Biden can lift economic sanctions through executive orders, expert says

January 25, 2021 - 10:54

TEHRAN- Hassan Beheshtipour, an international relations expert, says new U.S. President Joe Biden has the power to lift the sanctions that were imposed against Iran through executive order.

In an interview with ILNA published on Sunday, Beheshtipour also said, “The U.S. which has withdrawn from the JCPOA since May 2018, cannot expect Iran to return to its commitments first.”

Both during his presidential campaigns and after winning the presidency, Biden had expressed willingness to return to the nuclear deal, officially called the JCPOA, if Iran returns to full compliance with the agreement.

Iran started to gradually remove cap on its nuclear activities based on paragraph 36 of the JCPOA one year after Donald Trump quit the deal and imposed sanctions on Iran. By pulling out of the deal the Trump administration violated international law as the agreement has been confirmed by UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

“Iran waited a year, from May 2018 to May 2019, hoping that the Europeans would fulfill their commitments, but they did not live up to their commitments. Ultimately, Iran decided to reduce its commitments in five steps every 60 days,” Beheshtipour said.

Pointing to the economic sanctions imposed by Trump’s administration, Beheshtipour said, “Since the United States started this path, naturally it must return to its obligations and fulfill them. Mr. Biden is expected to issue executive orders and revoke Trump's orders to lift sanctions on Iran. In the international arena, when a party initiates a policy, it must take the initiative to compensate. When Mr. Biden lifts the sanctions, then Europeans have no excuse to say that under American pressure they will not fulfill their obligations.” 

He asserted, “Iran and the United States can set a zero point and say that both of them will start returning to their commitments together, but it is the U.S. that has left the JCPOA.” 

Noting that the two sides are clear on how to return to commitments, he said, “Biden wants to coordinate with his allies on the JCPOA”. He added, “Unlike Trump, who does not count Europeans at all and treats them very badly, he respects his European partners and may even coordinate with China and Russia on this issue.”

Nevertheless, Beheshtipour emphasized, “We have to be realistic, Biden needs time to consult with American allies concerning how to return to the agreement with Iran.”

Regarding the expectations that the two countries have from each other, including Iran's demand for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the region, he said, “Iran's logic is that the U.S. presence has created insecurity in the region and, instead of creating security, has led to the emergence of Daesh (ISIS) and Takfiri terrorists who carry out various operations in the region.”

EE/PA 

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