Satoshi Ikeuchi, Professor, Religion and Global Security, University of Tokyo
One of the characteristics of the Biden administration is the return of the officials who led the Iran nuclear deal, also known as JCPOA, in 2015. That parts with the Trump administration’s strong connection with Israel and the Middle East policy it advocated.
Trump administration and Netanyahu government were so tightly cooperating and they were inseparable and sometimes even indistinguishable in policy-making on the Middle East.
It was as though the U.S. government outsourced part of its strategy-making jobs to the world strongest lobby firm called “Israel” and Netanyahu and his associates filled the vacuum of expertise created by Mr. Trump when he took office advocating to “drain the swamp” of experts and policy wonks. That was the apex of the U.S.-Israeli relationship.
Trump administration upheld policy agendas long advocated by Israel and its Prime Minister Netanyahu. The core idea of this policy was the assertion that Iran was the origin of all the evils and calamities in the Middle East and the maximum pressure policy which would not have been terminated without the collapse of Iran’s regime.
By the abrupt and disgraceful exit of President Trump and the return of the foreign policy experts who were in charge of the US Middle East policy under Clinton and Obama administrations, the days of excessive focus on pressuring Iran and seeking after its regime change is coming to an end.
Now is the time for Iranians to respond.
The people of Iran have the opportunity to express their will in the coming presidential elections in June 18, even if it is tightly restricted, with limited options of candidates which were screened and chosen by the Shiite clerics.
Iran’s Islamic Republic, now over 40 years old, has introduced many interesting systems, one of which is its presidential elections which have been held punctually on time in the next year of each U.S. presidential elections. Coincidence or not, the fact is that Iranian presidents has term limits of two terms and each term is 4 years, exactly the same as the U.S. It’s as if Iranian regime is stalking a lost lover called America with whom relationship broke up 40 years ago.
By this coincidence, Iranians can always choose their president after looking at the Americans’ choice. Now that Americans have chosen a president who is more lenient to Iran, will Iranians reciprocate by electing a president who is willing to embrace America?