Iran Eager to Seize ‘Any Opportunity’ to Lift US Sanctions in Wake of Trump’s Election Defeat by Biden
Iran’s government is going to try to use “any opportunity” to get the US sanctions over its nuclear program lifted, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has stated in the wake of the 2020 US presidential election, in which Democratic candidate Joe Biden appears to have defeated Republican incumbent Donald Trump.
While the Trump Administration has pulled out the United States from the 2015 international Iranian nuclear deal, and has been trying to cripple Iran’s economy through harsh sanctions,
Joe Biden has been suggesting that Iran be given “credible path back to diplomacy”.
“Our aim is to lift the pressure of sanctions from the shoulders of our people,” Iranian President Rouhani said in televised remarks during a weekly cabinet meeting on Wednesday, November 11, 2020, as cited by AFP and France24.
“Wherever this favourable opportunity arises we will act on our responsibilities. No one should miss any opportunity,” added Rouhani who is considered a moderate and a reformist, and who was Iran’s leading proponent of the 2015 nuclear deal with the United States and other world powers.
“National security and national interests are not factional and partisan issues,” added the Iranian President who has been lambasted by conservative hardliners over his coalition’s “over-excitement” for the potential for engagement with the new US presidential administration to be headed by Joe Biden.
Rouhani further revealed that his administration had in fact prepared its policies based on the assumption that Donald Trump would be reelected for a second term as President of the United States.
He emphasized that Iran was prepared for the remaining in place of the American sanctions over the Iranian nuclear program.
Yet, Iran’s President made it clear he had taken notice of what are deemed conciliatory statements made by Joe Biden during the latter’s campaign.
“They can choose a new path. And if they do not want to, it is their choice,” Rouhani told the Iranian Cabinet with respect to the future Biden Administration.
Last week, Iran’s Supreme Leader Aytollah Ali Khamenei declared that Tehran’s policies towards the United States would not be changed by the results from the US presidential election, and Biden’s triumph over Trump.
The enmity between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran goes back to the Islamic Revolution in Iran back in 1979.
After 2000, it has been exacerbated by the issue of the Iranian nuclear program, which the US and other Western countries have been construing as geared towards the development of nuclear weapons, accusations staunchly denied by Tehran.
The Iranian nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was a compromise arrangement signed in July 2015 by Iran and six foreign powers: US, China, Russia, UK, France, and Germany, with the involvement of the European Union.
It is supposed to ensure that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, and not for the development of nuclear weapons.
The JCPOA agreement was championed by former US President Barack Obama and the Obama Administration as one of its landmark foreign policy achievements.
The Iranian nuclear deal has been mostly opposed by the Republican Party, and by Israel’s long-standing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Even though at first, back in 2017, it acknowledged that Iran had been keeping its end of the deal, the Trump Administration had been adamantly opposed to it in principle, and on May 8, 2018, President Trump withdrew the United States from the JCPOA despite desperate attempts by America’s Western European allies to dissuade him from doing so.
After the withdrawal, the Trump Administration first re-imposed the US sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, and subsequently strengthened them.
The American sanctions have deprived the Iranian government from crucial revenues from the exports of oil and have led to the isolation of Iranian banks, a major recession, and a slump in the value of the Iranian currency, the rial.
In Iran’s domestic politics, America’s withdrawal from the 2015 JCPOA deal and its ensuing slapping of sanctions is believed to have empowered the hardliners and conservative forces.