JOE Biden is “not trusted” by Iran’s political leaders as relations between Washington and Tehran continue to plummet dangerously close to an “all-time low”, according to an expert.
The Democrat is keen to resurrect the Iranian nuclear deal after “years of maximum pressure” pursued by the Trump presidency, which culminated in the assassination of top general Qasem Soleimani.
John Ghazvinian, the Executive Director of the Middle East Center, thinks the Iranian political establishment has not been inclined to have warm relations with the US since the 1979 Revolution.
He told The Sun: "The level of trust and willingness to engage seriously with the United States is probably lower in Iran that it has been since the Revolution.
“I think there is a feeling across the board among elites that you simply cannot trust America and it doesn’t matter what you do.
“There is something in the DNA of the American political establishment that doesn’t want to engage in a serious way with Iran or respect the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic.”
The journalist thinks there is an ingrained level of distrust towards the US within the political classes in Tehran.
He said: "There’s a real level of cynicism about just how far you can get with the US.”
Relations between Washington and Tehran have soured since the revolution in 1979 and have deteriorated close to all-time lows.
George W. Bush included the Islamic Republic within his "Axis of Evil" speech and Trump pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in 2018 as he branded the deal an "embarrassment".
Reviving the Iranian nuclear deal is not going to be a boasting achievement."
Soleimani was killed in a targeted attack – ordered by Trump after Iranian-backed militias had fired rockets at US targets – outside Baghdad's airport in January 2020.
Iran vowed to get "revenge" for his death as the rhetoric between Trump and Tehran rose.
Ghazvinian predicts that Biden will not try to reset relations with Iran as he tries to get the nuclear deal "functioning again".
He said: "I think Iran is a relatively medium stakes, medium priority issue for the Biden Administration. They were hoping for a quick return to the deal. That has proved difficult."
The White House is reportedly hoping for a "quiet success" as there is widespread hostility in America but also among the US' allies in the Middle East.
Ghazvinian said: "I don't think it (reviving the deal) is going to be a boasting major achievement."
Iran has "no interest" in developing a nuclear weapon, according to the expert, as Biden tried to reassure former Israeli president Reuven Rivlin that Tehran "wouldn't get a nuclear weapon under his watch".
He said: "Iran is not interested in a nuclear weapon. It sounds like a crazy position because it's so often implied. There is absolutely no evidence that Iran is interested in actually building a nuclear weapon."
Ghazvinian explained that developing a nuclear bomb goes against the principles of the Islamic Republic and it is not in Tehran's interests, warning there would be a "military invasion" that could bring about the end of the Republic.
He said: "They don't benefit from having a nuclear bomb. What are they going to do with it? They are not going to nuke Israel. They are not going to attack Jerusalem."
But, Tehran has no benefit in abandoning its nuclear enrichment program either.
It was reported in April that Iran informed nuclear watchdogs that it intended to boost its enrichment production to 60 percent purity, according to CNN.
A 90 percent enrichment level is considered weapons-grade.
Ghazvinian said: "What Iran is interested in is nuclear capability – where they have the technology and know-how but don't actually cross the threshold into building a weapon because that gives them more influence."
Scrapping their enrichment program altogether could see Iran lose the capability to produce isotopes for cancer treatment and generate energy.
He warned: “To abandon the program completely would put Iran at the mercy of outside powers for their nuclear, energy and radiological needs. Iran has found, historically, that it's not able to do that."
Despite the persistent level of distrust between Washington and Tehran, the journalist doesn't think conflict is on the horizon.
He said: "If the US and Iran could've gone to war, that was the point (after the assassination of Soleimani) but they didn't.
"It is not in the US or Iran's interests and they pulled back from the brink."
John Ghazvinian is the Executive Director of the Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of the book America and Iran: A History 1720 to the Present.
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