In the past year, Iranian officials had gazed at the U.S. Presidential election, hoping that developments in Washington would rescue them from hypertensive crises inside the country and abroad. In this respect, they constantly blamed former U.S. President Donald Trump for withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Evidence shows that Iranian officials not only waited out the Trump presidency but also interfered and colluded in the U.S. elections, hoping to take advantage, according to the FBI. They expected that a Democratic administration would restore the Obama-era policy. However, they have since seemingly been disappointed by the Democratic administration.
In its March 17 edition, Javan daily, affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), expressed the government’s frustration about the new U.S. administration. “Joe Biden entered the Presidential campaign with the slogan of returning to the JCPOA. This issue was so important in the Democrats’ campaign that both Biden and his vice-president Kamala Harris criticized the Republicans and Donald Trump for withdrawing from the JCPOA,” Javan wrote. “Eight weeks after Biden’s inauguration, evidence shows that he is still not reluctant with the ‘maximum pressure’ policy.”
Furthermore, Tasnim news agency, affiliated with the IRGC Quds Force, posted a cartoon showing President Biden with a pair of boxing gloves with the words ‘maximum pressure.’ Furthermore, the cartoon claimed that this policy was fruitless for Trump, let alone Biden. This is while the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has implicitly admitted to sanctions’ impact several times, seeking removal of the sanctions at all costs.
Likewise, Khamenei has declared that the Islamic Republic would comply with nuclear restrictions mentioned in the JCPOA after the sanctions are lifted, which openly displays the effectiveness of sanctions and economic pressure.
President Hassan Rouhani also reiterated his enthusiasm for negotiations with the new U.S. administration, signaling that Tehran is ready to comply with its obligations under the JCPOA. He implicitly begged Biden and his team to loosen sanctions and give his government a lifeline. However, U.S. officials like Jake Sullivan, Antony Blinken, and Robert Malley, the JCPOA designers, have rejected any talks before Tehran reserves its breaches and obeys the deal’s articles.
Notably, Iran’s lobbies also declared their disappointment about the U.S. approach toward Iran. “Trump to Iran: starve under sanctions until you give in to our demands… Biden to Iran: starve under sanctions until you give in our demands and happy Nowruz,” tweeted Assal Rad, a known lobby for Tehran, on March 20.
Meanwhile, Javan daily expressed the government’s concerns over a surge of bipartisan legislation, including eight pieces in recent weeks addressing Tehran’s nuclear ambitions and malign behavior in the Middle East.
“The eight pieces of legislation address issues including tightening sanctions enforcement, expressing disapproval of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), opposing easing sanctions on Iran and seeking to block the U.S. from reentering the JCPOA entirely,” the daily cited Jewish Insider’s piece on March 15.
In such circumstances, even Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, as the JCPOA architect, showed his despair over the new U.S. administration’s policy toward Iran. “The U.S. economic measures against the people of Iran, particularly during the pandemic, is not less than an economic war. However, we currently witness that there is no distinction between former and current presidents of the U.S. in pursuing the defeated policy of maximum pressure,” said Zarif on March 15.
And on March 21, Iran’s final-say official Khamenei explicitly and sarcastically announced the government’s disappointment, saying, “We believe that the circumstances have changed but, in our favor… We do not hasten for renegotiating, and even if the U.S. lifted sanctions, we first verify then will comply with our obligations.”