Biden continuing wrongheaded Trump-era policy on Iran: MSNBC

TEHRAN – In a commentary on May 20, the MSNBC criticized Joe Biden’s policy toward the Iran nuclear deal which is on life support, saying 18 months into his presidency he is “continuing wrongheaded Trump-era policy on Iran”.

Trump unilaterally quit the 2015 nuclear deal in May 2018 in line with his “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran. A year after Trump rescinded the nuclear deal, Iran gradually started to remove bans on its nuclear program. Trump suffered from the illusion that by abrogating the nuclear deal, Iran would give in to his illegal demands.

Based on the nuclear agreement, Iran was obliged to put limits on its nuclear activities in exchange for termination of economic and financial sanctions.

The American cable channel is asking: “How long can Biden stick to Trump’s failed Iran policy.”

Following is an excerpt of the article:

Biden heavily criticized former President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal and opposed his “maximum pressure” strategy seeking to force Iran to capitulate by crushing its economy through unprecedented sanctions. Yet, 18 months into his presidency, Biden has yet to shift away from Trump’s sanctions policy. A combination of factors — from not wanting to spend political capital on this issue to seeking to avoid an open political conflict with Israel — appear to explain Biden’s malpractice on this issue.

The question is: How long can Biden stick to Trump’s failed Iran policy without having to take ownership and responsibility for its continued failure?

Another example of Biden continuing wrongheaded Trump-era policy on Iran is the debacle over the current listing of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of the Iranian Armed Forces, as a terrorist organization. It has become the key sticking point for the U.S. to rejoin the nuclear agreement, but completely needlessly.

Back in 2017, Antony Blinken, who is now Biden’s secretary of state, penned an op-ed in The New York Times arguing against designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization, pointing to the escalatory potential of such a decision. He told CNN then that this was precisely why both the Bush and Obama administrations had rejected this move.

“We see a pattern in which the Biden team blasts Trump’s moves, yet refuses to undo them.”

But after withdrawing from the Iran deal, the Trump administration put the IRGC on the U.S. list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations anyway, in a cynical and transparent move to render any U.S. return to the Iran nuclear deal more difficult. Since the IRGC was already sanctioned under U.S. law, the designation had only the symbolic effect of further stigmatizing and angering Iran. Proponents of the move admitted as much publicly. In 2019, the National Security Action group — which was co-founded by Jake Sullivan, who is now Biden’s national security adviser — blasted the decision as a “dangerous and self-defeating tactic that endangers our troops and serves nothing but the Trump administration’s goal of destroying the Iran deal, which is all that stands in the way of Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon.”

Now Tehran wants the IRGC to be taken off the list before the resumption of the nuclear deal with Biden, but Biden has refused to do so out of fear of looking weak.

Both Tehran and Washington have unnecessarily painted themselves into a corner on this issue. Both sides believe it is too costly for them politically to back down, even though the collapse of the nuclear deal will create far greater headaches for both. Neither side is being reasonable; both sides would benefit from withdrawing their demands on this matter.

But here again, we see a pattern in which the Biden team blasts Trump’s moves, yet refuses to undo them.

After largely continuing Trump’s Iran policy for almost 18 months, Biden has begun to own it.

Even some of the U.S. strongest allies in Europe are losing their patience with Biden. Former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt and former EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana accused Biden of “passivity vis-a-vis Iran” in The Washington Post this week. “It’s puzzling,” they wrote, “that, after running on a return to the nuclear deal and promising that ‘America is back,’ Biden has been slow-walking diplomacy that U.S. allies strongly support.”

One of the people who shared the hard-hitting Washington Post op-ed on Twitter was Enrique Mora — the current EU negotiator who has acted as a mediator between Biden and Tehran for the past year and a half.

The message to Biden was crystal clear: You will soon own this policy.

Read the article on the website Tehran Times