US Election Day: The issue that should concern us all

The Iranians invented the game of chess. Now they tensely wait for the next move, the most significant one immediately after the election.

US president Donald Trump holds up a proclamation declaring his intention to withdraw the US from the Iran nuclear agreement,  at the White House in 2018. (photo credit: JONATHAN ERNST / REUTERS)
US president Donald Trump holds up a proclamation declaring his intention to withdraw the US from the Iran nuclear agreement, at the White House in 2018.
(photo credit: JONATHAN ERNST / REUTERS)
On Tuesday, November 3, a decision will finally be made. The US election has captured the attention of the entire world, and rightly so. The next president of America will take the lead on matters that affect society as we know it. From tomorrow, America’s next president-elect will begin to discuss substantive policy, in place of the snappy slogans we currently see emanating from both camps.
For the two celebrated candidates, the context is familiar. President Donald Trump ended a fascinating four-year term in which he promoted peace agreements in the Middle East, made initial contact with North Korea and formulated an independent policy toward Iran. For Joe Biden, the world of the White House was firmly established after decades in Congress and a gripping eight years as vice president to Barack Obama.
If we zoom out of the US and shift to a closer look at Iran, we can see how the ayatollahs observe the unfolding of the US democratic process in pure amazement. Many do not understand how the world’s greatest power continues to grow and prosper when every four years the systems reel at the prospect of the next election.
Contrary to the Iranian leadership, its citizens’ ultimate hope is that one day they too will know how it feels to be a part of a democratic society and where they too can duly elect an authentic leader and governing body that is truly committed to their needs.
The Iranians invented the game of chess. Now they tensely wait for the next move, the most significant one immediately after the election. Trump has led a courageous policy of withdrawing from the Iranian nuclear deal and imposing significant sanctions. He recently hinted that he will be willing to enter direct negotiations with Iran. Biden has addressed the Iranian issue many times and also expressed his commitment to preventing a nuclear Iran.
His recent interviews have indicated that he is keen to reenter the JCPOA, improve the agreement and correct its shortcomings.
The US Department of Defense is busily preparing strategies and options in the face of the continuation of the Iranian nuclear race. However, before the president-elect enters the briefing on Iran, he must take into account a number of basic assumptions.
First, there is no probationary period. The Iranians do not work according to the US election schedule. While the US’s attention has largely shifted to the fight against COVID-19 and its own presidential election, Iran’s nuclear industry and concealment efforts have advanced at astonishing speed.
Second, any agreement with Iran is doomed to be breached. Prior to the signing of the nuclear agreement, Israel issued warning calls against the deal. Not long after, we witnessed live the full disclosure of Iran’s deception and the revelation of the Iranian nuclear archive, which unveiled the Iranian nuclear machine. We have heard unequivocal rulings by the International Atomic Energy Agency and have noted the numerous UN Security Council resolutions. With these facts at their disposal, it is clear to everyone that Iran has violated the previous agreement, and will unequivocally continue to violate any future agreement.
Third, the only language that leads to a real dialogue with Iran is the language of sanctions. It is this and the subsequent economic pressure that effectively motivates the Iranian leadership to recalculate its course. Yet, worryingly, there is not much time before the “sunset clause” kicks into force and the restrictions on the Iranian nuclear program will expire.
Mr. President-elect, the elections are clearly for the position of president of the United States. However, they are also an appointment for the leader of the free world. Tackling the Iranian issue is the most crucial challenge we face in our free and democratic society.
The writer served as the 17th ambassador of the State of Israel to the UN, science and technology minister and deputy defense minister.