WASHINGTON – The US special envoy to Iran said so on Thursday evening new sanctions The administration of Tehran, installed by the Trump administration, was not an effort by the outgoing president to involve President-elect Joe Biden on Iran policy.
“This is completely the wrong way to read it,” said Elliott Abrams during a George Mason University WebcastThe sanctions are part of the “Maximum Pressure” campaign that has been the policy of the Trump administration since May 2018, when the President announced that the United States would abandon the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran.
“We each have a president and the term of office is four years, not three and a half years. So we will continue this policy until the end of the administration,” Abrams said. “I don’t get the idea that we’re going to wrap them up.”
Rather than restrict the Biden government’s capabilities, the new sanctions will give the incoming team “cards to play with” in future negotiations with Iran, he said.
Other see the situation very differently.
The torrent of sanctions recently announced by the Trump administration against Iranian forces were “imposed with the barely hidden intention of making it difficult for the Biden administration to return to the nuclear deal,” he said Robert Malleywho acted as Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama on Middle East issues.
“They haven’t hidden the fact that the reason they are imposing these sanctions is to hamper diplomacy,” and make it difficult for Biden to rejoin the nuclear deal, Malley said during one on Thursday Panel discussion hosted by the Center for a New American Security. “That would make it easier for a President Biden to say, ‘I am lifting them precisely because they weren’t on the plane, they weren’t sanctions that were imposed for legitimate reasons, they were made for precisely the wrong purpose, making it harder to do, undo what President Trump did. ‘“
The Biden team must look at each of the sanctions individually, distinguishing between “legitimate and illegitimate,” Malley said. “I don’t think this is an insurmountable obstacle to returning to the JCPOA,” or the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” the official name for the Iranian nuclear deal.
What would make it nearly impossible for the Biden team to quickly return to diplomacy with Iran would be if conflict with Tehran broke out during the dwindling days of the Trump administration, Malley admitted. In addition to the sanctions, a number of recent events have sparked speculation that the Trump administration – or perhaps Israel – tried to provoke, or at least prepare, such a fight as Trump’s term ends.
The Department of Defense announced on November 27 that the aircraft carrier Nimitz and its strike group had done so returned to the Persian Gulf. Meanwhile, a number of senior US national security Officer, including Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo and Acting Minister of Defense Chris Miller, have visited the Middle East in the past few weeks, and the United States is According to reports Downsizing the staff of the Embassy in Baghdad ahead of the one year anniversary on January 2nd in the USA killing of the Iranian spy master Qassem Soleimani in the Iraqi capital.
From an Israeli perspective, the scientist’s murder could be justified if a clear deterrent message is sent to those involved in the Iranian nuclear program that “they are not immune,” Malley said. But if the murder provoked a response from Iran that “sparked an escalation crisis, it would make returning to diplomacy so much more difficult under a Biden government,” he added.
Imagine if Iran then launched an attack in Iran against American troops or a terrorist attack against Israel. It’s hard to see a President Biden say on Jan. 21 … “We’re jumping back into diplomacy now,” Malley said.
But Trump officials rejected the notion that the current administration is trying to start a conflict with Iran.
While “there is no question that there can always be a spark” creating such a conflict, “nobody wants a war,” Abrams said.
Another senior Trump national security official told Yahoo News that the instructions from the highest levels of government are simple: “Don’t get into a war in the Middle East unless the Iranians are attacking our people and are stupid enough to do so.” We’ll drop the hammer on them. “
The senior official denied speculation that Trump was trying to incite Iran into conflict. “I don’t understand the narrative that he’s trying to start a war on the way out,” the official said, adding that this would mean that the president “is destroying his legacy because he doesn’t have one during his tenure Conflict “.
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