With the Iranian presidential election rapidly approaching, tensions between candidates are increasing. A major topic of discussion and disagreement is the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and the consequences of it.
President Hassan Rouhani is quite understandably defending the deal as it was a major part of his foreign policy. Although his rivals Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and cleric Ebrahim Raisi believe the principle of the deal is good, they have brought up the issues of its ineffectiveness on many occasions.
As much as Rouhani played a part in the construction of the deal, it was actually dictated by the Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei. He was able to let the Obama administration know, via Oman, that he was ready to start negotiations.
He was then kept up-to-date at all stages of the negotiations and he defined all the red lines, as confirmed by the Foreign Minister of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif. Abbas Araghchi, the country’s Deputy Foreign Minister also confirmed that Khamenei had the final say on every detail in the nuclear deal, just as he does on all state matters.
However, the Iranian regime is feeling a lot less confident about the nuclear deal now. During what has been described as the “golden” times of the Obama administration, the Iranian regime was able to be confident knowing that it could get away with all sorts of malign behaviour. But now that the Trump administration is voicing its concerns over the deal, the Iranian regime is becoming increasingly worried.
International apprehension about the deal is also increasing and the Iranian regime is desperate. Without the financial benefits of the nuclear agreement, Iran will have even more serious economic issues.
With the deal in place, Iran can sell oil and some overseas banks are dealing with the country. However, there are many foreign investors that want to steer clear of the Islamic Republic, especially now that there is international pressure to deal with the malign activities and export of terrorism Iran is involved with.
There are financial restrictions are in place and many banks are refusing to deal with Iran in case they are subject to punitive action from the United States. The major banks in France, for example, categorically refused to get involved with Iranian business.
In any case, whatever the result of the upcoming election is in Iran, international pressure towards Iran will still be there and the deal will continue to be reviewed by the Trump administration. It is clear that any future President of Iran needs the nuclear deal to remain in place.