TEHRAN – Marc Finaud, the former French Foreign Ministry spokesman, predicts that the incoming Joe Biden administration will “follow Barack Obama’s legacy based on policy change and not regime change towards Iran.”
Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate, beat Donald Trump in the election. Biden was declared the victor on Saturday, November 7, four days after the November 3 elections.
Trump, who will remain in the White House until January 20, 2021, has been pursuing an illegal and extremely hostile policy toward Iran within his “maximum pressure” strategy against Iran. He abrogated the multilateral 2015 nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2231. Diplomats, officials, and analysts say Trump unilaterally quit the nuclear deal because it was brokered by the Obama administration.
“Biden will certainly continue along this pragmatic approach without necessarily favoring rapid normalization,” Finaud tells the Tehran Times.
Finaud, a senior member of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, also says, “If Biden fulfils his promise of returning to the JCPOA, there is no doubt that this can only be done by lifting the U.S. unilateral sanctions against Iran, since those were deemed a violation of the JCPOA commitments.”
He also says, “The most important feature of Biden’s announced plan is that it is based on renewed dialogue and negotiation and no longer on the ‘maximum pressure’ policy of Trump.”
Following is the text of the interview:
Q: Writing an article in the CNN on September 13, Joe Biden proposed a three-stage plan for engagement with Iran. In addition the JCPOA, he suggested to extend the talks on human rights, Iran’s regional policies and missile program. What is your assessment?
A: The most important feature of Biden’s announced plan is that it is based on renewed dialogue and negotiation and no longer on the “maximum pressure” policy of Trump. He supported Obama’s policy of focusing on the nuclear issue because it was then considered as a priority and he knew that the other issues (missiles, regional presence, and human rights) would be more difficult to negotiate or, if negotiations succeeded, they could pave the way for normalization for which conservatives in each camp were not ready. Now, despite his election, Biden knows that there are still obstacles to normalization and that improvement of relations can only be incremental. One advantage of multiplying the topics for discussion is that they can lend themselves to mutual concessions and gains. For instance, Iran could accept to discuss its missile program provided other countries in the region with missile programs (Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Egypt) would also be involved or accepted similar constraints. In terms of timing, though, it would seem that the first priority would be to restore implementation of the JCPOA by all parties, including the United States.
Q: Biden repeatedly spoke of returning to the JCPOA during his election campaigns. What is your analysis?
A: If Biden fulfils his promise of returning to the JCPOA, there is no doubt that this can only be done by lifting the U.S. unilateral sanctions against Iran, since those were deemed a violation of the JCPOA commitments. There are a number of sanctions that the new president will be able to cancel himself rapidly, while for others he will need the support of Congress. That will be easy in the case of the House of Representatives where Democrats maintained a majority, but more difficult with the Senate whose majority remains in the hands of the Republicans.
Q: The Democratic Party announced in a statement during the presidential campaigns that it would not seek regime change in Iran. Will the Biden administration follow this policy or was it just a propaganda?
A: The Democrats follow Obama’s legacy based on policy change and not regime change towards Iran. Biden will certainly continue along this pragmatic approach without necessarily favoring rapid normalization.
Q: In general, what policy shifts do you predict by the Biden administration in comparison to Trump’s?
A: We can expect a more balanced policy, still supportive of Israel and Saudi Arabia including with arms transfers, but more moderate, and not at the expense of regional peace and stability, for instance more active in brokering Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, and more supportive of multilateral efforts to solve the conflicts in Syria and Yemen, including through engagement with Iran, Russia, and Turkey.
Original News : https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/454420/Biden-will-follow-Obama-s-legacy-towards-Iran-ex-French-Foreign