The Iranian government has made genuine efforts to persuade France, Germany, and the UK to preserve the JCPOA. In this context, Iran periodically announced several steps about reducing its obligations based on the nuclear deal. It expected to gain the support of the remaining parties of the deal by terrifying them. However, the JCPOA violations prompted the European signatories to follow the U.S. path for employing pressures. Now European powers hope to compel Iran to obey the JCPOA principles.
On the other hand, the French president Emmanuel Macron revealed his eagerness for a new deal with Iran that includes the missile programs. “The French president reiterated his claim about Iran’s efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. He called for the expansion of the [nuclear] agreement and the inclusion of Iran’s ballistic missile program,” Parsineh website published on January 22.
A new wave of concerns and regret has been seen after the possibility of triggering the dispute mechanism. In this context, the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani obviously expressed his regret about the JCPOA violations and reducing Iran’s obligations in this respect. He tried to justify that his government did not contradict the agreement. “I am announcing to European countries that we remained in the JCPOA; we didn’t withdraw from the JCPOA; we do not want to destroy the JCPOA. We abide by the JCPOA and the reduction of our obligations is in line with the JCPOA,” Rouhani’s website published his remarks on January 22.
But the reality is the European shareholders of the accord took action in contrast with the ayatollahs’ expectations. For many years, the EU countries were publicizing the appeasement policy toward Iran. They believed that they could change Iranian leaders’ malign behavior by offering uncountable privileges. They turned a blind eye on the vast network of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and its proxies for exporting terrorism, smuggling, assassinating dissidents, etc. However, it seems that this time these countries decided to adopt a firm policy against the ayatollahs’ ambitions. “During the recent days, after taking the fifth step [by Iran] in a reduction of the JCPOA obligations, Europeans intended to activate the dispute mechanism, which shows that they won’t retreat,” the state-run newspaper Arman concluded on January 23.
In such circumstances, a government-linked expert stepped further and reckoned that the government should accept negotiations over Syria from the beginning. He pointed out officials’ claims about the ayatollahs’ meddling in the Middle East, particularly their relentless support for the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in his violent crackdown on protesters. Since 2011, the international community constantly criticized the Iranian government’s involvement in Syrian conflicts by dispatching military advisors, and even elite military forces. In October 2015, one of the IRGC’s Quds Force’s commanders Hossein Hamedani was killed in Syria. Hamedani oversaw the oppressive operations in Syrian provinces like Aleppo.
“You [the supreme leader Ali Khamenei] have accepted specific international observations on a domestic issue [the nuclear program], You even accepted the U.S. observations. You specifically compromised with the U.S. and [inked a deal]. However, when Syria’s issue is raised, you say we don’t discuss Syria. How is it possible? How can I accept international negotiations about my domestic issue, but refuse talks over Syria that is far from us,” Abbas Abdi, an advocate of President Hassan Rouhani, said in an interview with the state-run TV channel Three on January 21.
However, he frankly admitted that the Iranian government’s crises are much more than the nuclear program alone. And it should struggle to preserve its authority in the region, especially after the death of the former IRGC-QF commander, also, to deal with the people’s ceaseless, anti-establishment protests at home.