Has the JCPOA turned on Iran?

The highly flawed 2015 Iran nuclear deal, blessed by Obama, is becoming a major predicament for the mullahs’ regime in Tehran.

by Heshmat Alavi

Sun, June 23, 2019

While tensions between the international community and the regime in Iran is escalating over the fate of the 2015 nuclear deal, known commonly as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the agreement is now backlashing on Tehran in severe fashion.

In early May, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani issued a 60-day ultimatum for Europe to literally provide incentives to Tehran in response to the U.S. exiting the arrangement and imposing sanctions targeting the regime.

The ultimatum was responded with harsh positions adopted by France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

"We reject any ultimatums and we will assess Iran's compliance on the basis of Iran's performance regarding its nuclear-related commitments" under a 2015 deal, the European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Troika foreign ministers said in a statement.

On June 21, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif once again reiterated on Tehran’s drive by saying the second phase of the mullahs’ step backs from the JCPOA commitments will be implemented on July 7.

Tehran has already begun increasing more enriched uranium and heavy water, exceeding limits established by the JCPOA. On July 7, Iran’s mullahs intend to increase the level of uranium enrichment from 3.5 percent to 20 percent, and maybe even beyond that significant threshold.

It is worth noting that upgrading from 20 to 90 percent uranium enrichment – nuclear weapon grade – is considered an easy task for a state that has mastered 20 percent enrichment technology.

The EU, having made clear they do not recognize Iran’s ultimatum, reiterated for Tehran that senior officials of China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom will be meeting with Iran’s delegation in Vienna on June 28 to discuss methods of maintaining the JCPOA intact.

All the while, Aladdin Borujerdi, head of the regime’s Majlis (parliament) National Security and Foreign Affairs Committee, once again repeated the positions of Rouhani and Zarif, saying Iran will not wait for Europe forever.

It is worth noting that Iran’s own officials are warning about the EU’s positions being against Tehran’s interests.

“As a whole, all the efforts, measures and movements we have witnessed from the Europeans cannot be considered serious in regards to what Tehran expected. In the best circumstances, the Green Continent can consider taking measures to implement the INSTEX financial initiative, said former Iranian diplomat Abdolreza Farajirad.

INSTEX is an EU enterprise launched with the aim of circumventing and bypassing U.S. sanctions on Iran.

“INSTEX does not seek to establish widespread trade engagements with Iran and is actually meant to provide merely essential goods and medicine. It appears that these countries will not be able to find a serious solution to have Iran sell its oil and involve banking transactions,” he added.

It is worth noting the U.S. sanctions on Iran have specifically left trade in food, humanitarian and medical goods open with Tehran.

“Considering the Europeans’ concerns in regards to the JCPOA due to Iran’s measures, the circumstances are quite ripe for the positions of the U.S., France, Germany and the United Kingdom to become closer. In this regard, senior White House officials are seeking to have these three countries fall in line with their interests and positions,” Farajirad continued.

“The presence of Brian Hook (U.S. Special Representative on Iran) in Paris is aimed at paving the path for aligning the U.S. and the Green Continent, on Iran and the JCPOA, in order to shape further future pressures. Of course, these is the possibility that White House officials, in addition to this objective, are also making necessary preparations to refer Iran’s dossier to the United Nations Security Council. For this they would need the Troika’s support,” Farajirad explained.

The Javan daily, a newspaper associated to Iran’s terrorist-designated Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), also warned of the Troika top diplomats visiting Iran.

“Signs indicate the Foreign Ministers of these three countries are visiting Iran to convince Tehran to remain a party of the JCPOA. And if we refuse to do so, [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel specifically said Iran will face grave consequences,” the Javan piece reads in part.

Currently, it appears the JCPOA is becoming a major predicament for the mullahs’ regime. And this comes prior to U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement to impose new sanctions on Monday.

These new measures could include:

- Iran’s human rights violations and abusers. The mullahs’ regime currently has the world’s highest number of executions per capita.

- Iran’s gas industry. The mullahs sit over the world’s second largest gas reserves.

- The regime’s construction, engineering and telecommunication branches.

- Companies working with the IRGC and other branches of Iran’s military.

- Europe’s INSTEX initiative.

- The regime’s National Development Fund, currently worth tens of billions of dollars and tapped by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to provide emergency funds for the regime’s malign campaign across the region.

- Designating the regime’s Central Bank a terrorist organization for financing Hezbollah, a group already designated as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” by the U.S. State Department.

About the author

Heshmat Alavi is a political rights activist focusing on Iran & the Middle East.

He has published his articles and opinion columns in Forbes, Al Arabiya English, The Hill, The Daily Caller, American Thinker, The Gatestone Institute, Algemeiner, The FrontPage Magazine and The Diplomat.

Follow him on Twitter at @HeshmatAlavi. Follow him on Quod at @HeshmatAlavi.


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