With the incumbent president and his main challenger deeply at odds over a 2015 nuclear deal and other aspects of policy toward Tehran, the outcome of the U.S. election on November 3 could play a powerful role in shaping Iran’s development for years to come.
President Donald Trump, who is seeking reelection on the Republican Party ticket, wants to maintain sweeping economic sanctions on Iran in an effort to force it to renegotiate the international agreement, which he asserts is badly flawed and threatens U.S. security.
Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden, who worked on the nuclear deal as vice president under President Barack Obama, contends that Trump’s policy of “maximum pressure” on Iran has “badly backfired,” provoking Tehran’s leadership and undermining stability.
The long-negotiated agreement between major global powers and Tehran, the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA), is intended to make it harder for Iran to potentially develop atomic weapons by restricting its nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.
Trump withdrew the United States from the deal in 2018 and reinstated sanctions, subsequently beefing them up. Since then, Iran’s economy has been hit hard, with the value of its currency sharply declining, and Washington and Tehran have come close to military conflict on two occasions.
Iran fired missiles at a U.S. base in neighboring Iraq in January 2020 in retaliation for Washington’s killing of Major General Qasem Soleimani, a senior commander who led the elite Quds Force, sparking fears of war.
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