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Sep 22, 2021
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There is no difference between Biden and Trump for Iran

Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi September 21 made his first videoconference address to the UN General Assembly. The new president has taken a harsher view of American foreign policy than his predecessor Hasan Rouhani

“Today, the world does not care about ‘America First’ or ‘America is Back’. Over the past decade, the US has made the mistake of changing its “way of war” with the world instead of changing its “way of life.” Iran demands that Washington comply with international rules, return to the nuclear deal and UN resolutions, and fulfill its obligations to lift sanctions. As Raisi said, “we want nothing but what is rightfully ours.”

On September 21, Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi addressed the UN General Assembly via videoconference for the first time.

For Iran, there is no difference between Biden and Trump. Tehran refrains from direct contacts with the US administration. The White House has repeatedly announced that Washington is committed to the diplomatic process to achieve a mutual return to the implementation of the JCPOA and looks forward to Tehran’s return to nuclear talks soon. In response, Iran, not to mention the refusal to negotiate, is holding a pause. The Iranian position is explained by the fact that America was a party to the agreement that violated the agreement, Washington must first return to fulfilling its obligations under the JCPOA and lift sanctions. President Raisi confirmed these demands for America.

Despite criticism of Washington, Raisi does not rule out returning to the negotiating table on a nuclear agreement, saying that Iran considers the negotiations useful if their end result is the lifting of all sanctions. However, he said: “We do not trust the promises made by the US government”… The Iranian leader claims that there is no place for nuclear weapons in Iran’s defense doctrine and containment policy.

Iran’s accusations of work on gaining access to nuclear weapons have not been confirmed. Iranian Vice President and Head of the Atomic Energy Organization Mohammad Eslami at the IAEA’s annual general conference on September 20 urged the Agency’s leadership to remain impartial and avoid making politically motivated decisions. The IAEA has no concerns about Iran’s nuclear program, while Tehran has questions for the Agency.

First of all, they relate to the problem of Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons, and now criticism of the IAEA in connection with the lack of reaction to the agreement between Australia, Great Britain and the United States on the construction of nuclear submarines. Iran is perplexed as to why the IAEA is becoming overly sensitive about every media report on Iran’s nuclear program, but is silently watching plans to transfer nuclear submarines to Australia, whose reactors are fueled with weapons-grade fuel.

Meanwhile, Biden, in his speech at the UN, again emphasized the US concern about the possibility of Iran getting nuclear weapons. America is ready to return to full compliance with the JCPOA if Iran does the same, he said. And not a word about lifting the sanctions that Trump imposed in violation of America’s commitments to the nuclear deal.

Do not forget that in January 2020, the countries were on the verge of war. Then the crisis in relations between the United States and Iran reached its peak after the assassination by the Americans of Iranian General Qasem Suleimani. Since then, relations with America have not become less strained.

Many experts see Raisi's victory in the presidential election as one of the by-products of the campaign of maximum pressure on Iran by former President Trump.

Many experts see Raisi’s victory in the presidential election as one of the by-products of the campaign of maximum pressure on Iran by former President Trump. It was argued that if the United States had not withdrawn from the nuclear deal and introduced new sanctions, Tehran’s relations with the West would have been normalized. However, America has put forward additional demands on Tehran. This is primarily about Tehran’s refusal to support allies in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, as well as restrictions on the development and modernization of ballistic missiles. Both requirements are impracticable for any government in Iran.

America’s expectations of goodwill have not materialized, and this has nothing to do with certain individuals in the Iranian leadership. Trump was replaced by Biden, negotiations in Vienna on the restoration of the JCPOA and the lifting of sanctions were conducted by negotiators from the Rouhani team, but there was no result.

Iran’s new president and his government harbor no illusions about improving relations with the United States. The nature of Tehran’s interaction with Europe depends on Washington. The EU and its members follow US policy towards Iran. In these conditions, Iran has few chances to achieve in the near future the lifting of American unilateral sanctions.

Apparently, this is why the new Iranian leadership began to consider the prospect of compensating for economic damage from sanctions by dramatically improving cooperation with neighboring countries, including Russia and China. President Raisi ended his speech at the UN with a promise “Strive for effective interaction with all countries of the world, especially with our neighbors”… The Iranian leader emphasized that Tehran will consider relations with neighbors as the main priority of its foreign policy.

Raisi’s first foreign trip as president was to Dushanbe to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit. The visit to Dushanbe ended with the fact that on September 17, Iran was admitted to the SCO. Speaking at the summit, the Iranian President called The SCO is “one of the few” opportunities for dialogue to ensure peace and cooperation at the regional level. Raisi noted that the foreign policy orientation of his administration will focus on “economic multilateralism” and strengthening the “neighborhood policy” in the broadest sense, as well as strengthening Iran’s presence in regional organizations.

Iranian President in Dushanbe

By becoming a member of the SCO, Iran will be able to trade with member countries without sanctions and restrictions. Another advantage is the strengthening of the country’s position in the international arena. Today, two of the nine main members of the organization (China and Russia) have veto powers in the UN Security Council. India’s membership in the SCO as a major economic power that is usually a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council is also very important.

Previously, China had reservations about Iran’s membership due to its tough stance on the United States. However, the situation has changed. As the US builds up military pressure on China, Beijing pays less and less attention to the American factor in its relations with Tehran.

In March, China and Iran signed a long-term 25-year cooperation agreement under which the Chinese agreed to invest $ 400 billion in Iran’s infrastructure projects. The agreement, dubbed the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, covers a variety of economic activities, from oil and mining to the promotion of industrial activities in Iran, transport and agriculture.

Iran seeks cooperation in the region not only with the great powers. For example, the presidents of Iran and Turkmenistan agreed to settle a gas dispute that lasted for decades. Analysts described the agreement with Ashgabat as a successful economic diplomacy of the new Iranian government.

Against the background of the confrontation between China – the United States and Russia – the United States, China, Russia and Iran have a tendency to strengthen their unity. The solidarity of the three Eurasian countries and their cooperation on the SCO platform is a counterbalance to the United States.

Photo: Wana News Agency, Vasti Press

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