Developed in conjunction with Joomla extensions.

Biden and Iran's Nuclear Issue

Dr. Akram Salehi*

Over four last decades, Iran and the United States have been dealing with deep conflicts and hostilities. That's why the two countries have repeatedly gone to the brink of military Confrontation.

But Iran's nuclear program has been one of the milestones of their confrontation. So, following the agreement called JCPOA between Iran and P5+1, and also the United States' unilateral withdrawal from it in 2018, hundreds of economic, political, and military sanctions were imposed on Iran by Donald Trump. Now in America, we are facing a new administration whose president Joe Biden has intention to return to the deal provided that Iran restore its promises under the accord. Thus, this research is going to answer this question that what Biden's policy is toward Iran's nuclear program, and what impact his policy is going to have on this program. Seemingly, foreign policy of the Biden administration is to return to the deal, and to negotiate over JCPOA-plus, which means to curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for lifting sanctions and further controlling Iran's regional movements and missile program.
It's really important to have a good command of Iran's nuclear program history and the role of West in this establishment to analyze Technical and political argument over Iran's nuclear case. Nuclear issue can be considered as one of the areas of which the United States has used as a lever of pressure on Iran since the beginning of its nuclear program. Obviously, America's accusation of Iran double standard in nuclear behavior in recent years, and discrimination against Iran has its roots in West support of Iran's previous monarchy which was given up after Islamic Revolution. This fact strengthened Islamic Republic of Iran's motivation to achieve nuclear self-sufficiency. Actually, source of Iran's tendency to the nuclear energy dates back to 1336/1956.
At that time, negotiation between Iran then-administration and White House resulted in draft agreement for civilian use of nuclear energy. With the beginning of Iran's nuclear program aimed at providing a potential source of energy and also making progress in the country's scientific capacities.
With the start of Iran's nuclear activities Mohammad Reza Shah set ambitious plans for expansion and development of Iran's nuclear program. Iran's nuclear cooperation with the United States and Europeans continued till the victory of Islamic Revolution in 1979, and the unilateral termination of the agreement for establishing nuclear power plant by the western partners, Iran started many scientific efforts to achieve civilian nuclear energy. Regarding this, European countries and America have abstained from transferring any equipment and nuclear technology to the Islamic Republic, and refused to carry out the agreement concluded legally under IAEA supervision.
Following constant efforts for resolving Iran's nuclear issue and failure in Sa'ad Abad outcome, and postponing the issue to the Brussel Agreement, in which Iran was asked to lift constructing and montaging centrifuges, the two sides once again assembled together under Paris Agreement to resolve the rest of the issues. But this also made no changes. After the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the president, because of the convulsive situation of Iran's nuclear case, the nuclear issue was regarded as the Red Line of administration and Supreme National Security Council. Based on this, by referral of Iran's nuclear case from IAEA to the Security Council the way for Iran's entry to the framework of regulations under Chapter 7 of United Nations Charter was paved. consequently, United Nations Security Council as a part of international efforts to halt Iran's nuclear program, issued 6 Resolutions against Iran.
The first round of serious negotiation between Iran and P5 + 1 started on October 16th, 2014 in Geneva. The outcome of this round of the negotiations which was announced in the middle of November, was Iran's statement that it has resolved all the notable problems with the IAEA, and this included renewed presence of IAEA Inspectors in nuclear facilities.
Vienna Agreement f 2015, revived real hopes in hearts, and led to the renewal of economic exchanges between Iran and other countries. Iran hoped that this Deal can lead to the immediate economic recovery, the thing that the country urgently needed in critical situations. But non-fulfilment of Iran's expectation from one side, and the election of Trump in November 2016 on the other hand, made the situation worse. Trump questioned international credibility of JCPOA and this imposing restrictions and sanctions that was in contradiction with the Deal, he tried to deplete JCPOA from within and to reduce it to a bilateral commitment between Iran and the United States. Eventually, on May 8th 2018, Trump announced the unilateral withdrawal from The Agreement and started to countdown till the return of Us sanctions on Iran. Actually, over the past four decades, Americans have put the most severe in human sanctions under the concept of maximum pressure on their agenda to begin a new round of negotiations in the form of coercive diplomacy. Their hostile actions in West Asia have repeatedly taken two countries to the brink of Direct military confrontation.
