Joe Biden Deals With Iran, Iran Deals With A Political Crisis

On 6/22/2021, the United States federal government seized the domain presstv.com, which belonged to the Iranian state funded media outlet PressTV. Mind you, PressTV quickly moved to a .ir address, where you can currently find them, and they were back online within a few hours, but the point that the federal government sized the domain is still worth talking about, if only because of what it means.

According to the Justice Department, PressTV is not the only media outlet that had its url sized. Thirty three different websites, all of which were media outlets with connections to the Iranian government, were sized by the United States government on that day.

The day before the federal government seized these domains, Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi said that he will not meet with President Biden unless the United States lifts the sanctions of Iran — which was promised under the Iran Nuclear Deal. Mind you, Raisi’s fight against US sanctions is slightly personal, considering he has been sanctioned by both the United States and the European Union since 2019 because of alleged crimes against humanity, an accusation against him which was started by the United Nations.

I should also note that Raisi’s election took place under questionable circumstances. The voter turnout for this election was the lowest since Iran’s first Presidential Election after its 1979 Revolution, with the turnout being roughly one-third lower than what it was even during Iran’s 2017 election. Mass disqualification of candidates also took place, and Reporters Without Borders found almost fifty examples of reporters being summoned or threatened over what they wrote about a candidate. Overall, Raisi won over 70% of the vote, giving him the second highest popular vote percentage in Iranian history since 1993. This is especially odd considering Raisi ran for President against Hassan Rouhani in 2017, and he didn’t even crack 40% of the popular vote.

Mind you, while the media goes crazy over the rigging of the Iranian election, it’s important to note that it’s barley anymore rigged than any other election Iran holds. In order to run for President in Iran, you must get the approval of the Guardian Council. The members of the Guardian Council are appointed by Supreme Ruler Ali Khamenei, who can also dismiss and even arrest them for any reason he sees fit. Even if President Biden meets with Raisi, it would be Ali Khamenei who he would be negotiating with by proxy. Considering Khamenei went along with the Iran Deal once before — and that was during an administration Biden was the second-in-command for — it’s likely that Biden can make Khamenei come to the table again.

The most likely situation when it comes to Iranian politics is Raisi going out and giving speeches to the Iranian public throwing red-meat to hardliners, while Khamenei negotiates with the countries Raisi condemns behind closed doors. Mind you, the Iranian public already has a massive distrust towards its federal government, with less than half of citizens having any trust towards their political leaders. It’s very possible — although I don’t have enough evidence to call this anything more than a hunch — that Khamenei rigged the election in favor of an Iranian hardliner in hopes of restoring some trust in his government. After eight straight years of moderate reformer Hassan Rouhani as President, it’s clear that Khamenei understands that he must have a hardliner in office if he has any chance of staying in power.

People forget, the Iranian population hated the Iranian Nuclear Deal, with many Iranian hardliners viewing it as a betrayal by their leaders. Although, the hardliners have slowly been losing power over the past decade, with the more educated and liberal middle-class trying to take control of politics. The only way the moderates could take over is through the removal of Khamenei, which is exactly what Khamenei is trying to avoid.

In the middle of this crisis, Joe Biden has to walk on eggshells. Donald Trump greatly harmed American-Iranian relations after through ending the Iran Nuclear Deal and killing Qasem Soleimani on 1/3/2020. Trump also surrounded himself various Iran hawks like Mike Pompeo, Mike Pence, and John Bolton.

It’s important to note how big of a step the Iran Nuclear Deal was. At the time of the deal, Iran was primarily enriching Uranium with Zippe-type centrifuge, which can not turn Uranium into weapons-grade material unless it is enriched for multiple centuries. Iran had also complied with the Nuclear Non-proliferation treaty and complied with every aspect of it — the same, by the way, cannot be said of Israel. Despite the fact that fears that led to Iran Nuclear Deal had no basis in reality, Iran still signed on.

Donald Trump blew up the Iran Nuclear Deal because the Republican Party were true-believers in the nonsense claims against Iran. Donald Trump, in the process, might have fundamentally ruined the only chance the United States will ever have to be on good terms with the nation of Iran. Joe Biden has a mess to clean up, and it’s very likely the powers of Iran will not allow such clean up to occur.

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