President Joe Biden’s recent airstrikes against militias supported by Iran in Iraq and Syria "send a clear message" that the ongoing talks over a nuclear deal won’t influence the U.S. response to "regional issues," analysts told CNBC on Monday.
Over the weekend, the U.S. attacked operational and weapons storage facilities in Syria and Iraq, the second round of strikes ordered by Biden against the militias that Iran supports since he took office.
"As demonstrated by this evening's strikes, President Biden has been clear that he will act to protect U.S. personnel. Given the ongoing series of attacks by Iran-backed groups targeting U.S. interests in Iraq, the President directed further military action to disrupt and deter such attacks," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a press release on Sunday.
The attacks came amid ongoing talks between Iran and six major nations, including the United States, in Vienna over the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that was initially negotiated during the Obama Administration.
"The strikes send a clear message that regional issues with Iran will not be ignored at the expense of the Vienna JCPOA negotiations," Sanam Vakil, an expert on Iran and the deputy head of Chatham House’s Middle East North Africa program, told CNBC on Monday. "This is also intended to reassure the U.S.’s regional partners that a U.S. reentry into the deal won’t result in a carte blanche to Iran."
"I doubt that the strikes would have any impact on the JCPOA talks," Ali Vaez, the Crisis Group’s Iran project director, told CNBC. "The two sides seem to have managed to segregate their differences between those that could be settled diplomatically and those for which they seek a military solution."
Vaez added, "Both Iran and the U.S. have demonstrated that they’re capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time."
He noted that the most recent strike "suggests that if the diplomatic track in Vienna collapses, the tensions in the region are bound to go from bad to worse."
Aniseh Tabrizi, a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London, pointed out that Biden previously ordered airstrikes against targets in Syria that had support from Iran in February, and that didn’t derail talks. However, she also noted that the strikes likely won’t cause the militias to back down.
"In fact, there is a chance they could even intensify," Tabrizi said.
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