The United States has been maneuvering and bringing in new accusations and pretexts to hamper the nuclear deal, at the time Iran has been showing confidence as it abides by the text and spirit of the deal. Iran's commitment has been reassured by the different reports of the IAEA after every American accusation of alleged Iranian breach. Perhaps, it is truly "about time for the US to stop spinning and begin complying, just like Iran," as stated by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
The US continues to play with fire in the region, simultaneously continuing its hostile policies and intentions towards Iran as well as harboring terrorism through supporting Wahhabi extremist groups. This has put the US on the track of gradual isolation as other powers rise and grow. Meanwhile, Iran has merely acted within the framework of agreements and specific guidelines under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and declared numerous times that it will not accept any obligation beyond that.
Commenting on the developments of the nuclear deal, the US policies towards the JCPOA and its impact on Iran, the US and its allies, political analyst and Tehran University Professor Seyed Mohammad Marandi assured to al-Ahed news that the Iran is unyielding in face of US pressure, confirming that the biggest loser is the United States itself. The following is an all-inclusive interview with Dr. Marandi, in which al-Ahed follows up on the current status of the n-deal especially in light of the US threats of imposing more sanctions and its attempts to interfere in the defense missile system that is not part of the JCPOA. The leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Ayatollah Imam Ali Khamenei, has warned the United States that Iran won't be bullied over the 2015 nuclear deal that President Donald Trump has threatened to scrap.
Speaking at a speech to Iranian military academy graduates, Imam Khamenei warned that Iran will react strongly to any "wrong move" which threatens to undermine the JCPOA or the "Iran deal" as it is known.
The comments come just days after Trump accused Iran of violating the "spirit" of the pact.
Q: How do you evaluate the situation of the nuclear deal currently as US president Trump continuously puts effort to abrogate the JCPOA while Europeans seem to support the deal?
It is really difficult to say what the situation is because we really do not know what the trump administration is attempting to do. Either they are trying to put pressure on Iran by disregarding the JCPOA and increasing the sanctions on Iran which are a violation of the agreement, such as the visa restrictions as well as the passing into law new sanctions by the House and Senate and the signing of that law by Trump. All these are violations of the text of the JCPOA especially articles 26 to 29. Of course the Americans have also violated the spirit of the agreement constantly by adding new entities to the sanctions' regime through the department of treasury. So either the Americans are trying to push or force Iran to exit the agreement so that they can blame Iran, or it is possible that the US plans to exit the agreement itself, possibly by pushing the IAEA into confrontation with Iran, in other words to say that Iran is not abiding by a side of the agreement and thus pulling out. The Europeans do not want the agreement to collapse, no one does besides for the United States and "Israel", and perhaps Saudi Arabia. But the Europeans are not really that capable of taking an independent stance from the US. Meanwhile, the Russians and the Chinese are obviously very much opposed to this and if the US, for any reason, tries to pull out or tries to wreck the agreement, I think this would hurt the US more than Iran and to a degree isolate the US. The Iranians have been abiding by the agreement and will continue to do so despite American violations, first of all because they have signed the agreement and second of all because they want to show the community that the US is the one breaching the agreement and therefore, if the agreement falls then it is the fault of the US.
Q: A few days ago, Iran rejected US calls for UN nuclear watchdog inspections to Iran's military sites. Inspecting military sites is not part of the deal, but anyways does such rejection mean that is Iran trying to hide something like the West claims?
Iran is not hiding anything. In fact the IAEA has been very satisfied with Iran on the implementation of the agreement. Since the signing of the JCPOA, the IAEA has announced on multiple occasions that Iran has fully abided by its side of the bargain, unlike what the Americans have done. In fact, the Iranians have gone further than required in some instances. The US is trying to force a confrontation between Iran and the IAEA because the Americans are powerful and have a very influential role, just as they did before the agreement. Before the agreement, Iran allowed for intrusive inspections in the country, the problems in the past between Iran and the IAEA were on the verge of being resolved, but the Americans always found a way to prevent a conclusion; a successful resolution to the problem in the past. We still see today that the US is trying to put pressure on the organization to prevent a successful conclusion. If we go back to the time of Mr. Al Baradiei, we see that the Iranians [when Dr. Larijani was head of the Supreme National Security Council], the two sides made significant efforts and they were successful in finding a solution. The IAEA put forward six key questions and the Iranians gave satisfactory answers but the Americans and their allies wanted to use the issue to put pressure on Iran, not because of the nuclear issue but in general they wanted to use it as a tool to put pressure on Iran just as they use human rights, terrorism or other labels, issues, and topics as excuses to put pressure on Iran. Whereas when it comes to terrorism, we know that the US and its allies have destroyed much of this region and when it comes to human rights again, the US and its allies have committed more crimes than one can count. Yet, these issues are used to put pressure on Iran and the same is the case with the nuclear program, but again Iran will do its utmost to continue with fruitful cooperation with the IAEA. Today, the ball is in the American court; we will have to wait and see what they are going to do in the coming weeks and months.
Q: Also, Iran continues its ballistic missiles program despite the US threats and new sanctions under the pretext that Iran has been breaching the "spirit" of the agreement. What is your say on that?
Iran's missile defense program has nothing to do with the JCPOA. The agreement between Iran and the P5 +1 is simply about the nuclear program. Even the UN Security Council Resolution calls on Iran not to develop a missile that is specifically designed for nuclear warhead, which Iran has not done and has never created a missile that is specifically designed for nuclear warhead. Iran's peaceful nuclear program is carried out under the supervision of the IAEA and they have declared repeatedly that it is peaceful, and Iran's missile defense capabilities are all conventional. When the West, especially the United States and its allies try to include the ballistic missile program in general and use it as an excuse to create sanctions, that is just like it is the same when it uses human rights or terrorism or anything else to put pressure on Iran. It is simply a tool; otherwise they have never provided evidence whatsoever that Iran has been breaching the agreement at any level whether the letter of the agreement or the spirit of the agreement. There is absolutely no relationship whatsoever between the nuclear deal and Iran's missile program.
