However, it appears that the stance might be softening a little now. Probably due to the fact that the Iranian economy is in a very worrying state with no signs of improvement. Furthermore, the Iranian regime is suffering major setbacks in Syria and the public discontent at home is consistently high these days with no signs of it easing up.
Since President Donald Trump announced that the United States would be exiting the 2015 nuclear agreement, there was very little reaction from Iran. Of course, it would take a few days for the regime to gather its thoughts and consider the consequences, but the silence from the Supreme Leader was deafening.
When the nuclear deal was being negotiated, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei talked about “heroic flexibility”. It appears that, moving forward, Iran is going to be careful and cautious. For example, the Supreme Leader has ordered a resume in nuclear activities but stressed that it must be within the framework of the nuclear agreement. Red lines, this time, are being taken into consideration by Iran.
Given the fragile state of the Iranian regime, it is unlikely that it will go back to the days when it acts as a free agent with no consideration for anything other than its own gains.
The Supreme Leader has the final say on all matters in Iran. President Hassan Rouhani by comparison has very little power. Although Khamenei has made himself out to be the hardened and uncompromising leader, it is known that secret talks were held with the United States before the nuclear deal was negotiated. He also told the Rouhani government to go ahead with the nuclear agreement talks.
Although he appeared to distance himself from the negotiations, it has been admitted that nothing was agreed without the Supreme Leader’s consent.
Khamenei had previously said that he would burn the nuclear agreement if the US left it. The United States announced its exit, but the deal was not burned.
It seems like the Iranian regime’s foreign policy has softened and become more moderate. However, let’s not fall into the trap of thinking it has taken a conscious decision to do so. It has been left with no choice because of the domestic unrest, the worsening economic and exchange rate crisis and its desperation abroad where it is facing setback after setback.
The regime is looking for a way to advance in the Middle East because at home the people have made it very clear that they are not going to relent. The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) will be holding its annual gathering in Paris on 30th June in which tens of thousands of Iranians from all over the world will be joined by dignitaries, human rights activists, officials and politicians to further the Free Iran cause.