Jan 18, 2021, 4:19 PM
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US internal situation, a big challenge for Biden: Pakistani think tank chief

Islamabad, Jan 18, IRNA -- The head of Pakistan's ‘Strategic Vision Institute (SVI)’, says keeping in view the challenges ahead for US President-elect Joe Biden, internal security of the country and how to clear the backlog of the Trump administration would be his top priority.

Dr. Zafar Iqbal Cheema, who is one of the leading experts in defense and nuclear studies made the remarks during an exclusive interview with IRNA on Monday, on the eve of the inauguration of US President-elect Joe Biden.

During the conversion he expressed his views on new US administration's approach to the JCPOA, US engagement with the Islamic Republic of Iran, the situation in Afghanistan and the Middle East, the challenges faced by the new US administration and the prospects for future White House policy in the region.

Replying to a question, Dr. Cheema said this is almost certain that Biden administration would try to come back and be a part of joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) but "I don’t think that would be entirely unconditional".

“I don’t know those details as I am not privy to that but this is my understanding of the subject and what kind of concessions Americans make or Iranians make I think it depends on art of negotiations of the two countries,” he said.

He added Iran has a good history of negotiations and has a very competent foreign minister and same is the case with the Biden administration they would have a team of people who would be competent enough to negotiate.

“Iran is going to ask for lifting of sanctions, will Americans lift it without any conditions attached to it, I am sure they will attach some condition to it then it would be the subject of negotiations between Iran and the US,”  viewed the expert.

Dr. Zafar Iqbal Cheema continued the American history is very different, they consider themselves unilateral superpower in the world today despite the fact that there is Russia, China, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and other countries in the world.

**Biden worried about US domestic situation

Head of the SVI said think America is more internally looking than looking outside in the world. “Couple of days ago they had an attack on Capitol Hill, some people are even saying this is a kind of terrorism, so I think this would be their preoccupation once they take,” he said.

"I think it would take them a couple of weeks if not months to fully settle in the government and how to deal with the governmental issues they have in Washington and after dealing with those issues they take the Iranian issue," Dr. Cheema added.

To a question the expert said the issue of Yemen is also very important for the US as the Middle East is very important for them and they are also aware of the divisions in the  Yemen, Saudi Arabia and UAE.

“But I don’t think they are going to rush to it, they will take reasonable time to come back to it once they are fully settled their own governmental problems which they are facing from Trump’s side,” he viewed.

He noted better way to deal with the issue of Yemen is some kind of reconciliation with Houthis because they are significant force in Yemen.

“But US thinks they are not big enough force for them as it claims to be a super power and downgrading then in the terrorist list is quite understandable though it may not be realistic perspective,” Dr. Cheema added.

He went on to say: I don’t think Saudi Arabia, UAE supported by the US are going to have any confirmatory attitude towards Houthis, they think they can deal with Houthis militarily so there would be no conciliatory move towards the Houthis by the US or the pro-American countries in the Middle East.

**Some countries are concerned about Iran-Pakistan friendly ties

Dr. Zafar Iqbal Cheema told IRNA that definitely there is a third party that does not want to see strong Iran-Pakistan ties.

“There are some upheavals in the border of Iran and Pakistan which needs a significant amount of resources and there are forces who are quite interested to create misunderstandings between Iran and Pakistan so this should not be taken lightly,” he warned.

The expert said Pakistan’s armed forces are already committed on eastern border and "we have significant deployment on border with Afghanistan so Pakistan is not in a position to commit as many resources and military troops as may be required in the border between Iran and Pakistan".

“This is a far flung area and with not much population needs a major deployment to keep the area peaceful, but the intentions are good on both sides and not bad. Eventually Iran and Pakistan would be able to overcome this problem,” said the SVI chief.

The expert to another question said there is very good scope and lots prospects of Iran, Pakistan and China cooperation in terms of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

“There are greater chances of cooperation between all the three countries. China has very good relations with Iran they are putting lot of money in building infrastructure and improving trade routes,” he said.

He noted this is an area where there more prospects of cooperation between Iran, Pakistan and China.

**The deal of the century is to weaken Palestine

He said that Trump’s so called deal of the century has certainly undermined the Palestinian cause and there is no doubt about that. I don’t think it is deal of the century.

The expert went on to say the countries which have recently recognized Zionist regime have not been supporting the Palestinian policy but Pakistan’s position is very clear and "we would not do any such thing which will undermine the Palestinian cause".

The expert said "I wish very good relationship with the brotherly country of Iran and there should be willingness on both sides to sort out difference, differences can be between two brothers even. But I think both countries are trying to address each other’s concerns. Pakistan feels more satisfied with the current Iranian policy."

272**2050

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