Monday, March 8, 2021

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Change Of Heart? Joe Biden Is Trying To Extend A Healing Touch To Iran’s Wounded Economy

Newly-elected US President Joe Biden is trying to extend a healing touch to Iran’s wounded economy. The Biden administration is looking at options to ease Tehran’s financial crisis without lifting the economic sanctions, including the ones on oil sales, Bloomberg reported.

The move seems to be aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

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Tensions between the two nations reached an all-time high, especially during Donald Trump’s tenure at the White House. In 2018, Trump had announced a unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal, followed by the reinstatement of sanctions.

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In January of 2020, Trump had ordered a drone strike that killed Iran’s top general Qassem Soleimani. The assassination of Soleimani, an extremely influential figure in the country, had created a huge uproar with many extremist groups baying for blood soon after the incident.

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Qassem Soleimani

While there were no direct threats to Trump’s safety, Tehran did carry out a retaliatory measure by ending its commitment to limit its uranium enrichment program.

Since then, the Trump administration had maintained a tough stance vis-a-vis Iran’s activities, with Washington repeatedly warning Tehran to toe its line or face the music.

However, with Biden in charge, things could change for better as the US President is looking to revive the abandoned nuclear deal.

According to reports, the US is looking at several options, including the provision of moving the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help Iran borrow funds to overcome the pandemic-ravaged economic crisis.

Washington is also weighing its options on easing sanctions that have obstructed international Covid-19-related aid from reaching Iran. As per reports, these moves by the Biden administration could be justified on humanitarian grounds.

Quoting sources, Bloomberg reported that President Biden could also sign an executive order to reverse Trump’s decision to quit the multinational deal.

However, issuing sanctions waivers in order to allow Tehran to sell oil on the international market has not been seriously considered by the Biden administration.

Biden is currently looking at reversing a list of decisions taken under Trump’s tenure. And the revival of the nuclear deal with Iran has been the highest-profile foreign policy challenges under the Biden administration.

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While Biden was always against Trump’s decision to abandon the nuclear deal and had even voiced his interest in reviving the deal prior to his election, the fact remains that Tehran has not been cooperative all this while.

The country allegedly violated the agreement on its nuclear activities by enriching uranium beyond the “permissible limits”.

According to Reuters, Tehran’s stockpile of enriched uranium is more than 2.4 tons, 12 times the cap set by the deal, though still far below the more than eight tons Iran had before signing it.

The Middle-Eastern country has been enriching uranium up to 4.5% purity, above the deal’s 3.67% limit though below the 20% it achieved before the deal.

Biden had earlier stressed that the US would rejoin the deal “if Iran resumes strict compliance” with the agreement in return for the lifting of sanctions.

The view in Iran, prior to Biden’s appointment, was that the policies of Trump and Biden would be similar in nature, and against Tehran.

However, with Biden now in office, the Iranians believe things could indeed change if he revives the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

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