Friday, 14 July 2017
“We expect all the sides to abide by their commitments, but the US has remained committed to the agreement at the least level; it has not respected and supported the spirit of the deal by adopting wrong approaches and policies,” said Javad Zarif, shortly after arriving in New York for a UN summit on development.
Zarif complained that the US “has not let Iran to gain benefits from the deal completely.” While comprehensive sanctions against the Tehran regime were lifted in the wake of the deal, investor confidence in Iran remains low, with banks in particular recommending caution following the new sanctions imposed by the US Senate in June in the face of Iran’s continued support for terrorism.
Somewhat more veiled criticism of the tough new US line towards Iran from President Donald Trump’s administration came from Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign policy head, who pointed out that the deal – known as the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” (JCPOA) – was agreed between Iran and six world powers.
“The nuclear deal doesn’t belong to one country, it belongs to the international community,” Mogherini said at a news conference in Brussels alongside Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Administration officials have not yet said whether they will reaffirm the deal labeled by Trump as “disastrous” while on the campaign trial in 2016. On Thursday, Reuters news agency quoted a “senior US official” saying that Trump is “very likely” to announce that Iran is adhering to the JCPOA while restating his earlier criticisms of the deal.
Critics of the deal reiterated that its underlying strategic goal was to shift the regional balance of power in Iran’s favor, while enabling the regime to develop a nuclear weapon within weeks of the “sunset clause” of the JCPOA – which effectively removes international oversight of Iran’s nuclear program – being implemented in 2030.
“The JCPOA was sold to the public on false premises, mainly that it would ensure the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program and empower forces of moderation within the regime,” David Ibsen – the president of advocacy organization United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) – told The Algemeiner on Friday. “After two years, it is clear these assertions were unfounded.”
UANI is now urging the Trump Administration to pursue an improved deal with Iran that would permanently shut down the regime’s path to a nuclear weapon. The group argues that any pushback on the Iranian side against a revised deal should be met with US determination to hold Iran accountable for its multiple violations of the existing deal.
In addition, UANI is utilizing the JCPOA’s second anniversary to push for the designation of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization. The group says such a measure would “freeze” further foreign investment, given the IRGC’s overwhelming presence in the Iranian economy through its numerous front companies.
“Iran agreed to the JCPOA because it enabled the mullahs to accept marginal, temporary nuclear restrictions in exchange for front-loaded, permanent economic and diplomatic benefits,” Ibsen said. “Given the benefits it has accrued under the deal, Iran is very unlikely to jettison the agreement.”
Ibsen added that “it will be left to the US to ensure that the JCPOA does not become a clear pathway to an Iranian nuclear weapon.”
Saeed Ghasseminejad – an expert on Iran at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) think-tank in Washington, DC – said that the immediate effect of the JCPOA had been to “rescue the Islamic regime in Tehran from an imminent and total economic collapse.”
“[Former president] Barack Obama and [former secretary of state] John Kerry gave the clerics in Tehran whatever they wanted just to have a foreign policy legacy,” Ghasseminejad said. “Their legacy will be a nuclear armed genocidal regime.”
Ghasseminejad argued that Iran’s destabilizing regional activities – such as its ballistic missile tests, its military intervention in neighboring Syria and its backing for terrorist proxies like Hezbollah – had increased since the deal was first announced.
“What we have seen so far is peanuts in comparison to what will happen once the regime reaches its goal of going nuclear,” Ghasseminejad warned.
“They will cheat incrementally, until they feel comfortable that they have all the required pieces in place, then they will go nuclear and become another North Korea, but a more powerful and dangerous one,” he stated.