He goes on to add, “This is very much in keeping with what we already understand about the Iranian regime. Full-fledged compliance with international accords was always a pipe-dream, pursued only by the most naïve actors such as the Obama administration, which sold the deal to lawmakers and the American public in part by claiming that it was made possible by the 2013 election of ‘moderate’ Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.”
This latest report by the UN is part of a long series of criticisms against the Rouhani administration’s claims of being moderate. With accounts of the growing number of executions, and politically motivated arrests, as well as Tehran’s involvement in the affairs of Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon, Iran’s hard-line domestic and foreign policy are highlighted. The indignation of the Iranian people was spoken of by Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, who presided over its annual international gathering in Paris on July 9. This gathering was attended by over 100,000 dissidents and activists from all over the world.
“And what have the White House and its closest allies gotten in exchange for kowtowing to Tehran? They have been blamed for all Iran’s problems and they have been used as scapegoats to explain away the well-reasoned conclusion by the UN that Tehran’s activities are still at odds with the interests of most democratic nations. The Iranian Foreign Ministry quickly responded to Monday’s UN report by declaring that it was politically biased and was the result of ‘open pressure’ from the U.S. The very country whose policy reversals under the Obama administration made Iran’s large-scale sanctions relief possible is still being maligned by the Islamic Republic to distract from the fact that Iran’s theocratic authorities refuse to compromise on their most dangerous ambitions,” Blackman says, and adds, “It seems as though that is the very opposite of what Western powers wanted to get out of this deal. Whereas they had hoped to provide concessions in order to promote the evolution of a kinder, gentler and friendlier Islamic Republic, what they got instead was a regime that is taking advantage of a financial windfall to go on doing whatever it wants, while also crying foul any time anyone dares to criticize and oppose it.”
Not only did the UN report generate this kind of response, but after the NCRI gathering in Paris, the Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned the French ambassador to answer for the “Free Iran” rally. In addition, earlier this year, the Rouhani administration requested that the Austrian government force cancellation of a planned NCRI protest. Vienna refused, and Rouhani cancelled his anticipated visit.
Blackman hopes that, “French officials have the same common resolve in the months and years to come as the Austrians had in March. They should need no further incentive for rebuffing Tehran’s demands than the simple fact that it is obviously the right thing to do for any Western democratic nation. But, if it helps policy-makers of any nation to resist temptation, it would do well for them to recognize that giving concessions to the Islamic Republic is a bad bet that does not pay off.”
Further, he thinks that the “U.S. gave up important leverage in hope of improved relations, but it remained the main object of Tehran’s wrath. The UN closed the file on Tehran’s nuclear weapons program and Iran has continued to accuse it of political bias. And the six major powers involved in the JCPOA, having given in to even last-minute demands by the Islamic Republic, received nothing in return but the most cursory and minimal compliance with the deal. As the Associated Press reported last week, secret side-agreements already outline the expanded nuclear activities that Iran plans to pursue at its earliest possible opportunity.”
Blackman concludes, “The more concessions are given to the Iranian regime, the more it takes advantage of them. Its behavior does not change and its negotiating partners invariably are left wondering what they ever hoped to achieve in the first place. In light of the UN having reminded us all of this fact, we cannot continue repeating the same mistakes. We must return to policies that recognize Tehran regime as what it is and put pressure on it to comply with international demands and heed international concerns, instead of returning the regime’s duplicitous smile and keeping our fingers crossed for the best.”