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In the aftermath of the US presidential elections, European debate on JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also referred to as Iran Nuclear Deal) has gained new momentum. Biden´s victory and his pledge to return to  “diplomacy first” approach are seen by many EU policymakers as a way out of the current diplomatic impasse over the Iran nuclear deal and opportunity to bring the Islamic Republic back to full compliance with its commitments under JCPOA concluded in 2015.

However, the ongoing European debate is overlooking one crucial element. As mentioned in a recent analysis published by the Middle East Institute in Washington,“ this Western centric view ignores the changing reality on the ground in Iran[1].  The inauguration of a new hardline-dominated parliament in May 2020 proved important dynamics in Iran’s domestic politics. But many argue that 2020 legislative elections only served as a prelude to further radicalisation inside the Islamic Republic, bringing major changes after Iran´s 2021 presidential elections. Shifting balance of power inside Iran’s domestic politics in favor of hardline tendencies since the US withdrawal from the JCPOA in May 2018 and the outcome of 2021 Iran’s presidential elections might significantly shape Iran’s negotiating position to be more assertive and less inclined to compromise.

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[1] [1] Middle East Institute – ´´Biden and misinterpreting Iran´s intent´´, October  14, 2020;: https://www.mei.edu/publications/biden-and-misinterpreting-irans-intent