By Mohammad Mazhari 

No difference between Democrats’ proposal and Trump's policies regarding nuclear deal: Entesar

September 1, 2020 - 18:28

TEHRAN – Nader Entesar, professor emeritus of political science from the University of South Alabama, is of the opinion that there is no “drastic difference between the Democratic Party's proposal regarding the nuclear deal's future” and that of Donald Trump.

Last week, the U.S. claimed that it has triggered a 30-day process to restore virtually all UN sanctions on Iran after the Security Council refused to uphold the American draft.

Actually, all other Security Council members flatly rejected Washington's position, repeating their position that the U.S. had lost its legal standing to act after the Trump administration withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal more than two years ago.

The Security Council resolution endorsed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- the U.S., Russia, China, the United Kingdom, and France – Germany, and the European Union.

The resolution allows "a JCPOA participant state" to trigger the "snapback" mechanism. The U.S. keeps claiming that it has the legal right as an original JCPOA participant even though it ceased participating in 2018.

On the other hand, Trump thinks that he could still renegotiate the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran, despite its extremely punitive sanctions on Iran. 

In this regard, Entessar tells the Tehran Times that the Trump administration is not trustable to make a new deal with.

"The record of the U.S. unilateral withdrawal from its international obligations and long-cherished treaties, especially in the past three years, speaks for itself," Entesar says. 

While Trump tries to show the "maximum pressure" campaign on Iran as a resounding success, the critics believe that it was nothing but an abject failure underscoring the United States' receding influence on global affairs.

Some Analyst says Washington’s approaches toward Tehran and Beijing have pushed Iran and China to embark on inking a 25-year comprehensive agreement, a move that will strengthen China’s presence in West Asia. 

But Entessar thinks that the proposed Iran-China agreement requires some time before it is finalized and put into operation.

"Therefore, its impact on Washington's ‘Maximum Pressure’ policy will not be felt until the Iran-China agreement is implemented, and we know the specifics of the proposed agreement," he argues. "The nuclear deal has been dying a slow death for some time now and is currently in a comatose stage and may indeed be reaching the end of its life cycle."    

Responding to a question about passive European reaction to U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal, Entessar notes that the European position has been extremely timid with a strong mendacity dose.  

"Europe has been a junior partner of the United States from the very beginning of nuclear negotiations with Iran, and it has not played an independent role throughout this process," the political expert says.

Some prefer to bet on the Democrats' possible win to revive the nuclear deal after Joe Biden criticized Trump for his unilateral withdrawal from the agreement.

However, Entesar doubts that the nuclear deal survives in its current form even if Biden wins the U.S. presidential election this November.

"In fact, Biden's chief foreign policy advisors have intimated that future discussions about the nuclear deal must be expanded to include limitations on Iran's defensive capabilities, especially the country's missile system, its regional policies, as well as permanent restrictions on the country's nuclear program once the current restrictions expire in 2025," he states.

Entesar is of the opinion that the recently published 80-page 2020 Democratic Party Platform clearly specifies most of these restrictions if the nuclear deal is to be revived.

"Frankly, I don't see a drastic difference between the Democratic Party's proposal regarding the nuclear deal's future and what Trump has been proposing in the past three years," he emphasizes.

But Entessar points out that Trump makes his proposals in a “bombastic way”, but Biden would resort to a “more nuanced and diplomatic language”.  

In addition to imposing sanctions and diplomatic campaigns against Iran, the Trump administration and Israel do not seem reluctant to spark another war in the West Asia region before the U.S. presidential elections.

On July 23, a Mahan Air commercial airliner was intercepted by a U.S. F-15 fighter jet over southeast Syria. The flight was en route to Beirut from Tehran when the U.S. fighter flew close for visual inspection. 

Confirming these provocative moves by the U.S., Entessar says the Trump foreign policy machinery may try to goad Iran into taking some actions in order to create a foreign policy crisis that may help Trump's reelection.

"The best policy for Iran is not to fall into their traps," the South Alabama University professor suggests.

 ‘Washington's approach to Tehran has been shaped over the past four decades’

"If Biden is elected, his administration will first and foremost seek to repair that has been done to U.S. relations with its traditional allies and restore a semblance of normalcy in U.S. foreign policy towards its allies," Entessar predicts. 

He adds, “With respect to the U.S.-Iran relations, we have to remember that Washington's approach to Tehran has been shaped over the past four decades and does not change significantly with a change in the U.S. presidency."

Entesar underlines the U.S. policy toward Iran is consistent and no change is expected.

"Of course, tactical nuances may be introduced in America's approach to Iran, but Washington's strategic goals toward Tehran have been remarkably consistent in the past forty years." 

Regarding Iran's opportunities to strengthen ties with Beijing in view of confrontation between the U.S. and China, the professor says China's relations with the United States have gradually become strained, however the China-U.S. relations remain robust in many ways. 

 "Given the magnitude of U.S.-China economic ties and the fact that China has adhered to most of the anti-Iran U.S. sanctions, Iran is not in a position to play its "China card" in its dealings with the United States at this time, Entesar concludes.  

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