Iran in the Cross-Hairs
© by Eric Walberg – November 28, 2020
[The assassination of Iran’s top nuclear scientist and professor Mohsen Fakhrizadeh has seriously complicated any efforts to normalize relations with Iran under a new Biden administration. Walberg contrasts the republican and democratic positions toward Iran while tracing key historical and recent events all in an effort to provide deeper insight into understanding Iran and U.S.-led efforts toward destabilization.—Covert Action Editors]
As bad as they are on other foreign policy issues, the Biden-Harris victory at a minimum, (1) brings hope the US will come back into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or 2015 Iran nuclear deal, (2) mitigates the danger of war, and (3) could lead to the reduction or ending of sanctions. However, the recent assassination of Prof. Fakhrizadeh complicates efforts to normalize relations [and there is likely to be difficult diplomacy involved in bringing the US and Iran back into the deal].
The grounds for optimism center on the fact that there are differences between the Republican and Democratic parties with respect to Iran. The Republicans in 2020 maintained their position from 2016 that the JCPOA was nonbinding without endorsement by two-thirds of the Senate. In their assessment, the JCPOA had emboldened Tehran to continue to “sponsor terrorism across the region, develop a nuclear weapon, test-fire ballistic missiles inscribed with ‘Death to Israel’ and abuse the basic human rights of its citizens.”
The Democratic Party platform, by contrast, states that it will “call off the Trump administration’s race to war with Iran,” noting that “the United States should not impose regime change on other countries” and that the party “reject[s] that as the goal of U.S. policy toward Iran.” The platform calls for returning to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, maintaining that it was “always meant to be the beginning, not the end, of our diplomacy with Iran,” and that it “remains the best means to verifiably cut off all of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear bomb.”
A precondition for restoring the JCPOA is a temporary freeze on uranium enrichment and reduction of Iran’s large stockpile. Iran, however, would only agree to this if the U.S. and EU would comply with the terms of the JCPOA and lift the sanctions.
By all indications, Biden remains committing to isolating Iran as part of a foreign policy designed to sustain US hegemony and access [to] oil.
The Democratic Party platform does not call for any cutbacks in arms sales to Saudi Arabia, Iran’s adversary, nor to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which the Trump administration has sold F-35 jets to. It also reiterates an “ironclad commitment to Israel,” another of Iran’s nemeses.
While seeking to end the blank check offered by Trump, the Democrats remain committed to the [military] modernization of the Gulf monarchies (Qatar, Bahrain, UAE), which are a key part of the U.S. containment strategy directed against Iran.
In addition, the Democratic Party platform does not stray from language that singles out Iran as a rogue state, and emphasizes its desire to “extend constraints” on its nuclear program and other threatening activities, including its “regional aggression, ballistic missile program and domestic repression.”[C-L editor’s note: This piece does not address the possibility of a December or January surprise by Trump in the form of an overt military provocation or attack on Iran, which cannot be dismissed as part of the wrecking crew approach the outgoing US admin is taking.]