The notion that Iran’s commitment to engagement (and the nuclear deal) is structural was underscored in a November 3 speech by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. Addressing the possible impact of U.S. elections on U.S.-Iran relations, Khamenei stated, “We follow a sensible, calculated policy which cannot be affected by changes of personnel.” Many took the statement to be Khamenei’s way of pouring cold water on the prospect of a Biden victory revitalizing the JCPOA. But again, in the Iranian assessment, the deal is not yet dead. The calculated policy to which Khamenei is referring is the policy of keeping the nuclear deal alive in accordance with Iran’s strategic interests.
Most Western analysts expect Iran to start a new round of negotiations with the US in the new year regardless of who wins the election. This prediction has some merit, as Iran’s economy has been in dire straits since Trump’s controversial 2018 decision to withdraw the US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal) and impose a new round of sanctions on the country. This severely damaged the Iranian economy, which was already suffering from years of mismanagement, poor governance and corruption. The COVID-19 pandemic also added to Iran’s economic woes, and led to stagflation – a combination of rising inflation and slowing growth. The Islamic Parliament Research Center of Iran predicted that if the state fails to change the direction of the economy swiftly, 57 million Iranian citizens, or some 70 percent of the population, will soon be pushed below the poverty line.
While Khamenei’s supporters consider the JCPOA a failure of President Hassan Rouhani and his government, everyone knows that Iran would not have signed the agreement without the Leader’s blessing. Khamenei’s face-saving “heroic flexibility” enabled Mr. Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to sign the JCPOA in 2015 and make several crucial concessions to the West, including curbing Iran’s nuclear program significantly. However, senior Iranian officials have always maintained that signing the JCPOA was part of the state’s overall policy and not a single person’s decision. […] The current situation is similar to that of 2015, except that Trump and his administration have set more stringent conditions for holding talks with Iran. Tehran had a much easier time complying with Obama’s list of demands. The JCPOA allowed Iran to restart its nuclear program after a certain period. Even with a Trump defeat, the future of the nuclear deal is uncertain.
2020-10-18Statement by the Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the Termination of UN Security Council Provisions on Arms R
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran issued a statement on the termination of the UN arms embargo on Tehran according to the UNSC Resolution 2231 that endorses the 2015 nuclear deal.
The foreign minister noted that the world’s lone perpetrator of a nuclear attack “extends blind support to the sole possessor of nuclear arsenal in our region.” He referred to Israel as an outlaw regime that has openly threatened others with nuclear annihilation, while crying wolf about proliferation. “We also call on the General Assembly to declare as a binding norm of international law that a nuclear war cannot be won—and must never be fought,” he stated, adding that this should be followed by a long-overdue, concrete program for time-bound nuclear disarmament and provision of security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon states in the interim. The chief Iranian diplomat concluded his remarks by saying that “last year, $72.9 billion was spent on nuclear weapons—half of it by the U.S. alone. This is higher than the GDP of most countries. Just imagine if the billions wasted on instruments of global annihilation were allocated to help fund the fight against COVID-19.” Enough is enough, he added. […] Israel is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and has refused to either confirm or deny the possession of nuclear weapons in its arsenal. The regime is believed to possess 200 nuclear warheads, making it the only country in West Asia that has nuclear weapons. This is while Iran has signed the NPT and its nuclear program is inspected regularly by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The IAEA has in numerous occasions certified the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program. IAEA director-general Rafael Grossi has said that the UN nuclear watchdog carried out more than 400 inspections in Iran last year.
Statement from France, Germany and the UK delivered to the IAEA Board of Governors at the September 2020 meeting.
2020-09-14The Man Who Refused to Spy. The F.B.I. tried to recruit an Iranian scientist as an informant. When he balked, the payback was br
In the spring of 2017, an Iranian materials scientist named Sirous Asgari received a call from the United States consulate in Dubai. Two years earlier, he and his wife, Fatemeh, had applied for visas to visit America, where their children lived. The consulate informed him that their requests had finally been approved. The timing was strange: President Donald Trump had just issued an executive order banning Iranians from entering the U.S. on the very kind of visa that Asgari and his wife were granted. Maybe applications filed before the visa ban had been grandfathered through, or some career State Department official wanted to give families like his a last chance to reunite.
Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi announced on Sunday that the fourth step of reducing Iran's commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has been completely accomplished. "The policies of the fourth step of reduction JCPOA commitments have been fully implemented and we have activated a Fordo wing," Salehi said while reacting to statements by some lawmakers that Iran has not implemented the reduction of its JCPOA commitments in Fordo nuclear site.
2020-09-11Letter of sixteen groups to the members of the U.S. House of Representatives urging the next House Foreign Affairs Committee cha
As organizations that advocated for and helped secure the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal, we are pleased that all three contenders to be the next Democratic Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) have now expressed support for the JCPOA. Full adherence to the JCPOA is vital to U.S. interests and global nonproliferation efforts and benefits the security of Israel and the broader Middle East. It is critical that a new HFAC chairman champions the United States swiftly returning to full compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA, in tandem with Iran returning to full adherence with its nuclear obligations. Any effort to complicate a mutual return to the JCPOA, such as adding unrealistic preconditions or terms, would risk scuttling the last opportunity to save the accord and avert an irreversible escalation of tensions leading to a war. Therefore, the next chair must make the following commitments: […
Sixteen progressive groups have signed a letter urging the next House Foreign Affairs Committee chair to help a “potential Biden administration” save the nuclear deal with Iran. All three candidates to run the committee — one of two powerful foreign policy bodies in Congress — have voiced their support for the deal. Progressives are now asking for specific commitments from the candidates, including a promise to put economic sanctions relief on the table and stop any “poison pill” legislation that would undermine diplomacy with Iran.