Iran CounterPoint: Biden’s Victory and the Next 10 Weeks — What It Means for Iran

CounterPoint brings together Iranian thought leaders and opinion-makers as well as non-Iranian specialists to tackle top currents and trends involving Iran, its society, and its position on the global scene. It will also explore Iran’s trajectory and options available to policymakers.

This episode asked how the election of President Joe Biden would affect Iran, and in the 10 weeks to his inauguration, whether Donald Trump would make it harder for him to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.

Here are a few remarks made by speakers in this episode:

Dr. Hassan Mansoor, a scholar and author, and Professor of Economics at the American Graduate School of Business and Economics in Paris, said:

“Blocked Iranian reserves internationally, according to our estimate and valuation, are between US$70 to US$80 billion. There is no question that the system in Iran is in a stranglehold.  So they need money. But for what purpose? There is no doubt that any easing from the US administration side will provide a lifeline for the regime. And many people in Iran may feel frustrated about it. Will this lifeline remedy any of Iran’s economic and structural problems? Unfortunately, my answer is no.”

Dr. Mohsen Sazegara — who runs the Secretariat of Civil Struggle of the Iran Transition Council, formed by the main pro-democracy Iranian political groups — served as a founder of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, and ran in 2001 elections for the Presidency of the Islamic Republic, but was disqualified by the Guardian Council. Here is what he said:

“As you know, President Trump issued an Executive Order sanctioning the IRGC as a terrorist organization.  This is a smart act because IRGC is everywhere in the economy of Iran.  If during the next 2 months, the Trump administration links the sanctions to terrorism, then it will be tough for the next President to remove them. I know the regime of Iran is very concerned about that.  They are watching it very carefully, and they are afraid of this action.”

Also joining Nazenin Ansari on CounterPoint this week were:

Dr. Shahriar Ahy, a political thought leader and strategist.  He has broad experience in political development, from Iran to the Islamic World and Eastern Europe. He was a US-Baltic Foundation director, which supported civil society and democratic public administration in the Baltic States.

Dr. Allahyar Kangarlu, the Director of the physics and engineering group at the NYSPI MRI research center at Columbia University.