No normalization of US-Iran relations unless Tehran changes behavior: Expert

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There can be no normalization of relations between the United States and Iran unless and until Tehran changes its behavior, said Bradley Blakeman, a former adviser to George W. Bush.

“The US is continuing our maximum pressure campaign of sanctions against Iran. Iran has to understand that there can be no normalization of relations between the United States and Iran, unless and until they change their behavior, first and foremost, their behavior and in trying to attain a nuclear weapon and aggression, their funding of terrorists and creating instability,” Blakeman said during his interview with Al Arabiya.

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Blakeman’s assessment comes just days after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned the UN Security Council of the dangers that would arise if the arms embargo, set to expire in October, was not extended.

If the arms embargo is not extended, Pompeo said that the US was “prepared to lead to come up with responses” to the risks against the nonproliferation regime.

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Iran curbed its nuclear work in exchange for the removal of most global sanctions under an accord reached with six world powers in 2015, but has reduced compliance with the deal’s restrictions since the United States withdrew in 2018.

Asked whether political observers were right to point toward Iran anticipating a turn in US politics given the proximity of the US elections in November, Blakeman said foreign policy would not have much of an impact.

“International affairs doesn’t tend to turn elections in America unless there’s a crisis. And having said that, unless there is a crisis, I don’t think Americans are going to be first and foremost thinking about international affairs,” the former White House staff member told Al Arabiya.

“Iran is in no better shape today than it will be in November under Donald Trump, and it will be in worse shape if Donald Trump is reelected,” Blakeman added.

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