Professor of Government and International Affairs believes that if the United States and Iran can make it through the next six months without a disaster, and if Joe Biden defeats President Trump, and particularly if the Democrats also gain control of the U.S. Senate, there is a real possibility that the United States and Iran could achieve more normal relations.
Edward Rhodes who is Professor of George Mason University said in an interview with ILNA news agency that for the next six months, however, American foreign policy toward Iran is likely to be unpredictable on a day-by-day basis, with a real danger of dramatic American responses to low-level events.
He pointed to America's biggest issues and added “Speaking bluntly and candidly, the suffering of the Iranian people due to the coronavirus, and the impact of international economic sanctions on the ability of the Iranian government and society to cope with the pandemic is not a subject that Americans are thinking about.
“As far as most Americans are concerned, Iran can end the sanctions whenever it wants – by making the nuclear and foreign policy concessions that the international community has demanded. As American tennis players would say, “the ball is in Iran’s court”.”
The US Professor stated that it is important to recognize that U.S. foreign policy is currently in a state of suspended animation, adding “More broadly, however, Political attention in the United States is entirely taken up with two interconnected subjects: the fight against the coronavirus in America, and the November elections. All other policy choices are viewed through the lens of these two issues: how will this action affect the spread of the coronavirus and how will it affect the election.”
“So whether or not to lift sanctions on Iran and to seek better relations – or, conversely, to press Iran even harder, at the risk of war – simply is not being discussed at the present time.”
Referring to recent U.S. policy toward Iran, Edward Rhodes said “because of coronavirus and election, Trump administration to avoid doing anything that might appear to be making concessions to Iran, while at the same time avoiding actions that would be likely to trigger a war that would be unpopular with swing voters.
“It is much less clear, however, what the President will do as the election draws closer and as polls continue to show him losing. While it remains conceivable that President Trump might seek some sort of positive breakthrough in U.S.-Iranian relations that he could present to his base and to the wider American public as a great triumph, there is a real danger that the President might choose to seize on some Iranian action as a pretext for war,” he added.
The Professor of Government and International Affairs said that the President has already decided that blaming China and the World Health Organization for America’s difficulties with the coronavirus is a good way to distract voters’ attention from the failure of the Trump administration to take the virus seriously and to prepare for it.
Referring to the recent events in the United States and the decline in Trump's popularity, he said “While the President has the unshakeable support of his base – socially conservative business leaders and, more importantly, disaffected rural and small-town voters who have suffered during globalization and who view the outside world with considerable hostility – this base alone is not quite enough to win him re-election.”
“In terms of foreign policy, this has already meant putting off any Sino-American rapprochement and any effort to bring the United States into line with world opinion,” he said at the end.