Speaking at a press briefing on Thursday, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said the Trump administration’s maximum pressure policy has failed to achieve each and every single one of its aims.
“I think when you look at the results of maximum pressure, you can only be left with one conclusion,” Price said.
He added, “Maximum pressure was supposed to result in a better deal. It was supposed to cow Tehran and its proxies, it was supposed to isolate Iran from the rest of the world, and it was supposed to leave America’s interests in a better position.”
Price continued to say that in every single one of the issues he raised, the opposite has been true, adding that over the last four years, “we came nowhere close to anything resembling a better deal.”
While criticizing Trump’s failed policy against Iran, he still suggested that the Biden administration will continue to pressure Tehran with closer cooperation with the US’s allies.
“Now, our approach recognizes that maximum pressure accompanied by the lack of diplomatic engagement got us to where we are,” he said. “That is why we are embarking on a different path, one that prioritizes real, principled, clear-eyed diplomacy – clear-eyed diplomacy with our partners and allies.”
Back in May 2018, Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the nuclear agreement reached under his predecessor Barack Obama, calling it the “worst deal ever”, and vowing to press Tehran into negotiating a new deal through a “maximum pressure” campaign that included tough economic sanctions and military provocations.
Tehran, which has verifiably asserted that it does not seek to develop nuclear weapons, adopted what it called the “maximum resistance” policy and successfully weathered the US pressure, while pushing the other parties to the deal, officially known as the JCPOA, to honor their commitments and stand up to US bullying.
Iran maintains that the three European parties to the deal, also known as the E3, paid only lip service to Tehran’s calls to safeguard its interests throughout the Trump administration. On the other hand, unlike Trump, the Biden administration has been successful in getting them back to fully support Washington’s position on Iran.
Price explained that during the Trump administration, the US was sitting at the opposite side of the table of its closest European partners and allies.
Pointing to a recent meeting between the E3 and the US’s top diplomats, he said it was “a clear sign that for the first time in years, the United States was on precisely the same page as our closest allies and partners.”
“And with that unanimity, with that cooperation, with those consultations, we enter this phase of diplomacy from a position of strength and we are confident that this is the sort of position of strength that will allow us to achieve our strategic goal,” the US spokesman added.
When campaigning for president, Biden vowed to re-enter the JCPOA and abandon Trump’s failed maximum pressure policy. Yet, since assuming office more than a month ago, he has instead urged Iran to scale back its nuclear activities to fully comply with the JCPOA – an agreement the US is officially no longer a party to.