Washington’s ultimate goal is to reduce American military presence in the Middle East significantly, and it is unwilling to invest the time and effort required to do so responsibly.
When it comes to Iran, Israel and the United States are engaged in a peculiar discourse. On the one hand, politeness is there, so is goodwill and an open discussion. On the other, their culturally and strategically different perspectives make it impossible for the two to get down to the core issue.
There is a profound difference between a superpower whose global considerations and history of mistakes in the Middle East do not impact its national security and a country situated in the very heart of a hostile and violent region that faces an existential threat.
US President Joe Biden wants to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear threshold state. He is even concerned with the regime’s terrorist activities and quest for regional hegemony. However, his main goal is to reduce American military presence in the Middle East significantly, and he is unwilling to invest the time and effort required to do so responsibly.
In order to stand up to the Chinese threat, Biden needs as many resources as possible, and he is looking to get those resources out of the Middle East.
The 2015 nuclear deal, which the current administration is eager to rejoin, bodes well for Iran but much less so for Israel and other Arab states that have been hurt by the Iranian regime. What we need is an economically and strategically depleted Tehran, which struggles to fund Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, its militias in Syria and Iraq, nuclear projects, advanced military developments, and global network of terrorists.
With his eagerness to rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Biden is giving up his bargaining chips and leverages. Iran aims to become a nuclear threshold state to guarantee its own immunity and ability to countermeasure any attempts of thwarting its regional aspirations. Hegemony is the goal; nuclear weapons are the means.
In a way, Biden has already given the Iranians most of what they were looking for: he signaled to them and to the entire world that with its provocations, Tehran has succeeded in forcing him to rescind the sanctions imposed by the former president. With its conduct, the Biden administration has made it clear that it needs the nuclear deal more than Iran.
Tehran has already achieved some of its nuclear goals: it is clear that Washington is turning a cold shoulder and punishing the Saudis, encouraging Iran’s Houthi envoys, and insists on rejoining the JCPOA without addressing Israel’s primary concerns.
Biden has made a choice to come to terms with Iran’s gradual progress to becoming a nuclear threshold state. After Tehran succeeded in bringing the US president to the negotiating table on its own terms, it now knows how to take advantage of his eagerness for its own benefit.