“With Iran and North Korea, Joe Biden’s return to civilized diplomacy will not be enough”

President-elect Joe Biden at a press conference in Wilmington, Delaware, December 16.

Tribune. To read the documents published since November by the president-elect of the United States, Iran and North Korea do not appear in the list of priorities of the future Democratic administration in terms of foreign policy. However, there is no doubt that these two issues, which have in common to be nuclear, ballistic, and potentially explosive, will be on the agenda as of January. The main reason is that the Democratic administration will be solicited by the behavior of Tehran and Pyongyang in the weeks and months to come.

In the Iranian case, the exacerbation of tensions during the year 2020, from the assassination of General Soleimani in January to that of Brigadier General Fakhrizadeh in November, reflects the reality of a regime under pressure from the return of sanctions. American since August 2018: for the year 2020, the recession should be around 6% and inflation 26%, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), after a catastrophic year 2019.

Tehran in a hurry to resume negotiations

Iran’s non-compliance since May 2019 with its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, the Vienna Agreement on Iranian Nuclear Power) of July 2015 is still part of the framework of political dialogue. Iran’s recent intentions to install advanced centrifuge cascades banned by the 2015 accord at Natanz uranium enrichment center indicate that Tehran is in a hurry to resume negotiations with the United States. For the record, those conducted with the rest of the parties to the 2015 agreement have never been interrupted. From a ballistic point of view, the acceleration of the program has never been as significant as since 2018, including with regard to medium and intermediate ranges (up to 4000 km of theoretical range for the Sejil-3 missile under development) , but also in terms of propellants or guidance systems.

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In the North Korean case, the military parade on October 10 on the occasion of the 75e The anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea was an opportunity to exhibit the largest range of new military equipment ever presented at a parade in North Korean history. In particular, a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) described as a “monster” paraded on an eleven-axle tractor-erector-launcher (TEL). This new ICBM is probably intended to carry a larger load than that which can carry missiles of the same range already presented: Hwasong-14 and Hwasong-15, in particular.

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