Washington wants to minimize risks with Iran
On August 24, John Kirby, spokesman for the National Security Council, said an agreement with Iran on its nuclear program was closer than it had been in early August, although there is still differences between the two parties.
The Biden administration is careful with its language. There are already many critics of a new nuclear deal with Iran in Congress, both Republicans and Democrats. The new Iran deal will not get the required two-thirds Senate support to become a formal treaty with the status of law in the United States.
As Obama did, Biden will have no choice but to implement the deal through the legal instrument of issuing executive orders that will last until another president can change or cancel, as Trump did with the old nuclear deal in 2018. Tehran understands this, and it has not agreed to longer restrictions on the deployment of advanced centrifuges (according to press reports, the restrictions will end in 2025).
News reports also indicate that restrictions on Iran’s uranium enrichment program will end in 2030. This is not much for Washington and its allies since Iran’s nuclear program could expand again after 2025.
However, for the Biden administration, the return of Iranian oil to world markets would help reduce the price of gasoline in the United States, reduce price inflation and give the United States Federal Reserve less reason to continue to raise interest rates and risk a US economic recession. At the same time, the war in Ukraine is becoming a long war of attrition and Ukraine will need more American help as Ukraine’s military casualties increase.
If America is not directly at war with Russia, it is at least in serious military competition with Russia. Also, in early August, we witnessed major Chinese military exercises around the island of Taiwan. Maintaining a balance of power in East Asia will require more US military deployments. It is no coincidence that two US warships passed through the Taiwan Strait on August 28.
Events of the past six months have reinforced the US analysis that China and Russia are the greatest threats to US security. The Biden administration could strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, but it is Tehran, not Washington, that would decide when the war ends. Starting a serious war now with Iran does not align with Biden’s priorities.
The Biden administration also wants to maintain its forces in Iraq and Syria and not give Iran the opportunity to expand its influence in these two countries. The well-informed Politico news service reported on August 27 that the White House had carefully implemented the airstrikes against pro-Iranian militias in eastern Syria last week so that the military operation would not sabotage the nuclear negotiations; the administration wanted to send a message to deter Iran from further attacks and at the same time not to provoke Iran’s escalation. For now, Washington can agree to share eastern Syria with pro-Iranian militias as long as the militias don’t attack the Americans.
The airstrikes were also intended to send a message to Jerusalem. For months, Israel has urged the Biden administration to prepare a military option against Tehran. Israel says the threat of a military option will produce more nuclear concessions from Iran. Unlike Obama, Biden is trying to reassure Israel. Biden told an Israeli television station in July that he would use military force against Iran’s nuclear program if necessary.
An Israeli defense official told media last week that Israel had received “good clues” from the Biden team. And unlike Obama, the Biden administration is consulting Israel on the negotiations. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Middle East Policy Coordinator Brett McGurk discussed the US response to Iran’s latest offer with Israeli National Security Advisor Eyal Hulata on August 23. , the eve of the American response to Iran.
On August 24, Israeli Prime Minister Lapid said the Americans had agreed to many Israeli demands in the negotiations, and Israeli media said these included tougher language on the International Security Agency inspections. atomic energy on Iran’s undeclared nuclear activities, on sanctions against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. and on limiting immunity from sanctions for foreign companies operating in Iran.
The Biden administration understands that Israel will not be enthusiastic about the weak new deal. Americans calculate that the Israelis will accept that a weak deal now that prevents an immediate war with Iran is the best approach. Without a reduction in tensions between Israel and America on the one hand and Iran on the other, the risk of war will remain high. Therefore, Washington also stresses to Israel its determination to urgently cooperate with Israel to build regional military cooperation against Iranian military threats, especially Iranian missiles.