Q: In your opinion, attempts like the road map devised by John Bolton, former US ambassador to the UN, which he presented to Trump to abrogate the deal harm Tehran or the US more and why?
I think on the whole, the current administration of Washington is confused and has a very confused foreign policy. Trump himself has antagonized many countries, and the US House of Representatives, the Congress and the Senate in order to tie the hands of the US president have imposed sanctions on Russia. So the only area where Trump seems to be taking steps to improve this relationship with other countries was with Russia, which has been stopped. And with regards to other countries, Trump has hurt American relations. So this has been in general good for Iran. The US has isolated itself for a host of different reasons internationally. And of course, the divisions inside the US exist as well and have increased a great deal. So it will be very difficult for the US in any case to build a coalition against Iran taking all these things into consideration. I think that if the US choses the path proposed by John Bolton or people like him I think it will hurt the US even more, because we already see a negative reaction across the globe towards Trump's policy towards Iran and the nuclear deal. If the US pushes forward with these policies, I think we will see more hostility and more resistance to US policies. So on the whole, although any move towards a greater confrontation by the United States will definitely not be good for Iran, or will not make people in Iran happy but I think it will harm the US more than it will harm Iran. In addition to that, I think that people like Bolton and people like Trump himself, by pursuing explicitly such hostile policies towards Iran, they basically unite the Iranian people even more and therefore this has an adverse effect. We can say that Obama was more successful definitely in creating a collation against Iran internationally and he also tried to divide Iranian public opinion. Of course later on when the nuclear deal was signed, I think people became much more skeptical about Obama because he too like Trump began to violate the agreement by passing the Iran sanctions act and by passing many of these restrictions, and also adding new entities to the sanctions regime imposed by the treasury department. The attitude of Obama showed the Iranians that the United States is not trustworthy. Trump took this much further, and I think that has united the Iranian people a lot more at the time people like Bolton hurt the United States more than anyone else.
Q: If the US finally decides to rip off the deal, what effect would it have on Tehran and does Tehran fear that? And will Iran resume its nuclear activity once again?
I don't think it will create any real fear in Iran because the US is becoming less important relatively speaking as time goes by. Also, we see other powers on the rise, such as Russia and China who are moving closer to Iran and the EU is moving slowly away from the US even though it would be mistake to underestimate the US and its influence. However, relatively speaking, the US is less important and less influential and less able to determine events than it used to be as time goes by. So Iran has partners today that it did not have before, it is also used to the sanctions, it has been living with sanctions for years. So the impact of US actions today would be much less important that it were before although they would definitely have a negative effect. Without a doubt, the Iranians will resume their nuclear activities, those elements of the peaceful nuclear program that have been halted or slowed down, and they will push ahead at full speed to catch up in those different areas.
Therefore, obviously, anyone who wrecks the agreement in the United States will not be only isolating the US in many ways, but also Iran will have every right to pursue its peaceful nuclear program and the US will be blamed by its allies and the Europeans for the whole new scenario.
I do not think anyone in Iran fears any sort of military conflict, because again the US is facing multiple crises across the board, with economic problems and divisions at home and problems with Russia, China and the EU, and its crisis in Korea, and of course Iran is much more powerful today and has many allies that go from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean all the way to the Himalayas.
Iran's influence and military capabilities are far more technologically advanced and therefore Iran's missile defense capabilities could become a major threat to the US military in the region. The US is much more vulnerable in the region than ever, and the price the US will pay for any conflict in the region will be much higher than before. So I do not think that anyone would take American threats seriously.
Q: Has there been any direct domestic economic impact after the JCPOA was sealed? What about the international level?
There has been some economic impact not as much as people had hoped. The reason is that the US has been [almost from the very beginning] violating the agreement under Obama and Trump, and that is why the benefits the Iranians were expecting have not materialized. For example, the Iranians are still prevented from having a normal banking system and being able to transfer cash in and out of the country through the banking system. That is a problem that still exists but Iran has been able to export more oil, Iran has become more stable than before in different sectors. However, I think that there have been a couple of positive results from the deal. Of course, one of the negative results was that Iran's peaceful nuclear program has been hampered. But I think that there are a couple of positive points one of which is that it will be more difficult for the United States in the future to hold accusations against Iran, because in the past the US was constantly claiming that Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon, of course these were dishonest accusations, the IAEA has never provided any evidence that Iran's nuclear program has been anything but peaceful. Iran has had many inspections both, before and after the deal. But now, with this deal, it is more difficult for the US to maintain such a dishonest narrative. Also, I think that because of the inability of the US to level their mount of accusations towards Iran as they would like, this has sort of allowed the international community to focus more on the extremism such as Wahhabism that the US, Saudi Arabia, "Israel" and other regional countries have been allowing to grow in order to further their strategic interests. So, a lot of the harm that has been brought about through extremism in this region, this is now the focus of attention, whereas before the nuclear deal, much of the global media had constantly focusing on US allegations against Iran which were never consistent with truth. But the mainstream western media functions. But now with what is going on and with the refugees going to Europe and with the terrorist attacks being carried out in Europe, the fact that this deal has been allowed more focus to be put on extremism that has been harbored by the US and its allies.
Source: Al-Ahed News