Iran hoped it could use the attack on the Saudi oil installations as a blackmailing lever while trying to kick the ball in the court of western powers by presenting a ridiculous plan called “Hormuz Peace Plan.” Rouhani’s purpose was nothing but to extract concessions from the western powers.
Rouhani’s meeting with the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, ended without any result.
Hossein Shariatmadari, the Iran Supreme leader’s representative in Keyhan daily, wrote to Rouhani: “The least expectation of Rouhani was to refrain from meeting with the French president, Emmanuel Macron, to maintain the dignity of the Islamic Republic.”
The editor in chief continued, “It may be said that the meeting was planned before the three European countries issued the joint statement [specifying Iran as responsible for the attack], which is worse. After this joint statement, it was necessary to cancel and avoid any meeting with European leaders. Rouhani’s meeting with Macron was a disgrace to the Islamic republic.”
Before the meeting was over, Ali Khamenei, the Iranian regime’s supreme leader, was informed about the failure of Rouhani’s trip. Khamenei, who was awaiting Europe’s flexibility and support, promptly told in a meeting with members of the Assembly of Experts: “Europeans appear as mediators and talk much, but they are all absurd … Europeans are practically committed to the US sanctions and took no action and it is unlikely they will do anything for the Islamic Republic from now.”
Rouhani’s trip to New York was a big failure for the Iranian government because it had invested in it for months and was expecting a considerable result. The European signatories of the 2015 Iran deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) told Iranian authorities that the sanctions will not be lifted, and if they don’t accept to negotiate with the United States, more sanctions will be imposed. The truth is that Iran also seeks negotiations, but either to only receive incentive packages or to buy more time to acquire a nuclear bomb.
Khamenei’s move to use the “tools of pressure” to make concessions from the US including resorting to terrorist acts outside Iranian soil. Like the failed bombing plot against the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) annual “Free Iran” gathering in Paris, attacking oil tankers, seizing a British tanker in the waters of the Persian Gulf, downing US drones, the step by step violation of the JCPOA, as well as launching rockets and the use of drones to destroy Saudi oil facilities.
Iran’s Supreme leaders ordered all of these actions in a hope that the U.S. will continue avoiding the prospect of a military confrontation with Iran. The infrastructure of these actions were these remarks by Khamenei on 29 May 2019: “If the pressure levers and tools are correctly used, the US pressures will be decreased or stopped, but if we will deceive the invitation to negotiate with the US and the tools of pressure not used. [Our] loss is certain.”
These were all pieces of a puzzle that, when put together, showed the failure of the Iranian’s government strategy.
Instead of taking military action, the US increased sanctions because it knew the sanctions would crush the Iranian government and either weaken or drain the flow of money to Iran’s mercenaries.
Along with the sanctions, the United States also reached a consensus with three major European countries. The statement of the three counties, as well as Boris Johnson’s statement and his invitation to conclude a new agreement instead of the JCPOA, were all signs of a strategic failure for Iran.
Khamenei had earlier said in a derogatory tone: “If the US repents, returns to the JCPOA which he had broken and become a member of the contracting states, then they will join the contracting states which are speaking with Iran, but without this, there will be no negotiations at any level between the officials of the Islamic Republic and the US, neither on a trip to New York, nor on another trip.”
A few days after this announcement, Rouhani said that if sanctions were lifted, he would negotiate about some minor changes to the JCPOA. Everyone knows that these minor changes are meant to give up the Middle East meddling and attacking other countries and funding terrorist proxy groups. Rouhani also explicitly said to the U.S. president, “If you want more, you have to give more.”
The U.S. sanctions on 11 Chinese entities for dealing with Iran and banning Iranian officials and their families from entering U.S. soil, was a clear sign of Rouhani’s failure, another clear sign of the ongoing “Maximum Pressure Campaign.