By Declan Carey
PRESIDENT-ELECT Joe Biden can bring stability to the Middle East by patching up relations with Iran according to a leading political expert.
Professor Arshin Adib-Moghaddam from SOAS, University of London told Redaction Politics Iran is open to rebuilding trust with the United States – but the move must be reciprocal.
He said: “The [Iranian] government welcomed the election of Joe Biden and signalled that it is ready to resume negotiations with the United States, if the Biden administration recreates trust between the two states.
“The Supreme Leader of Iran, an institution that is at the heart of the intricate constitutional set up, emphasised caution, but Ayatollah Khamenei, too, is in favour of diplomacy with the United States.
“It wasn’t Iran, after all, that breached the nuclear agreement. Iranian civil society is hopeful that the Biden administration will alleviate some of the devastating sanctions that have exacerbated the Covid-19 situation in the country.”
During his time in the White House, Donald Trump had a strained relationship with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Under the Trump administration, the United States withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, with Trump criticising the agreement before becoming President.
Following US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, economic sanctions were reimposed as Iran’s economy declined according to data by the International Monetary Fund.
Tensions further escalated in January this year after a US drone attack killed Iranian general Qassem Suleimani in Baghdad, leading to retaliation fears.
Professor Adib-Moghaddam said that Joe Biden must make concessions to begin mending the damage done by Donald Trump.
He said: “No Iranian president can be seen to concede again, without any major trade-off for the country.
“In fact, Iranian civil society would vote any “sell out” government and political faction out of office.
“Iranians want detente with the United States, but on an even playing field. As I have argued in my new book ‘What is Iran?’.
“It is really not Iran that is the problem anymore. It is the right-wing in the United States and their global network that is preventing closer Iranian-US relations.
“If, however, next year’s elections in Iran produce a reformist government that continues with the pragmatic foreign policies of the Rouhani administration, then we might as well be on the cusp of yet another breakthrough in the relations between Iran and the United States.
“One thing is for sure: Without such a rapprochement, none of the crises in the so-called “Middle East” can be resolved.”
Professor Adib-Moghaddam’s new book ‘What is Iran? Domestic Politics and International Relations in Five Musical Pieces’ will be published next year.
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