Salehi’s comments came the day before U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley met with International Atomic Energy Agency officials in Vienna to discuss Iran’s nuclear program.
Attempts to dismiss Saleh’s comments as a bluff, neglect to take into account Iran’s history of secrecy in regards to their nuclear program, and according to journalist and Iranian human rights activist, Amir Basiri, in his article for the Washington Examiner, the nature of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), itself.
He writes, “In 2015, the international community missed an exceptional opportunity to solve Iran’s nuclear threat in a lasting manner.” He believes that the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany (P5 + 1) gave too many concessions to the Iran in order to achieve the JCPOA, in that it legitimized Iran’s uranium enrichment program, and only managed to extend its breakout time (the duration it would take for Tehran to produce a nuclear bomb) for a limited timeframe.
However, in an interview with NPR at the time, President Barack Obama said that by the time the accord expires, Iran’s nuclear breakout time will have been significantly reduced, and expressed his belief that Iran’s behavior would become more moderate before the nuclear deal had run its course. He said, “I think that it’s important for us to recognize that, if in fact they’re engaged in international business, and there are foreign investors, and their economy becomes more integrated with the world economy, then in many ways it makes it harder for them to engage in behaviors that are contrary to international norms.”
To this end, Obama gave Iran economic concessions and facilitated foreign investment in the country. In this manner, European counterparts would have a stake in preserving the deal.
“Two years later, Tehran’s expansionist ambitions in the region and its human rights abuses at home have grown worse. Moreover, the Iranian regime is exploiting the ambiguous text of the JCPOA to engage in provocative activities such as testing ballistic missiles,” Basiri writes.
Presently, European states have made billions of dollars‘ worth of deals, preliminary agreements, and letters of intent with Iranian businesses, making them skeptical of taking action to revisit the many flaws of the deal. Meanwhile, time is running out, as the Middle East continues to sink into deeper disarray, and the Iranian regime continues to move toward becoming a nuclear-armed state.
The U.S is in the process of reviewing its standing toward the JCPOA and its general policy toward Iran, addressing the gaps in the nuclear deal and Tehran’s destabilizing activities in the region. An option they should consider is the endorsement of democratic regime change in Iran.
Although proponents of rapprochement with Iran believe that replacing the Iranian regime will need and all-out military confrontation, this isn’t the case. The potential for change in the Iranian population is already brewing. The Iranian people categorically reject the regime’s nuclear ambitions and its expansionist agendas in the region. By supporting the Iranian people’s desire for freedom and democracy, a permanent solution to the problem of Iran will be found.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, recently said, “Iran must be free. The dictatorship must be destroyed. Containment is appeasement and appeasement is surrender. The only practical goal is to support a movement to free Iran. Any other goal will leave a dictatorship finding ways to get around any agreement and to lie about everything.”