Writing in CNN, 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden outlined his administration’s plan for Iran. In a piece titled, “There’s a smarter way to be tough on Iran,” Biden said he would work with Iran to restore the 2015 nuclear deal.
“I will offer Tehran a credible path back to diplomacy. If Iran returns to strict compliance with the nuclear deal, the United States would rejoin the agreement as a starting point for follow-on negotiations,” the former vice president wrote.
Biden slammed Trump for walking away from the nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration. The former vice president said that because of this, Iran is closer to a nuclear weapon than they were before. It’s true that Iran is stockpiling more enriched uranium than before Trump pulled out of the deal, but it is part of a calculated plan, and the Islamic Republic is not showing any signs of making a real effort to develop a bomb.
While Biden stressed diplomacy in this op-ed, he also repeated unsubstantiated claims from the Trump administration about Iran. Biden blamed Iran for rocket attacks on US troops in Iraq, a September 2019 attack on Saudi oil infrastructure, and sabotage of oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman that happened in 2019.
The Trump administration and plenty of US officials blame Iran for all the incidents listed above. Little evidence has been presented to corroborate these claims, and there are other parties, like the Houthis in Yemen, who had plenty of motive to carry out these attacks.
Biden didn’t outright condemn the January assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, but he did criticize Trump for ratcheting up tensions around that time. Biden also slammed Trump for downplaying the injuries US troops sustained after Iran fired missiles at a US base in Iraq in retaliation for the assassination of Soleimani.
As part of his administration’s plan, Biden said they “will continue to push back against Iran’s destabilizing activities.” This includes working with Israel and continuing to provide them security assistance. Biden also says he will use targeted sanctions against “Iran’s human rights abuses, its support for terrorism and ballistic missile program.”
In the piece, Biden said he would work to help end the war in Yemen. The 2020 Democratic Party platform calls for an end for US support for the war in Yemen and is another area where a Biden administration may be less hawkish than Trump.
Biden discussed some of his other foreign policy plans in an interview with Stars and Stripes last week. Biden said he could not promise a withdrawal from Iraq, Afghanistan, or Syria since the situations there are complicated. He also suggested defense spending could increase under his administration.