Biden and Trump are two sides of the same coin

October 6, 2020 - 10:49

TEHRAN – While Donald Trump and Joe Biden bitterly call into question each other’s Iran policy, a U.S. expert tells the Tehran Times that, in essence, there are no differences between the two candidates’ policies toward Iran.

President Trump, who is working his butt off to defeat his Democrat rival Biden, has said many times that if he loses the November presidential election, countries such as Iran and China would “own America.”

“If Iran needed aid on this [the coronavirus pandemic], I would be willing to do something, if they wanted it, if they asked for it, I would be certainly [willing to help]. They were hit very hard. Obviously, those numbers weren’t correct numbers that they reported, but if they needed help, if they needed aid, if they needed ventilators - we have thousands of ventilators currently on hand and ventilators under construction- we would be certainly willing to help,” Trump said in a press briefing at the White House in April 2020.

He added, “What they should do is be smart and make a deal. It’s only because of, you know, you look at what happened, it’s John Kerry I guess just doesn’t want them to make a deal and they probably figuring they can wait and maybe it will be Biden and they’ll own America if Biden gets [elected] and they know with me doesn’t work that way, it doesn’t work that way. If Joe Biden got in, they’d own America between them China, Japan, Mexico, Canada. They’d own America. You wouldn’t have a country left if he got in.”

Trump reiterated these remarks on many occasions, further creating the perception that Iran, along with countries such as China, prefers a Biden victory over him. This is all while Iran has made it crystal clear many times that it does not attach importance to the victory of a certain candidate in the U.S. election. In fact, Iranian officials have stated that it does not matter for them who will win the November election.

However, some analysts and commentators have claimed that Iran prefers the election of Biden, the former U.S. vice president, because he would reenter the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers if he is elected. These analysts, who are mainly Trump supporters, argue that a Biden election means that Trump’s maximum pressure campaign against Iran would come to an end and that Iran would be welcoming Trump’s defeat because Biden has already said that he would rejoin the Iran nuclear deal if he moved into the White House.

The U.S. intelligence community also strengthened the narrative of Iran preferring a Biden victory. In a statement on August 7, William Evanina, the chief of the National Counter-Intelligence and Security Center, alleged that Iran seeks to undermine President Trump. 

“We assess that Iran seeks to undermine U.S. democratic institutions, President Trump, and to divide the country in advance of the 2020 elections. Iran’s efforts along these lines probably will focus on on-line influence, such as spreading disinformation on social media and recirculating anti-U.S. content,” Evanina said. “Tehran’s motivation to conduct such activities is, in part, driven by a perception that President Trump’s reelection would result in a continuation of U.S. pressure on Iran in an effort to foment regime change.”

It seems that these assessments are behind Trump’s repetitive remarks claiming that Iran and China want him to lose the election to Biden. He also said Iran is waiting him out. This is while some Iranian officials have said the Democrats are not better than the Republicans.

“Wasn’t [President Barack] Obama a Democrat? What Obama did wasn’t better than Trump. The only [difference] is that he [President Obama] worked quietly while Trump works vociferously. These sanctions have been imposed by the Democrats especially under Obama,” Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution on international affairs, told the Tasnim news agency on September 19.
Other Iranian officials have echoed similar remarks. While some analysts make claims about Iran’s favorite candidates in the upcoming U.S. presidential election, others say there is no difference between the two candidates. The two candidates seek to topple the political system in Iran, according to Fowad Izadi, a professor of American studies at the University of Tehran.

“There is no difference between Donald Trump and his Democrat rival Joe Biden because both of them seek to topple the government of Iran. They pursue a similar goal, which is to overthrow the Iranian government, but their tactics to achieve this goal are different,” Izadi told the Tehran Times. 

The professor said regardless of who will win the election, the U.S. could change tack after the November election. 

He added, “But Biden could change the U.S. ‘maximum pressure’ policy against Iran if he wins the election because this policy has failed. Of course, Trump also could change this policy due to its failure,” Izadi predicted. 

However, the professor alluded to a possibility that is rarely being discussed in the media. He said the reelection of Trump would hasten the decline of the U.S., which will benefit Iran.

The regime change policy is nothing new in the U.S. foreign policy. The U.S. has pursued this policy against many countries in the Western Asia region and beyond. It launched military campaigns to overthrow the regimes of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. The September 11, 2001 attacks on civilian and military targets in the U.S. have only speeded up the White House efforts in this regard. In addition to overt military campaigns, the U.S. has also launched covert operations to topple political systems in Iran, Venezuela, and Syria, most notably the government of Mohammad Mosaddeq, the first democratically-elected prime minister of Iran whom the CIA and MI6 staged a coup against. The prime minister was toppled in 1953 in a CIA- and MI6-orchestrated coup.
The U.S. helped Mohammad Reza Shah consolidate his power by removing the government of Mosaddegh. In the years after the 1953 coup, the U.S. threw its weight behind the Shah. And when the Iranian people poured into the streets in 1979 to topple the corrupt regime of the shah, the U.S. supported the shah and encouraged him to suppress the people, but the Islamic Revolution led by Imam Khomeini ultimately succeeded in overthrowing the Shah regime. During and after the revolution, the U.S. sought to topple the newly established Islamic Republic. The policy of regime change in Iran once again gained steam in Washington’s foreign policy circles after it became clear that the U.S. has forever lost its grip on Iran. It supported Saddam Hussein, the former dictator of Iraq, in his eight-year war on Iran. The U.S. also imposed sanctions on Iran, which still remain in place. Trump has increased the sanctions pressure on Iran to an unprecedented level, a move widely seen as a way to overthrow the government of Iran through fomenting social unrest across the country.

Recently, President Hassan Rouhani said the Trump administration seeks regime change in Iran. 

Speaking in a cabinet meeting in September, Rouhani said, “When Saddam [Hussein] attacked Iran, he told reporters that, within few days, he will be making an interview with them in Ahwaz. In 2018, the Americans, while imposing an economic war [on Iran], also said they would be entering Tehran in few months and that these guys will not be able to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the victory of the Revolution.”

“The U.S. asked the Europeans to give it only a three-month time span. Two European leaders told me that the U.S. told them that ‘if you refrain from helping them [Iran], the job will be done in three months given the economic pressures we have put on them’,” he said, according to the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) news agency, adding, “Saddam’s goal was to topple the establishment, hurt the country or at least rip an agreement. The Americans wanted the same thing. They wanted to overthrow the establishment, create unrest, or destroy an agreement. But they failed to achieve their goals and their calculations were wrong.”

As the U.S. November election nears, some analysts raise the possibility that Biden could change the policy of pursuing regime change in Iran if he wins the election. 

But Izadi said there is no difference between Biden and Trump in terms of seeking to overthrow the political establishment in Iran.