Biden adapts Trump policy on Iran

During President Barack Obama's administration, the State Department worked to negotiate and implement the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as a method of limiting Iran's nuclear ambitions for at least a while.  Both Saudi Arabia and Israel see Iran as a threat and opposed the deal.  But Obama, along with secretary of state John Kerry, pushed on with the deal and signed it in 2015.

In 2018, President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the JCPOA and instituted heavy sanctions on Iran.  Trump saw the JCPOA as a bad deal and was closer to Israel and Saudi Arabia than the Obama administration was.

After entering office in 2021, Joe Biden wanted to undo as much of President Trump's policy as possible.  As part of this effort, he set out to revive the JCPOA deal with Iran.  In exchange for Iran coming back into compliance with JCPOA terms, the U.S. would rejoin the pact.  There was some disagreement between Iran and the Biden administration about how to go about that, but Biden's State Department was trying.

Then Putin invaded Ukraine.  Russia has been bogged down in this war, and the Biden administration has been backing Ukraine with military aid.  Ukraine has reported that the Russians have been using Iranian drones against them.  Obviously, that can be viewed as Iran siding with Russia against the U.S. and the rest of the West.

In December 2022, Biden was quoted as saying the JCPOA is dead.  The White House had changed policy.

Then in January 26, 2023, the head of the CIA visited Israel.  On January 28, someone bombed military facilities in Iran.  Many speculate that the bombing came from Israeli drones.  It seems likely that the Biden administration, at a minimum, approved of the Israeli operation.  It appears that the Biden administration is working more closely with the Israelis at this point than the Obama administration ever did.

Of course, the Trump administration worked with the Israelis on multiple fronts, including the Abraham Accords.  The Biden administration is moving toward a Trump-like policy toward Iran rather than an Obama-like policy.  While it is laudable that the administration is shifting course in view of current events, it is probably too much for them to admit that Trump was right.

Image: Bernd.

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