America, Iran and the Nuclear Deal

President Biden’s efforts to restore the nuclear deal with Iran has been hampered by the Republican Party, who have been creating as many obstacles as possible in order to diminish the Presidents political capital
29th June 202210 min

By Osman Mustafa

The current prospects of the nuclear deal JCPOA 2.0 (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) seem to be tenuous at best. The failure is primarily due to the domestic opposition in the US, which has obstructed President Biden’s efforts to restore the nuclear deal. Since President Biden entered the White House, the Republican Party has been creating obstacles in regard to several foreign policy matters whether it be Iran, Ukraine or the Eastern Pacific. The primary objective of the Republican Party has been to place as many obstacles as possible for the current administration in order to diminish Biden’s political capital. In return, such efforts could aid in paving the way for Donald Trump or a similar Republican character to ascend to power. 

This raises an important question: what does the breakdown of the nuclear talks mean for America and her relationship with Iran? To understand this, one has to understand the domestic politics of America and Iran’s relationship with both political factions of the US.

It is essential to understand US domestic politics as it is an extension of her foreign policy, or any politically independent nation for that matter. In secular capitalist nations, domestic groups pursue their interests by pressuring their government to adopt favourable policies, and in return, politicians seek power by forming coalitions among such groups. Consequently, on the international level, national governments pursue maximisation of power to satisfy their domestic pressures and also their own, while minimising negative consequences in the international arena.

Good Cop – Bad Cop with Iran

The Republican Party has continually favoured Israel and certain Arab states over Iran. This theme has remained consistent within the Republican Party, whilst American posture towards Iran has always remained aggressive. Though many Republican Presidents from Reagan to Trump have secretly colluded with the Iranian regime, nevertheless, the American posture under successive Republican administrations has remained belligerent towards the regime in Tehran as it aids the interests of the Republican Party and its donors. The donors include the oil giants, the defence complex and the Zionist lobby, which is mainly made-up of  Christian Zionists. All these donors have basic requirements and interests that need to be protected; the Republican politicians form different policies to achieve these interests alongside Washington’s own interests of maintaining US global supremacy.

Examples of collusion between successive Republican administrations and Iran include:

  • Under President Reagan, a secret deal was cut between the clerical regime in Tehran and the US to delay the release of American hostages in exchange for arms, in efforts to hurt President Carter from re-election. Despite this, President Reagan placed Iran on the list of  the greatest sponsors of terrorism. [1]
  • Under George H.W. Bush’s reign, Iran-under Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani – allowed Americans to use its airspace in the first Gulf War against Saddam Hussein in 1991. [2] Despite this, Bush’s posture remained staunch against the clerical regime since the adoption of a soft tone towards the Iranians would endanger his re-election.
  • Under George W. Bush, both America and Iran colluded in efforts to topple Saddam Hussein from Iraq and fight the war on terror though, the Neoconservatives continued to maintain their belligerent tone towards Iran. [3][4]
  • As for Trump, the game remained the same though many viewed the US-Iran relations at their lowest point. During Trump’s reign, a backchannel deal was formed with the Iranian influenced Shi’a faction of the Iraqi government to install Al-Kadhimi as Iraq’s new ruler.

These are just a few examples of the collaboration that took place between successive US Republican administrations and Iran. The aggressive posture by the US against Iran aids in providing the Zionist state with breathing space and the US military complex with profits since the Zionists and the Arab states in the region purchase ever increasing military equipment from the US and this props up America’s defence industry and in the end this all  adds to the ongoing instability between Iran and America. Thus, the Republican politicians are able to achieve their interests in accordance with the domestic interest groups.

The Democrats, on the other hand, have always maintained a policy of rapprochement towards Iran. As the Democrats believe the region could be stabilised via Iran as it is the most powerful state in the region due to its geography, resources and position in the Middle East. An organisation named J Street was formed under former President Bill Clinton and his advisor Jeremy Ben Ami, which aims to end the Arab-Israeli conflict, the tensions with Iran and other issues through means of diplomacy, multilateralism and a non-military posture. The former is the opposite of the Republican stance and the radical Zionist lobby. For this reason, Democrats have been more lenient with Iran in order to safeguard their interests. Examples of the rapprochement between Iran and US include the Khatami-Clinton progressive relations [5], Obama’s JCPOA deal and the airdrop of $400 million in cash to Iran and Biden’s efforts to restore the nuclear deal.

New Nuclear Deal: Mission Impossible 

Ever since Joe Biden became president, the opposition have been continuously attacking him regarding his stance towards the nuclear deal.  Mike Pompeo highlighted President Biden’s ‘craziness’ in regard to his dealing with the Iranians in the Vienna talks and strongly suggested that Biden should be more aggressive towards Tehran. “They have now killed a Brit, killed a Romanian, and attacked a ship at sea. Launched rockets through their proxy Hamas into Israel from the Gaza Strip. We are still sitting at the table trying to negotiate a nuclear deal with them. This is crazy.” said Pompeo.

