon nuclear research that can be used for military purposes.
Meanwhile, representatives of the Israeli lobby in the United States seriously fear that Rob Malley will not cope with the task entrusted to him to contain Iran. Moreover, they believe that the inability of the new White House envoy to put pressure on Iran could be a significant obstacle for Tel Aviv and Riyadh, whose regional position will become extremely vulnerable after Tehran finally, rejects the American ultimatum. In this regard, most likely, under the influence of influential skeptics, Joe Biden will be forced to dismiss Rob Malley in the near future and appoint a person in his place who will be more aggressive towards Iran.
The team of the new US President Joe Biden has quite clearly informed Donald Trump’s former allies that it intends to reconsider the format of relations with them. First of all, this concerns the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, whom the head of the White House has repeatedly subjected to public humiliation.
It should be noted that the new American administration is showing great concern due to the rather tough policy of the crown prince. In this regard, an information campaign was launched in the international media at the initiative of the United States, which aims to present Mohammad bin Salman in an extremely negative light, accusing him of trying to seize the royal throne, murdering his opponents, persecuting public activists, including Lujaina al- Khatluli, a prominent “star of Saudi feminism,” and Saad al-Jabri, a former senior Saudi Arabian secret service official.
Joe Biden, apparently, seriously believes that Mohammed bin Salman received the title of the crown throne illegally. In particular, in the history of Saad al-Jabri, it is no coincidence that the American media focus on Mohammed bin Nayef, who, before the palace coup in the KSA, was the full heir to the royal throne.
Among other things, the refusal of the United States to support Riyadh’s policy in Yemen creates additional problems for Mohammed bin Salman, who actually found himself in a very vulnerable position and, most likely, will have to significantly limit Saudi intervention in the Yemeni crisis. This will strengthen the position of the Ansar Allah movement, which is trying to use this opportunity to intensify attacks on the kingdom.
Such US-Saudi differences are unlikely to shape Riyadh’s ability to make any changes to the format of negotiations between Washington and Tehran. Anyway, while Joe Biden is not interested in taking advice from the Saudis or getting them close to a nuclear deal.
As for the relations of the new head of the White House with Israel, one can hardly expect any tension here. After all, Joe Biden is just as attached to the money of the Israeli lobby as Donald Trump, which makes Tel Aviv nothing to worry about. This will undoubtedly affect Israel’s ability to influence the negotiation process with Iran. Tel Aviv will try to destroy Iranian nuclear facilities before Washington decides to renew nuclear agreements.
There is currently no alternative to a nuclear deal with Iran. The fact is that a full list of implementation mechanisms, specific conditions recognized by all parties to the transaction are described in detail in the transaction itself. In this regard, there is no need to come up with a new option, which contains additional risks of growing US-Iranian tensions. In addition, there are a huge number of unresolved problems between the United States and Iran, which require prompt resolution before it would be possible to talk about the revival of the old agreements on the maintenance of the nuclear program.
As the Iranian nuclear program develops, Israel is also rapidly increasing its own production of enriched uranium. After the inauguration of Joe Biden, bilateral contacts between the military commanders of the United States and Israel increased. Mutual visits by the heads of the special services and defense departments, according to a number of analysts, go beyond the gestures of goodwill and ordinary diplomatic contacts associated with the renewal of the nuclear deal with Iran. Israel justifies this by the need to attract modern nuclear technologies. In this regard, Tel Aviv is now least interested in creating a nuclear-weapon-free zone. However, if Tehran decides to continue to increase its nuclear stockpiles, Israel could probably change its mind.