Reviving the JCPOA and Efforts to Regain Iran’s Trust

Biden’s Foreign Policy towards Iran – For Biden’s policies we need to look back to the Obama administration when he was Vice President. Obama was the architect of the JCPOA and will seek to resurrect it in relations with Iran. The administration will have a realistic assessment that the JCPOA offers the best way of trying to constrain the Iranian nuclear programme. They will not expect the JCPOA to extend to Iranian regional policy in Yemen, Iraq and Syria. That is not to say that the Biden administration will not be interested in a more comprehensive set of engagements with Iran over its policies in the region, but it will not be contingent on the JCPOA.

America and Iran now need to find a way to return to the framework set out in the JCPOA. The Biden administration is serious about returning to the agreement and has expended political capital in committing itself to over-turning the withdrawal that had been affected by the Trump administration in 2018. Both the US and Iran have stated their desire to see the JCPOA restored.

What is now required is a series of choreographed diplomatic steps that enables both sides to return to the agreement whilst sanctions are lifted and disposal is made of the processed nuclear material. This will be tricky because both sides need to have confidence in the process. Nevertheless, both seek the same end result so it should be possible to put the process into place.

America will be joined by the E3 countries that have struggled to keep the JCPOA alive. A return to the framework will enable both sides to begin improving relations and addressing other issues of concern in their relationship.

Countries in Europe are looking forward to a more multilateralist, predictable and consistent administration in the White house.

The Trump administration was trying to sow doubt about the electoral process in the US but Biden’s victory was sufficiently decisive to make this pointless. Trump’s most extreme supporters may engage in occasional sporadic acts of violence but the prospect of widespread unrest is negligible.

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