In early 2021 Mike Pompeo, also claimed, without providing evidence, that al-Qaida’s leaders have established a new “home base” in Iran, in what appeared to be his latest effort to raise the political cost of the next administration reviving the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran. Then in late 2021, Mike Pence, former Vice President stressed that the Iranian regime’s days are numbered, and he argued that President Biden is taking the wrong approach to US-Iran policy and actually may be emboldening the Islamic Republic. He said the decision to restart indirect talks with Iran and to essentially abandon the Trump administration’s maximum economic pressure campaign on Tehran – has already proved to be a disaster.

The most recent Republican strategy is to use Trump’s huge domestic popularity to fuel hate, hopelessness and anger towards President Biden, portraying him as someone putting America in danger. In reality, the Trump administration had no problem collaborating with the Iranians on several issues in the region while simultaneously treating Iran as a bulldog. The crusade against Biden, which started last year, has continued to be successful, and for Biden a complete disaster. Senators voted to endorse a Republican-led measure in May, stating that any nuclear agreement with Tehran should also address Iran’s support for terrorism in the region and that the US should not lift sanctions on an elite branch of the Iranian military, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. This was a victory for the republicans as they were able to freeze the talks in Vienna.

According to Congressman Andy Barr, the Republicans who fought against Obama’s JCPOA, are predictably calling for an end to negotiations. Republicans from the House Foreign Affairs Committee hosted a press conference to denounce Biden’s Iran deal. Congressman Andy Barr said Trump’s “maximum pressure” strategy was working, and Biden’s current attempt amounts to a “flawed deal” that cannot go forward.

Several artificial barriers have placed President Biden’s administration in an extremely tough position where Joe Biden  has to not only restore the deal, but also to win support from the opposition and its donors, the Jewish lobby-AIPAC, for the deal. The only way for the Biden administration to achieve this is by orchestrating chaos and tensions in the region between Iran and its neighbours, so the administration can put forward a solid case to why the nuclear deal with Iran should be finalised!

Only a few weeks ago, someone from Washington leaked classified information to The New York Times regarding Israel’s clandestine mission that took out an important figure of Tehran’s IRGC – Hassan Sayyad Khodaei. As Israel denied that such a mission ever took place, the leak frustrated Israel where a defence official from the Zionist state said, “We have very many close relationships and a lot of cooperation between us, which all depend on trust, and when it is violated in some way then it damages future cooperation,” he added: “I hope the Americans investigate the leak and figure out where it came from and why it occurred.

The Biden administration enacted new sanctions recently on Iran since the nuclear deal is on the verge of collapse. The new sanctions target Iranian petrochemical companies. Brian Nelson said in a press release we will continue to use our sanctions authorities to limit exports of petroleum, petroleum products and petrochemical products from Iran. As America is fuelling tensions, it has recently led Israel to issue a fresh call for its citizens in Turkey to immediately leave, citing ‘concrete’ Iranian threats towards Israeli citizens.

As the nuclear deal appears unlikely to go through, Iran is ramping up its uranium enrichment and its aggression towards Israel. The US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters in Washington that the US urges Iran to de-escalate the situation. “Iran has consistently chosen to escalate tensions. It is Iran that has consistently chosen to take provocative actions,” Price said. The situation has also placed others and especially Israel on high alert.

The reality indicates that the US under the Biden administration is intentionally fuelling  tensions in the Middle East between Israel and Iran, which would also affect the neighbouring states such as Saudi Arabia. The leaks, sanctions and the bombastic rhetoric of Iranian threat by the US are all attempts to accelerate the issue in order for the Biden administration to achieve its objectives. The Biden administration will attempt to convince the Republicans and the Zionist lobby that a deal must go through if they want to safeguard Israel’s wellbeing. When the opposing forces witness the increasing tensions in the region there would be no choice but to obey and follow Biden’s lead towards the Iran deal.  

For now, it’s too early to state whether President Biden will be successful or not. However, he is set visit the Middle East in July, where he will make visits to Israel and Saudi Arabia, in attempts to amend current US relations with Saudi Arabia by utilising the Iranian threat as a pretext and furthermore, coerce Israel to accept the Iran deal on his visit.



[1] Gary Sick, October Surprise: America’s Hostages in Iran and the Election of Ronald Reagan (New York: Times Books, 1991), p. 11.

[2] Trita Parsi, Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran and the United States (Yale University Press, 2008), p. 142.

[3] Iran and the West: Nuclear Confrontation. BBC,  2009.

[4] Kenneth Pollack, The Persian Puzzle: The Conflict Between Iran and America (New York: Random House, 2004), p. 346

[5] Kenneth M. Pollack, The Persian Puzzle (New York: Random House, 2004), p. 317.

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