Trump’s pressure campaign against Iran failed: former WH official

December 15, 2020 - 21:39

TEHRAN – U.S. President Donald Trump has sought to reach a new deal with Iran through exerting pressure on it but he failed to get any deal with Iran, former assistant director for National Security in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has said.

“Trump wanted to reach a better deal with Iran through maximum pressure, but he failed. [Joe] Biden also seeks to secure a better deal with Iran but he wants to do so on the basis of the current deal or the JCPOA,” Frank Von Hippel told Iran’s state news agency IRNA, referring to an acronym for the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

He added, “This is the difference between Trump and Biden.”

According to Hippel, Trump did everything in his power to make the survival of the JCPOA impossible. “He imposed various sanctions, including non-nuclear sanctions, to complicate the return to the JCPOA,” Hippel said, noting that the Trump administration has imposed terrorism-related sanctions that will make Biden’s return to the Iran nuclear deal difficult.

During his election campaign, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden announced that he will return to the Iran nuclear deal if he wins the U.S. presidential election.

“I will offer Tehran a credible path back to diplomacy. If Iran returns to strict compliance with the nuclear deal, the United States would rejoin the agreement as a starting point for follow-on negotiations. With our allies, we will work to strengthen and extend the nuclear deal's provisions, while also addressing other issues of concern,” Biden said in a September op-ed for CNN.

After the election, Biden said that making good on this promise will be hard. In a recent interview with The New York Times’ columnist Thomas Friedman, Biden addressed a variety of domestic and foreign policy issues, including the nuclear deal, which President Donald Trump quit on May 8, 2018.

Asked whether he still stands by his views on the deal that he expressed in the op-ed for CNN, Biden answered, “It’s going to be hard, but yeah.”

Biden reiterated this position in a recent interview with CNN in which he said that he thinks he will have “very difficult” issues dealing with Iran.

“He [Trump] has pulled out to get something tougher, and what have they done? They've increased the ability for them to have nuclear material. They're moving closer to the ability to be able to have enough material for a nuclear weapon. And there's the missile issues,” Biden said, adding, “All those things, I think, are going to be very difficult. But I know one thing: We cannot do this alone. And that's why we have to be part of a larger group, dealing not only with Iran, but with Russia, with China and a whole range of other issues.”

Hippel said the assassination of top Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was aimed to further harden any Biden’s effort to rejoin the JCPOA.

“The timing of this assassination was very questionable,” Hippel pointed out, adding, “The timing of the assassination shows that the aim is to make things more complicated for the Biden administration. Israel has carried out other assassinations in the past that seemed to seek to complicate things for the Obama administration.”

According to Hippel, Trump and Israel, both have sought to provoke Iran to prevent the return to the JCPOA.

On November 27 at 14:30, the convoy of Fakhrizadeh suddenly came under attack on a highway in the small city of Absard in Damavand County, about 40 kilometers east of the capital Tehran. The scientist lost his life during the attack. Iranian officials were quick to point the finger at Israel, which has carried out many assassination operations against Iranian nuclear scientists over the past decade. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet on the day of the assassination that the attack was carried out with “serious indications of Israeli role.” Since then, several Iranian officials have vowed to take revenge against Israel.

“All think tanks and all enemies of Iran should know well that the Iranian nation and the country’s authorities are more courageous and zealous than to let this criminal act go unanswered. The relevant authorities will respond to this crime at the proper time,” President Hassan Rouhani said following the assassination.

But Rouhani also said that Iran will not fall into the “trap” of the enemies.

“The Iranian nation is wiser and smarter than to fall in the trap of the Zionists (Israel). They are after chaos and sedition. They should understand that we know their plans and they will not achieve their ominous goals,” the Iranian president said.

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