By Mohammad Ali Saki

Washington won’t leave West Asia: Russian expert

January 2, 2021 - 18:0

TEHRAN – A Russian expert rules out the U.S. withdrawal from West Asia after its possible return to the JCPOA, the official name for the 2015 nuclear deal.

 Noting that the new American administration will not attempt a change of course towards its allies in the region, Stanislav Mitrakhovich from the National Energy Security Fund and the Financial University in Russia tells the Tehran Times that “America will not go out of the Middle East (West Asia), even (if) the U.S. under the Biden presidency decides to return to the JCPOA temporarily.” 

The nuclear deal was signed on July 14, 2015, in Vienna between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (the United States, China, Russia, France, and Britain) Germany and the European Union.

But on May 8, 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump officially announced his country’s unilateral withdrawal from the agreement, which he called “disastrous” and reimposed the worst sanctions in history on Iran.

This step brought a state of destabilization and more tension in West Asia where the U.S. sent additional troops and warships to the region.

However, some observers expect Washington to pull out of the region after its possible return to the nuclear deal and Iran confirms its full commitment to the deal.

Asked about if a Biden administration could reach a deal with Iran, Mitrakhovich says “the Biden administration will try to show its difference from Trump’s period. “They will try to show that they are going to follow new approaches, based on a different attitude,” the Russian expert notes. 

“So, a deal with Iran could be possible as Biden may even try to show Iran as an alternative to other exporters of energy that the EU or Asian consumers can count on.”

Regarding Biden’s policy towards Saudi Arabia and Israel, Mitrakhovich believes that Biden will not change tact towards Israel.

Israel developed a close relationship with the U.S. under Trump's presidency. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described Trump as "the best friend of Israel” after he congratulated President-elect Biden.

He thanked the outgoing Trump for raising relations between Israel and the United States to its climax.

But when it comes to Saudi Arabia, Mitrakhovich says “there could be problems, because the number of so-called ‘Saudi-sceptics’ in the State Department and the Pentagon may rise.”

Confirming that Iran is entitled to distrust the U.S. administration after Trump ditched the nuclear deal unilaterally, the Russian security and energy expert emphasizes that “Biden’s administration is afraid to rival China directly — so it’s the question of might and capabilities, not really the question of trust.”

“The only way you can deal with a strong opponent — is to be strong,” according to Mitrakhovich.

Regarding the November 27 assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, he is of the opinion that “if Iran doesn’t respond in a sensitive way (say, threaten Saudi tankers in the strait or threaten Israel with rockets) all other measures could be considered as just a rhetorical strike.”

Pointing to the U.S record in waging war especially in West Asia, Mitrakhovich predicts that “America will not go out of the Middle East (West Asia), even the U.S. under the Biden presidency decides to return to the JCPOA temporarily.”

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