It is now increasingly clear that Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei ‘s threat of enriching uranium to 60 percent or not to negotiate with world powers on his nuclear project until sanctions are fully lifted is not from a position of strength, but from a point of weakness and to cover up that weakness. An objective example of this claim can be seen in the case of the parliament’s decision to repeal the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty’s Additional Protocol and set a deadline for it in public and in secret its agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

‘Time is not in our favor’!

The reason for this decision is also clear. On the one hand, Khamenei was caught in a self-imposed deadline and could not cancel it; because all the investment in this kind of bluff would be wasted, on the other hand, if he did not agree to negotiate with the IAEA and did not accept an intermediate solution, the window of negotiation around the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), would be closed. The closure of the JCPOA case would lead to the activation of the trigger mechanism and the return of UN sanctions.

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This embarrassment of Khamenei and the whole regime can also be seen in the letter of Iran’s Minister of Roads and Urban Development, Abbas Akhundi.

“Of course, time is not in our favor and something must be done. The longer this time is, the more our national interests will be jeopardized. Undoubtedly, confronting Biden’s America is tougher than Trump’s America, and he will use all of Trump’s achievements … Now that Parliament is in the hands of the government, all current and historical responsibility for the subsequent failures resulting from this inaction will rest with Parliament.” (Setareh-e-Sobh, February 23)

Khamenei behind the agreement with the agency

Despite the commotion among the regime’s MPs and their approval of the high priority bill to cancel the agreement with IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi, the data show that Khamenei was behind this agreement and this retreat was done with his knowledge and consent. One proof of this is the position of his appointee in the Kayhan daily. This time it was fundamentally different from the positions of the parliament.

Kayhan’s editor Hossein Shariatmadari, while acknowledging that the parliament’s decision to suspend the implementation of the Additional Protocol was Khamenei’s decision, told the MPs that there was no need for so much fuss in the parliament about the agreement with Rafael Grossi. Because this agreement was done behind the scenes with the intervention and opinion of the Supreme Security Council [Here Khamenei’s nickname].

As he said: “Sorry dear MPs, this volume of protest was not needed.”

“There is a friendly grumble about the protesting representatives! And that the agreement, although signed by the head of the Atomic Energy Organization, should be known that such an important issue cannot be prepared without the intervention and opinion of the Supreme National Security Council.” (Kayhan, February 23)

Then we see the same position in one of the media the regime’s President Hassan Rouhani.

“The nuclear issue is managed in a very multifaceted way, and the various branches cannot decide on it arbitrarily. The nuclear issue is directly related to national security, and all decisions made in this council are approved by the highest pillar of the country.” (State-run daily Arman, February 23)

Khamenei’s shortcut to a quick agreement with the IAEA showed that his words about not negotiating until the complete lifting of sanctions should not and cannot be taken seriously. In addition, he proved that he avoids even his own parliament in the most urgent matters and does not take them seriously. Because the first and last priority for him is to maintain the regime, that is, which is his illegitimate rule.