Home US Foreign Affairs US and Iran Nuclear Talks: Ice is Breaking at the Wrong Time Near Iran’s Presidential Elections

US and Iran Nuclear Talks: Ice is Breaking at the Wrong Time Near Iran’s Presidential Elections

by Eli Mshomi

After a series of blame games, lies, and deceits, nuclear diplomacy is on a roll once again in the Middle East. The ice that was hard to melt finally softened with the confirmation of the upcoming unofficial nuclear dialogue between the US and Iran in Vienna.

Although the countries are still hesitant to talk directly amid the mutual distrust, the initiation of even the unofficial talks is a promising sign.

As Trump wrapped up the Obama-administrated Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran, the relations between the two countries deteriorated.

These tensing relations heaped up day by day as the US bombed Iranian General Qasem Solemani in Iraq and another Irani nuclear scientist.

In retaliation, Iran bombed US military installations in Iraq and “mistakenly” shot down a Ukraine passenger aircraft, downing all 167 passengers on board.

As Iran was retaliating with full force enriching their uranium facilities, the United States had nothing to lose in this race so that Iran must not end up proliferating nuclear weapons.

Now, as the talks resume, even without direct contact, the United States must seize this opportunity not only to take care of Iran’s nuclear ambitions but also to counter rising Chinese diplomacy as they discussed a landmark 25-year plan with Iran recently.

Since the oath-taking of the Biden administration, the US and Iran tussle has built up even further amid the rising distrust between the two countries.

Upcoming Presidential Elections in Iran: Not the Best Time for US and Iran Talks

While on the one hand, both countries want the other one to take the first step in bringing back normalcy to relations, which put many roadblocks in the diplomatic processes. On the other hand, the upcoming Presidential election in Iran in June is making the matter worse.

Owing to the popular pressure, the Iranian government would never like to finalize any new deal or even be back to JCPOA terms before the elections, or else they would bite the dust in the presidential elections.

The anti-American sentiments are still infiltrated within the masses in Iran, and cashing on them is the major tactic of the Iranian political parties.

So even if both countries start a dialogue, any near breakthrough seems impossible.

Thinking Beyond JCPOA terms: Blinken’s Ambitious yet Impractical Strategy

While Biden reiterated again and again during his presidential campaign that reviving JCPOA is the best way to stop Iran from pursuing nuclear ambitions, the goals of US Secretary of state Antony Blinken are even more ambitious.

Blinken is looking forward to having a deal to curtail Iran’s missile technology and its support of the Syrian government. 

However, putting new demands in front of Iran at a time when it is not even back to JCPOA would alarm Iran that a tough agreement is awaiting it.

So Iran can try to stay away from it while continuing to enrich its uranium facilities.


Nuclear Iran: Not an Option for the US

If the US fails to bring Iran back to JCPOA, Iranian nuclear ambitions would increase drastically in times to come because Iran has often tried not to bow down against the US pressure.

This could kick off nuclear proliferation in the already hostile Middle East, where Iran is considered an existential threat to Israel’s security.

The United States under the Biden administration is already pursuing the Abraham Accords, so it can even motivate Iran further not to be back to the nuclear deal. 

If Iran becomes a nuclear country somehow, the arrival of nuclear weapons in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE will be on the table at any time. 

This will kick-off a crisis of an unprecedented nature, and then it would be useless to cry over spilled milk.


Final Thoughts

The rising tensions in the US relations with Russia, China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia have already pushed these countries to come closer to each other and may sideline the United States completely.

Biden must pursue the US and Iran talks if the president wants to make his marks in the Middle East politics once again.

Even if the US has to take the first step, it should not be an issue for the Biden administration, as the US has to pay some price for Trump’s aimless foreign policy.

Similarly, the first and foremost priority of the United States should be bringing back Iran to pre-JCPOA terms before it could be subjected to further restrictions.

Not only this, but the electoral process in Iran should also be taken care of as any rush without seeing the domestic circumstances would push both countries into a dead-end tunnel.


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