Due to that reason, Iranian statesmen took the strategy of returning to pre-JCPOA status gradually, in the condition that the Western partner doesn't carry out its commitments. In fact, over the past one and a half year, the European Union not only did nothing practical to nullify the economics pressure against Iran, but also as the White House representative, followed the imposition of missile and the regional negotiations on Iran. Therefore, after more than a year passing US dis loyalties, Iranian government officially implemented its plan to reduce obligations under JCPOA in five steps, which means to reduce 5 restrictions defined in The Deal since Ordibehesht1398/ April 2019.
Despite these events, Iran's benevolence in JCPOA would not be questioned, because Iran fulfilled its obligations completely and complied with all the regulations. Agency's 15 reports confirm Iran's loyalty to its obligations. Iran has kept The Deal even after America's withdrawal from it. In fact, a step-by-step reduction of commitments was Iran's compensatory action against America and Europe activities. They use their right in JCPOA. Actually, Iran's actions were reversible and did not lead to the destruction of the Deal. However, despite the fact that over past 4 years European Troika and Sino-Russian axis have sought to prevent JCPOA from complete destruction, their only hope was the political change in White House and consequently, US return to the Deal. Considering this, their aimed change happened in 2020 presidential election. Joe Biden constantly insisting on the necessity of returning to JCPOA, defeated trump and entered White House, and the remaining parties has been waiting for the new White House team's action to return to the Nuclear Deal.
Therefore, in the light of political change in White House, and with Biden's gaining power, his administration's desire is not like that of Trump's. Facing all mentioned challenges and the changing conditions, Biden tends to revive JCPOA and put it as the basement for complimentary agreement. In fact, one of the most serious scenarios which is popular in the United States new government is to reform the Deal, not to change it. So that their goal is to achieve a complimentary agreement. This scenario means that Iran and the US show enthusiasm for the agreement based on their interests. In reality, America tends to persuade to negotiate over JCPOA-plus. With JCPOA-plus in addition to increasing restrictions for nuclear program, the United States seeks to impose some constraints on missile program and Iran's regional role. More clearly, JCPOA is acting the role of a bridge or an interface. In this scenario, America has always declared over past decades that Iran's nuclear program is not their only concern. They have greedily mention Iran's regional behavior, missile program, and Human Right issues.
Meanwhile, Europeans move to the favor of Americans and seek to replace JCPOA with a more comprehensive deal which embraces Islamic Republic regional influence and missile programs; so that just like Joe Biden, they firstly want to keep the Agreement, and then using this to make deals over other issues. More precisely, their main solution is to maintain the Nuclear Deal and then to start regional missile and human right negotiations. Such a scenario support Europe and America's interests to the same extent. On the other hand, it should be mentioned that Russia and China are among the main opponents of expansion and development of Iran's nuclear program. Secretly, they are not uninterested in imposing more nuclear restrictions on Iran. China and Russia's historical experiences regarding Iran's nuclear program, provides the proofs showing their uneven and sometimes negative policies toward Iran. China and Russia have always voted against Iran in Security Council over past two decades, even in the peak of Iran's nuclear tensions. The most important evidence for this claim is the negative performance of the two estates in United Nations Security Council resolutions 1696, 1737, 1747, 1803, 1835 and 1984. Both Russia and China voted in favor of the Resolution, it led to imposition of severe sanctions on Iran.
To sum up, Biden administration's proper strategy should be relying on JCPOA, not JCPOA-plus. Because according to Ayatollah Khamenei's recent speech which regarded the negotiation over regional and missile issues as a "Red Line" in status Quo, Iran would never accept negotiating over such options, and it has not shown the least flexibility in this matter so far, and it does not seem to admit negotiation over these issues in near future.

 *Chief Editor of the English Journal of International Relations.


©2021 All Rights Reserved