Dr. Salem Al Ketbi
Dr. Salem Al KetbiCourtesy

After marathon rounds of talks in Vienna and other capitals, the fate of attempts to revive the nuclear agreement signed in 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 has been decided by US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan: The agreement is no longer a priority for the US government at this time.

This announcement, made on the sidelines of Sullivan’s speech on the program of his visit to Israel, in which he confirmed that he would talk to the Netanyahu government about Iran’s nuclear program and the threats posed by Tehran, puts an end to expectations about the fate of the agreement.

At the same time, it raises questions about the consequences, preconditions, and reasons for this development. Several important points can be noted in this context. First, the current US administration is no longer interested in reviving the agreement in the form it was proposed in the previous period.

It was expected that Washington would make significant concessions to Iran in return for reviving the agreement. This was a key point President Biden needed for a foreign policy victory when Republicans expected a big win at the ballot box before the midterm congressional elections. But the opposite happened: the GOP failed to take control of both houses of Congress.

They won a narrow victory that gave them control of only the House of Representatives.

The significance of the past event is that President Biden is no longer interested in reviving the agreement in a way that would give Iran a political victory and help deepen the rift between the US and its allies in the Middle East, especially Israel. What makes this detail even more important is the fact that the new Netanyahu government is absolutely opposed to reviving the agreement.

Therefore, the P&L in this case is not in the interest of the Biden government. Another point is that the White House does not want to throw controversial issues into the domestic arena. There are many reasons for this, including the looming crisis President Biden is facing over classified documents found in his former office.

The issue puts him in direct confrontation with the Republicans who have won a majority in the House of Representatives, which puts Biden in a bitter political confrontation with the new majority that wants to quickly restore its credibility and popularity before the next presidential election.

The matter is particularly sensitive for Biden because he and his predecessor and rival, former President Donald Trump, are under investigation for possessing classified documents. This sensitivity is exacerbated by the fact that Trump is so far the only declared Republican candidate in the upcoming presidential election.

Jim Jordan, the new chairman of the Judiciary Committee, is a Republican who is taking a sharp look at Biden’s dossier, accusing him of mishandling classified information and trying to hide information from the American people. Whatever the consequences of the Republican campaign on the dossier, it puts President Biden in a very uncomfortable position domestically.

Indeed, he has made it clear that he intends to announce his candidacy in the upcoming presidential election. President Biden wants to capitalize on his growing popularity, at least among Democrats. Inflation is relatively low and job opportunities are increasing.

Therefore, the issue of documents on Biden’s tenure as Barack Obama’s vice president has become a thorny issue that his GOP opponents are sure to exploit. It also makes it difficult to exploit a situation similar to Trump’s in political debates. One could even say that Biden’s blooper has removed Trump’s case from the deck of trump cards that the Democratic Party can use in the upcoming elections.

Biden, who has previously stressed the sanctity of classified documents, is essentially in the same position as his opponent Trump.

In conclusion, there is no reason for Biden to raise such a serious contentious issue as the signing of a controversial agreement with Iran at this time, especially knowing that the Netanyahu government will use all its influence and media efforts to undermine such an agreement if it comes to pass.

Add to this the recent political behavior of Iran and Russia’s support with drones in the war with Ukraine, of particular American interest. And the drone attack on Isfahan which the NYTimes claims was a joint US-Israel venture. Thus, any talk of negotiations with Iran on the nuclear dossier becomes a rash gamble for the White House right now.

Dr. Salem AlKetbi is a UAE political analyst and former Federal National Council candidate