President Joe Biden is apparently in talks with the Iranian regime to return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and has informed Israel of his plans. Meanwhile, the government of Israel is said to be exploring military options to undermine Iran’s nuclear efforts as they are worried that Biden might undo whatever Trump has done during his term.
The Iranian nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is a product of the Obama administration. JCPOA banned American nuclear investigators from inspecting Iran’s nuclear sites, eased sanctions that were placed on Iran, and allowed China and Russia to supply Iran with weapons. The Obama administration even admitted that some of the $150 billion in revenues Iran generated from lifting sanctions would be spent on boosting military capabilities and even acts of terror.
President Trump withdrew from the Iranian nuclear deal in 2018, slamming it for its many flaws, and noting that the one-sided deal “should have never, ever been made.” He then imposed numerous sanctions on the Islamic country that have crippled its economy, all with the aim of making Tehran agree to a new deal that ensures it does not develop nuclear weapons. Obama’s JCPOA had then-Vice President Joe Biden’s full approval. With Biden in the White House again, it is little wonder that he wishes to reverse Trump’s policies and get the U.S. back into the JCPOA.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, is putting together a team to discuss how to deal with the incoming Biden administration on the issue of the nuclear deal. “If we just go back to the JCPOA, what will happen and may already be happening is that many other countries in the Middle East will rush to arm themselves with nuclear weapons. That is a nightmare and that is folly. It should not happen,” he warned in a statement.
In fact, Iran seems to be already bolstered that it can make the U.S. agree to its terms as the country recently announced plans to enrich uranium to 20 percent. The JCPOA deal had placed an enrichment limit of 3.67 percent, and Iran is presently believed to have achieved a limit of 4.5 percent.
Walid Phares, a Middle East scholar, warns that the Biden administration would be a disaster for the U.S. in terms of foreign policy. He notes that Trump’s promise in 2016 to take down the Iranian nuclear deal made him an enemy of vested economic and political interests. Phares says that there is a financial bridge that connects Tehran to the EU and U.S. Democrats, which worked to generate anger in Europe against Trump. “The pre-election resistance, I believe, simply came about because the Trump team was serious about containing Iran and dismantling ISIS and was considering changing the Obama policy regarding radical Islamists and the Brotherhood,” he writes in the book The Choice: Trump vs. Obama in U.S. Foreign Policy.
When the results of the 2020 presidential race came out, it wasn’t surprising that the Iranian regime expressed happiness at Trump’s defeat. Many leaders in the EU region were also pleased, as they blamed Trump for “worsening” relations with Iran. However, Biden’s plans to get Iran back into the JCPOA deal will face resistance back home, from both the Republican and Democrat front. Many American lawmakers will want the U.S. to continue with the sanctions unless Iran addresses some of the clauses in the deal that are objectionable to the United States, Israel, and Iran’s Sunni neighbors.