Biden May ‘Change Course’ on Iran, But Obstacles Abound

Tehran, Nov 9 (AFP/APP): Joe Biden has promised a change in US policy on Iran, but the president-elect’s room for manoeuvre with the Islamic republic is narrow, and time is running out.

While outgoing US President Donald Trump has declared Tehran his arch-foe and sought to isolate it globally, Biden has suggested he would offer it a “credible path back to diplomacy”.

Unlike four years ago, the Iran issue, centred on fears it is seeking a nuclear bomb, was largely absent from campaigning for the 2020 US presidential election, and Biden’s proposals on the subject are still rather vague. His task of trying to reconnect with Tehran promises to be difficult as the confrontational approach under Trump has seen Iran’s distrust of the Americans intensify.

Sworn enemies for more than 40 years, the US and Iran have twice come to the brink of war since mid-2019 amid soaring tensions over a landmark deal on Iran’s nuclear programme agreed in 2015. Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from the pact in May 2018 and launched a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran with sanctions that plunged its economy into a deep recession. But Trump failed to achieve his ultimate goal of forcing Tehran to negotiate a “better deal”, leaving the way open for Iran to boast of the “resistance” of its people to the American “Great Satan”.

“We urgently need to change course”, Biden wrote in September in an opinion piece that described Trump’s Iran policy as a “dangerous failure” which in his view isolated the US and brought Iran “closer to a nuclear bomb”.

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