Biden under mounting pressure to 'contain' Iran
US President Joe Biden is facing tremendous pressure from the US allies in West Asia. But will he be forced to spring into action against Iran?
US President Joe Biden is under mounting pressure from Washington's key allies in West Asia to draw up a plan to "contain" Iran, hoping to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action amid preparations in the White House for Biden to visit Saudi Arabia and the Israeli occupation in July.
Saudi Arabian Deputy Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman told senior officials in Washington that he was concerned about the lack of a comprehensive strategy on the US end for dealing with the prospect of a nuclear-capable Iran and its arsenal of ballistic missiles, sources familiar with the matter told CNN.
According to regional officials, the Biden administration is yet to tell its allies, mainly "Tel Aviv" and Riyadh, about a possible Plan B in case the Vienna talks aimed at reviving the Iran nuclear deal fail to yield any results.
"The situation with Iran is getting very hot," a senior Biden administration official underlined in light of the Islamic Republic's decision to Tehran putting an end to all its commitments beyond its nuclear safeguard accords with the UN nuclear watchdog, the IAEA.
Iran had abandoned all commitments beyond the Safeguards Agreement in response to the International Atomic Energy Agency's Board of Governors' adoption of an anti-Iran resolution, an Iranian lawmaker revealed on Saturday, condemning the resolution passed by the agency.
Iran's delegate to the IAEA had also denounced the decision the agency's Board of Governors took, which was the adoption of a resolution drafted by the United States and the E3. The decision came despite Russia's representative to the IAEA warning that such a decision would push success out of reach in the Vienna talks.
The concerns over the relations with Iran also come in light of a series of offensives and crimes committed by the Israeli occupation in Iran, from sabotaging nuclear facilities to assassinating Iranian scientists and officials.
"We are committed to consulting closely with our regional partners regarding US policy on Iran, and in broad terms, we support dialogue among the countries in the region on issues of regional security and stability," a National Security Council spokesperson told CNN.
If negotiations fail in the Austrian capital, sources familiar with the matter have said, Washington indicated that it would maintain its policy of maximum pressure on Iran's economy while also ramping up sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
The Gulf States, on the other hand, are demanding reassurance from the United States, demanding that they feel that "America stands with them. But the biggest question mark right now is whether the US can be relied upon," Ali Shihabi, a Saudi operative close to Riyadh said.
"Saudi Arabia wants as much involvement from the US as possible in constraining Iran, so that will be a discussion that will dominate the GCC-Biden meeting," he added, referring to the Gulf Cooperation Council that will be attended by US President Joe Biden during his upcoming visit to the Kingdom.
The Biden administration lacks a common stance on Iran, with some saying that Tehran's main goal is sanction relief and that it would simply use the threat of advancing its nuclear program as leverage, while others believe that the Islamic Republic wants to produce nuclear weapons as a means of deterrence against Washington.
"We will remain committed to diplomacy as the best, most durable means of addressing our concerns with Iran's nuclear program," the NSC spokesperson said.
US intelligence and military officials are closely watching for signs of any escalation between Iran and the Israeli occupation ahead of Biden's trip to West Asia, especially in light of "Tel Aviv's" surging provocations and crimes on Iranian soil in recent months.
The Israeli occupation was behind the assassination of a top Islamic Revolution Guards Corps who was killed by two terrorists riding on a motorcycle in front of his house in Tehran.
Iran also believes that the Israeli occupation was behind the assassination of two Iranian scientists who were deliberately poisoned in late May.
The Israeli occupation reportedly never informs the United States of its offensives beforehand, often even not acknowledging its role in the bloody crimes, even privately.
Biden administration officials are concerned that while it remains unlikely that a war breaks out between the Islamic Republic and the Israeli occupation, a miscalculation is very likely to spiral out of control.
"The more the Israelis push - especially if the Iranians decide JCPOA is dead - the more the Iranians are going to push back," said Jonathan Panikoff, head of the Middle East Security Initiative at the Atlantic Council and a former deputy national intelligence officer for the Near East at the National Intelligence Council.