U.S. ‘maximum pressure’ brought Iran, Venezuela closer together: expert

August 22, 2020 - 20:27

TEHRAN — An international relations expert says the United States’ “maximum pressure” policy on Iran has brought Iran and Venezuela closer together as energy partners, with Venezuela serving as a destination country for Iranian gasoline exports.

“The Trump administration has routinely claimed that ‘maximum pressure’ will force Iran to make concessions in nuclear negotiations, as well as over Iran’s ballistic missile program and support of militia groups labelled by the United States as terrorist organizations,” Stephen Herzog, who is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at Yale University, told ILNA in an interview published on Saturday.

“However, Iran has enhanced its trade ties with China, Venezuela, and other countries,” Herzog said.

He said since the activities that the Trump administration claims to be stopping are also continuing, it is a paradox to watch U.S. officials - particularly Secretary of State Mike Pompeo - continuously say more sanctions are needed because of Iran’s strength while also claiming Iran is weak because of sanctions. 

“Both cannot be true simultaneously,” the expert added.

Pointing out that the maximum pressure policy is clearly not working, Herzog said the United States would be better served by a more constructive approach prioritizing negotiations and a return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

On the prospects of the JCPOA, he said if former Vice President Joe Biden defeats Trump in the U.S. presidential election in November, “I am confident Biden will seek a return to the JCPOA framework.”

“Biden is very committed to the deal, which was negotiated while he was serving under President Barack Obama, he said. 

In May 2018, Trump unilaterally pulled his country out of the JCPOA, unleashing the “toughest ever” sanctions against Iran.

Observers say Trump’s reason for the withdrawal from the nuclear deal was prompted by his hatred of any achievement by his predecessor Barack Obama.


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