Attacks and assassinations silenced rational and moderate voices, and confrontation and hostility became the mainstream discourse in Iran and the United States.
2020 is a very special year for Iran-US relations. During the year, the U.S. strategy of “extreme pressure” on Iran gradually escalated.
On the one hand, the United States and its allies have planned and carried out many attacks on Iran’s high-rise and important facilities, while on the other hand, the United States’ sanctions against Iran have been increasing. After 2020, the Iranian nuclear issue has not only failed to be solved, but has become more complex and sensitive.
The “Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps” has been hit in the Middle East.
On January 3, 2020, a year ago today, the United States shocked the world by assassinating Suleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Al-Quds Brigade, who arrived in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq.
Over the past decade, Suleimani has become an important planner and implementer of Iran’s strategic layout in the Middle East. He has also become the only important figure in Iran’s military and intelligence community who has the ability to glue Shiite armed groups in different countries, including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen. .
The assassination of Suleimani has hit the network of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in the Middle East. Even if the Al-Quds Brigades replaced a new leader, it will not be able to restore the adverse effects of Suleimani’s death.
In 2020, the United States and Israel carried out a number of sabotage and assassinations in Iran, attacks on the Natanz nuclear facility, an important Iranian nuclear facility, and the death of Iran’s chief nuclear scientist Fahrizad in the capital Tehran. Israel has also used air force and missiles on many occasions to attack Iranian military targets stationed in Syria.
Iran is facing great strategic pressure from the United States and its Central ASEAN countries.
In 2020, under the sanctions of the United States, Iran’s economic situation is worrying and the political situation is grim. Iran’s economy continued to grow negatively in 2020 due to the double impact of U.S. sanctions and the epidemic, and the official unemployment rate is as high as 12%. The economic situation is bad, and the dissatisfaction of the Iranian people with the government has increased.
But the U.S. strategy towards Iran has not been successful. Despite the huge strategic pressure on Iran, the Trump administration’s purpose is not to crush Iran, but to force Iran to give in and accept the conditions and demands of the United States and its Central ASEAN countries through sanctions.
Iran’s hardliners and conservatives have an increased voice
According to the Trump administration, the “nuclear agreement” signed by the Obama administration with Iran in 2015 does not fully monitor Iran’s nuclear technology and fails to bring Iran’s missile technology under supervision.
Since 2015, Iran’s influence in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen has increased significantly, causing concerns in the United States and ASEAN countries such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. Therefore, Trump asked Iran to weaken its influence in the Middle East and try to achieve “self” by sanctioning and oppressing Iran. Constraint”.
The Trump administration’s assassination of Suleimani blocked the layout of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in the Middle East, and also blocked the possibility of Iran’s negotiations with its own government. The assassination of Suleimani aroused internal anger in Iran, strengthened the voice of Iranian hardliners and conservatives, and worsened Iran-United States relations.
Iranian President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif are representatives of moderates and advocate dialogue with the United States, but gradually lose their voice after Suleimani’s assassination.
Hardliners and conservatives won a big victory in the 2020 Iranian parliamentary election. In December 2020, the Iranian Parliament passed the Anti-Sanctions Strategy Law, requiring the Iranian government to accelerate the nuclear research and development process and break through the binding mechanism related to the 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement. The relationship between Iran and the United States has also become more tense and complex.
Biden, who is in office, although he said he would contact Iran, will also be opposed and hindered by China and ASEAN countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel.
Biden and his team demanded that Iran return to the “Iran nuclear agreement”, which is quite different from Iran’s position of demanding that the United States “compensate before negotiation”. It is difficult for the United States to alleviate its contradictions with Iran in a short period of time.
In 2020, hostility and mistrust between Iran and the United States increased, attacks and assassinations suppressed rational and moderate voices, and confrontation and hostility became the mainstream discourse of Iran and the United States. Against this background, Biden’s efforts to improve the relationship between the United States and Iran are bound to be difficult.