Senior international issues analyst Hassan Hanizadeh has, in an interview with the Arman-e Emrooz daily, weighed in on the latest developments surrounding the Iran nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Excerpts from the interview follow.
Iran began to further scale back its commitments under the JCPOA after the Europeans failed to meet Iran’s demands during the two months that the Islamic Republic had given them to ensure Tehran’s benefits under the agreement.
Unfortunately, Britain, France and German have not taken any action over the past four years to live up to their commitments; rather, they only killed time and played political games. On the other hand, the US withdrawal from the JCPOA has prompted the Trump team to exert more pressure on the Europeans to keep them from enforcing the agreement. The Islamic Republic of Iran has proven that it has made every move in order to build confidence and cooperate with the international community. This comes as the Trump team is behind all these propaganda campaigns and economic pressure. So, it seems Iran has had no other choice, but to scale back its commitments in accordance with clauses 26 and 36 of the JCPOA, which is a tit-for-tat move.
Over the past few days, a series of negotiations took place in Vienna between Iran and the other five signatories to the JCPOA, i.e., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany. The talks produced acceptable results with regards to the creation of a financial cooperation framework and formed the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX). Nevertheless, Britain’s seizure of an Iranian oil tanker dashed all hope of reaching an overarching deal between Iran and the five countries. In fact, Iran has now reduced its commitments under the JCPOA and taken its second step in scaling down its obligations in order to safeguard its rights. In its second step, Iran has moved towards gradually enriching uranium to higher levels. Now, the ball is in Britain, Germany and France’s court. During Iran’s second step, if these three countries fail again to stop the JCPOA from falling apart, the Islamic Republic will definitely continue to gradually scale back its commitments. However, Iran is not going to pull out of the JCPOA altogether.
Now, the international community has realized well that the European countries cannot take any steps toward cooperation with Iran without the blessing of the White House. So, given that the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is going to hold a meeting where the agency’s director general is supposed to present a report on Iran’s obligations and the circumstances surrounding the JCPOA, it seems the United States and the three European countries will put forward some pretexts in order to be able to denounce Iran in an upcoming UN Security Council meeting which will be called by the US in a bid to build international consensus against the Islamic Republic.
However, with regards to the obligations and commitments that Iran has made good on, the Board of Governors will tip the balance in favour of Iran as it includes several countries which are members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), and the UN Security Council will indubitably not be able to issue a resolution against Iran. Therefore, the European countries should seriously assess Iran’s behaviour, stop killing time and cooperating with the US and aligning themselves with Washington’s aggressive behaviour, and treat Iran fairly. Of course, there is a possibility that the European Union will cash in on the situation and reinstate sanctions, given that the US and Britain had launched a series of propaganda campaigns against Iran. This is very probable, especially when the UK has proved that its behaviour toward Iran is completely politically-motivated.