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General

Biden sees JCPOA return as first diplomatic step: Analyst

The main policy of the Biden administration is based on returning the 2015 Iran nuclear deal as the first step prelude to any diplomatic breakthrough, a US-based political expert says.

Ali Vaez, the International Crisis Group's Iran Project Director, told IRNA in an exclusive interview that the current situation looks like a megaphone diplomacy, when every party tries to utilize public tribunes to address the other side. In such a condition, the more time goes by, the more both sides’ stances might become harsher than ever.

Suggesting a change of policy, Vaez called on the US and Iran to put aside public talks in order to adopt a silent and more constructive negotiation behind closed doors. The Biden administration has showed little enthusiasm to push ahead revival of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action because political lobby groups in Washington put pressure on the government over its return to the deal and the lifting of anti-Iran sanctions, he added.

In 2015, Republican senators did not voted for the JCPOA and the deal was not endorsed by all Democrat senators, he noted, saying that today opponents to the agreement are leading Senate majority; so, they could play a key role in selecting high-ranking officials of the Biden administration.

Therefore, the government needs congressional support to advance its programs, Vaez said, adding that US President Joe Biden waits for the Congress to finalize his appointments for high-ranking officials; then, he can kick off bargaining on Iran.

As to the multilateral policy of new US administration, the analyst said, Biden unlike his predecessor Donald Trump tries to return traditional policy-making procedure of the United States in dealing with international issues; so, the new president is going to coordinate with the Congress and the US allies in Europe and the West Asia region.

Pointing to US representative for Iran Robert Malley’s contact with the UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Vaez noted that the new administration tries to assure its regional allies the United States will pay attention to their security concerns and interests when it comes to revival of the JCPOA.

Asked about Thursday session of US National Security Council on Iran, the expert explained that the American authorities put into consideration political developments in Iran given the fact that presidential election in Iran will be held in the near future. The US administration wants to know whether its return to the JCPOA is possible before the Iranian election.

The US is sensitive to language of threat and it is not keen on taking a measure under pressure, when they want to respond to Iran’s parliament that determined an ultimatum for limiting compliance to the JCPOA, he said.

According to the analyst, the Biden administration does not want to escalate tensions in the current situation; so, it prefers to take a practical measure before February 21, when Iran’s ultimatum comes to an end.

The US may start negotiations with Iran in the coming days, Vaez said, noting that such an initial step in order to decrease tensions on Iranian nuclear program seems to be more of a symbolic measure.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency - IRNA


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