2021 Outlook Assessment
Rejoining the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran (the JCPOA) has long been high on the to-do list for the Left, were they to win the 2020 presidential election. On the campaign trail, Joe Biden and his advisers consistently mentioned that it would be a priority if he won office, but added that a Biden administration would reenter the agreement once Iran came into full compliance— at which point they would then move to renegotiate the deal to fix its flaws and extend its expiration date.
But as president, Joe Biden will face enormous pressure from the American Left and European leaders to quickly rejoin the nuclear deal even if Iran remains in noncompliance. I hope he resists this pressure and faces the reality that the situation in Iran has changed considerably since he was vice president.
For Democrats, President Trump’s May 2018 decision to withdraw from the JCPOA has been one of his most egregious and hated acts as president. It’s difficult to exaggerate the reverence Democrats have for the nuclear deal as one of President Obama’s most important legacies. Although significant flaws in the agreement and evidence of Iranian cheating more than justified Trump’s decision to withdraw, he took great relish in rubbing this decision in the faces of Democrats by constantly claiming that the JCPOA was one of the worst deals ever negotiated and a sign of the incompetence of the Obama administration.
So make no mistake: For many Democrats, quickly rejoining the JCPOA will be payback.