According to the White House, US President Donald Trump will, this week, announce his general policy on Iran and the nuclear deal Tehran has signed with six world powers known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Speculations in political circles and media outlets suggest Trump is most probably seeking to ratchet up sanctions on Iran and effect an implicit withdrawal from the JCPOA in contravention of Washington’s commitments under the deal.
This has been a hot issue in Iranian media as well in recent days and, as a result, many articles and editorials have focused their attention on the JCPOA.
The E’temad daily, in its editorial, stressed that the JCPOA is a multilateral agreement and will remain in effect even if the US pulls out of it.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is prepared for every eventuality and is not worried about its future at all. The reason is that the establishment and government stand ready to respond to any possible option, although they remain fully committed to their international agreements and obligations and they will never be the first party to violate agreements and commitments,” the newspaper wrote.
In an article published by the Ebtekar daily, Ali Mohaqqeq has termed Trump as eccentric and imbalanced. He highlights that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the European Union and the UN have, time and again, confirmed that Iran has made good on its commitments under the JCPOA. He believes recent reactions by Russia, China, Britain, Germany, France, the EU Foreign Policy Chief and the UN secretary general to Washington’s possible withdrawal from the JCPOA are the signs suggesting the international community will stand by Iran and against the US if Washington withdraws from the JCPOA.
However, university professor Sadeq Zibakalam has offered a different viewpoint in an opinion piece published by the reformist Shargh newspaper and mentioned a few key points. In his idea, the “controversial and populist” president of the United States seeks to win the backing of the US public opinion by adopting contentious policies and blowing crises and foreign threats out of all proportion. Accordingly, pressurizing Iran and pretending to be making threats is the only option that Trump can use to create crises without triggering a military conflict.
This academic is opposed to the reasoning offered by some state officials and state media that believe the United States’ withdrawal from the JCPOA will lead to its isolation and bring Europe and other US partners closer to Iran. In response to them, Zibakalam writes:
“It is right to say if the US pulls out of the JCPOA, no one will trust Washington anymore, but what will we get [if that happens]? Also, the belief that ‘Europe and other major powers will not support the US’ is a temporary tranquilizer. That’s right; Europeans will not first withdraw from the JCPOA; they won’t even voice an objection; but the reality is that many countries attach great importance to their trade with the US, so much so that they will not compromise it for the sake of Iran. Exports to the US by countries such as Japan, India, South Korea, China and some European countries, plus many other countries such as Russia are so important to them that even if they, deep down, hate Trump and his withdrawing from the JCPOA, they will not continue their trade relations with Iran in the long run if the Americans boycott Iran unilaterally.
Nevertheless, conservative newspapers have focused their attention on offering practical solutions to counter US threats and also stressed that their previous criticisms of the Rouhani administration’s way of conducting the negotiations were right. The Javan newspaper has, in an analytical report, interviewed different political experts and introduced measures such as halting the implementation of the JCPOA by Iran, returning the level of Iran’s nuclear activities to that before the conclusion of the nuclear deal, or Iran’s stopping fulfilling part of its commitments under the JCPOA as proposed reactions to Washington’s possible withdrawal from the JCPOA.
The Sobh-e Now daily has also, in a report, once again reviewed “two ambiguous nuclear deals” in which President Rouhani had a role – the JCPOA and the 2003 Saadabad Agreement – and slammed his negotiation method as well as his team’s trusting the West. The Kayhan daily has predicted that Trump will, while maintaining the outward appearance of the JCPOA, slap tough sanctions on Iran and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). Kayhan has proposed Iran give a harsh response to these measures.
The Jame Jam newspaper has, in an article written by former Iranian diplomat Mohammad Hassan Qadiri, preferred to underline the need to maintain domestic unity against Washington’s new threats.
“The convergence of different institutions, namely the foreign policy apparatus, the IRGC and others against plots to put one of the country’s official military powers on the terror list, is a logical and usual move because here, the conspiracy is not against a groups or party only, but against the country’s territorial integrity and deterrent military forces,” he writes.