Joe Biden Is 'Arrogant' and 'Totalitarian' Like Donald Trump, Iran General Says

Iran's military is continuing its public relations assault on President Joe Biden, as Iranian leaders try to pressure the White House into lifting crippling economic sanctions as a prelude to reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal.

Iranian armed forces spokesperson Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi on Friday blamed the U.S. for regional instability, as Tehran's proxy forces continue attacks against American and allied targets.

The simmering conflict involves several regional nations, including Israel, which The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday has been attacking Iranian shipping, and Saudi Arabia, which is under escalating attacks from Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

"In our view, there is no difference between Biden and Trump," Shekarchi said according to the state-run Fars News Agency, echoing complaints from Iranian leaders that Biden has failed to lift the sanctions imposed by his predecessor after the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA in 2018.

Iran has said it will not scale back its nuclear program in line with JCPOA rules until U.S. sanctions are lifted, but the White House has demanded an Iranian nuclear drawdown before easing any measures. Though both sides have said they want to revive the JCPOA, the stalemate over who takes the first step has left the situation at an impasse.

Shekarchi dismissed the U.S. as an "arrogant, oppressive, and looter regime," arguing that "Biden's taking office will not create any difference in the totalitarian policies of Americans.

"Trump was implementing U.S. oppressive policies openly and Biden is implementing those more covertly," Shekarchi added.

The Biden administration has taken some steps towards a detente, but Tehran has rebuffed the efforts. Biden rescinded United Nations sanctions Trump claimed to have reimposed last year—this was disputed by fellow UN Security Council members—and opened the door to multilateral talks with the other JCPOA signatories.

But President Hassan Rouhani's government has so far refused to negotiate, demanding full sanctions relief. Rouhani's term ends in June and he is likely to be replaced by a hardline candidate, possibly one from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

It is unclear whether a more conservative candidate would change Iran's JCPOA strategy or its regional operations, but observers have noted that Tehran's foreign policy has been broadly consistent regardless of which president is in power. Iran envoy Rob Malley said this week that the administration will not change its strategy regardless of the election.

Meanwhile, the IRGC and military are maintaining their harsh rhetoric. Last month, IRGC commander Major General Hossein Salami said ongoing military drills should be a "lesson" to the U.S. and other adversaries that Iran is prepared to use its "firepower."

Also in February, IRGC missile and aerospace commander Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said Washington, D.C. remains Iran's "enemy" despite the change in administration. Regardless of the change in leadership, Hajizadeh said, the U.S. "is after preventing our capabilities and progress."

Joe Biden speaks on COVID White House
President Joe Biden speaks on the anniversary of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. on March 11, 2021. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images