"I do not think the Biden policy towards Iran has been particularly coherent. On the one hand, the Administration does want to return to the Obama deal with Iran that places controls on Iran's nuclear program in return for a lifting of sanctions," a professor in the Economics department at American University told ILNA.
Speaking to ILNA news agency in an exclusive interview, John Willoughby said that on the other hand, President Biden's team wants to use the perceived weakness of Iran as leverage to gain further concessions with respect to Iran's regional policy -- including Iran's support for militias in Iraq, its support for the Assad regime, and its support for Hezbollah in Lebanon.
"In addition, the Biden people know that any rapprochement with Iran will lead to domestic controversy from some more conservative supporters of Israel".
The U.S professor confirmed "It does make sense that the United States make the first move in order to re-establish its relations to the JCPOA. It did violate the agreement while Iran did not".
"I am skeptical that the Iranian government will be open to any measure by the Biden Administration to improve relations until the US joins the JCPOA."
Pointing to the recent crisis, Willoughby said that the pandemic crisis might provide a way for the Biden administration to forge better relations with the Iranian people.
He added "Even then, the bitterness and distrust will be deep, especially because Biden might be a one-term president."
"Biden has appointed a representative, Robert Malley, who is committed to getting the US back into the JCPOA, so I do think the Biden administration wants to get back to that accord. However, for reasons outlined above, this might not happen," he stressed.
"The US certainly does not want to get dragged into a military conflict with Iran that would require a major commitment of US military forces. This will happen along with diplomacy."
"I am very cautiously optimistic that eventually the Biden Administration will give up its demands for a change of Iranian behavior in the region and rejoin the JCPOA. I would rate the chance of this happening to be about 60%," the U.S professor said at the end.