By Mohammad Ali Saki

Biden should return to JCPOA like Paris accord without delay: professor

March 15, 2021 - 20:29

TEHRAN - An Indian professor calls for an immediate U.S. return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as it did in regard to the Paris climate agreement.

"As he went back to the Paris agreement without any delay, he should do that with the Iranian nuclear deal," Ashok Swain tells the Tehran Times.

 Swain, a professor of peace and conflict research at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research from Uppsala University, believes that the hesitant steps by Biden can be explained that there are powerful political groups in the U.S. who have an anti-Iran agenda.

Some American politicians have urged Biden not to rush to restore the Iran nuclear deal – JCPOA- to avoid division. 

However, Swain notes that "Biden probably wants to continue Trump policy for some time in the hope of getting more concession from Iran. But I hope President Biden will do what he had promised to do as Candidate Biden." 
Following is the text of the Interview:

Q: How do you see President Joe Biden's policies after approximately 50 days in office?

A: Biden's foreign policy in his first days of the presidency has been a mixed bag. He has done well to get the U.S. back to supporting multilateralism. He has brought the U.S. back to the Paris Climate Agreement.  Under his leadership, the U.S. has started playing a responsible and leadership role within the UN. He has also done his best to get back the trust and respect from the old allies in Europe and bring some order within NATO. He is acting tough against Russia but looks confused vis-à-vis China. While he has sent the right signals to address the coup in Myanmar, the conflict in Yemen, and the civil war in Tigray, he seems to have not been able to decide how to deal with the challenges like North Korea and Kashmir. He and his State Department still clueless over how to undo what Trump has done to the U.S. policy regarding the nuclear deal with Iran and the Palestinian issue. So, the Biden foreign policy has been quite cautious, and the domestic factors seem to have a significant role in this.

"The U.S. is facing a decline in some areas, particularly geopolitically and economically."Q: Is Biden following a confrontational policy, somehow like his predecessor Donald Trump? Does he want to take advantage of Trump's legacy?

A: As I said before, Biden has already done the course correction on some critical and multilateral issues and has moved the U.S. approach back to the time when he was the Vice President. At the same time, he has not been forceful to change some of the whimsical and thoughtless foreign policy decisions Trump had made. Biden had promised to return to the Iranian nuclear deal in his election campaign, and it has not been done. The 'Trump sanctions' are still there and nothing has been done to improve the tense relationship with Iran. The cautious approach can be explained that there are powerful political groups in the U.S. who have an anti-Iran agenda who need to be persuaded. Biden also probably wants to continue Trump's policy for some time in the hope of getting more concession from Iran. But I hope President Biden will do what he had promised to do as Candidate Biden. As he went back to the Paris agreement without any delay, he should do that with the Iranian nuclear deal.

Q: Why does Biden seem hardliner, when it comes to China?

A: I think President Biden fully understands the challenge China poses to the U.S. 

China is too powerful now, and he has no other way but to find ways to cooperate more and less confront with China. Biden wants to be seen as the Climate President, and without China's cooperation, he can't do anything on that front. The U.S. economy is in bad shape, and to recover from the Covid-induced economic crisis, Biden also needs China's cooperation. At the same time, Biden is also facing an assertive China that demands superpower status in global politics. There have already been clashes in the UN Security Council on the issues of Myanmar and Tigray. President Biden being an intelligent politician he will take a pragmatic approach in shaping U.S. relations with China. It will be often tense, but not as volatile as it used to be under the Trump administration, and there will be structured and institutional cooperation mechanisms in place.

Q: Do you think that the U.S. is entered into a decline phase due to domestic challenges at home?

A: The U.S. is facing a decline in some areas, particularly geopolitically and economically. As I see, it is less the decline of the U.S. but more the rise of other powers. There has been a severe competition to the U.S., particularly from China.  The divisive domestic politics and deterioration of key institutions have also added to the U.S.s difficulties. Despite its decline, I still think the U.S. is most likely to remain the dominant power for years to come unless it does the self-harm to itself as it did by electing Donald Trump in 2016.

Q: Why are right-wing groups dominant in the U.S. and Europe that promote violence and wars?

A: The rise of right-wing groups in the West has been because of many people for their failure trying to find scapegoats. They have failed to take advantage of what their affluent societies offer in terms of education, health care, and knowledge creation and have not achieved what they think they should have achieved professionally. The immigrants have become scapegoats in explaining this growing dissatisfaction. Far-right politicians are taking advantage of this and making it worse in dividing the societies and countries. Hopefully, there will be a course correction by these societies soon, and the political class will refrain from pushing the ethno-nationalist agenda further. Otherwise, we all know what happened to Europe in the 1930s and 1940s.


 

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