When the Iranian nuclear agreement was reached in 2015 and the Iranians headed to the streets to celebrate, there was a hope, a hope that many believed was real, that the deal would be a sign of ‘trustworthiness' towards the US, which has been non-existing between Iran and the United States for decades.
Almost two years after the deal was sealed, US president Donald Trump who has been threatening to rip off the deal and decertify it is expected to make a stance on the matter on Friday the 13th of October 2017. This happens at a time when many members of the US Congress and European countries do not share the same view and sentiments with Trump on the matter.
Simultaneously with the news circulating on Trump's threats, a new 52-page investigative report by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), entitled: "Iran's Nuclear Core: Uninspected Military Sites," obtained exclusively by Fox News and released on Wednesday, claims forcefully that Iran's nuclear weapons program has far from halted.
Since the JCPOA or what Iranians call "BARJAM" (an acronym that stands for the JCPOA in Farsi, transliteration: barn?me j?me' eqd?m moshtarak) was declared in 2015, it has been the talk of the town among Iranians with the constant discussion of whether the US will keep its word this time or whether like all previous experiences, it will maneuver and find a pretext to end any sort of cooperation with the Islamic Republic.
Young and old, taxi drivers, laborers, academics and students are all involved in the story, which seems to be a national issue bringing the Iranians together.
To see what the mood is like on the street, I stopped to interview different people on the streets of Tehran, Universities and public facilities. At one of the largest and most famous parks in Tehran, Mellat park were a few men sitting together, having their Kebabs for lunch.
One of them, an employee at a private company who was caught by my ‘foreign looks' gave a quick answer as soon as I asked them what they thought would happen if Trump rips off the deal.
"Nothing will change to be honest, or maybe things will change and become tougher in terms of economics but we will find our way out as always. Iran has been living with sanctions and difficulties for decades and that did not break the people or the government. Maybe things could have improved and Iran would have been able to open up more to the outside world, but we already have our trade and our ways out. You know, I really think this Trump is the dumbest US president even though we thought otherwise when he was first elected," said Ramin.
His friend Mazdak, who is a part-time employee and is writing his PHD thesis in industrial engineering, also thought that things cannot go very bad. "Iran has been able to create a system of its own, self-sufficiency, and relations too. I always wanted to go to the US, I always thought it was a perfect place to live in but the older I grew and the more I saw of US policies, wars, lies and games, the more I understood that it is not the dream or any rational person might want. Iran is a unique country and does not accept values imposed by the US, and even if the US decides to impose more sanctions we will still find our ways to connect to the outside world."
Standing at the bus station on Vali-Asr street stood a few people waiting for the BRT to arrive. One interesting thing about most Iranians I have met is that they are really open to discussions with foreigners. I brought up the topic and asked what they thought and the answers varied, but all had a common ground between them: Iran will lose nothing; the US is the one who will lose eventually.
Other people had a more detailed answer, and more precise in terms of foreign relations.
Setareh, a university student, for her part said "I think if Trump decides to withdraw, which I find unlikely- as he may decertify and leave the decision to the congress, the US's global image will face another blow and it will be more difficult for other nations to trust the US when it comes to international trades and contracts. This is while Iran has proved to the world it is committed to the deal and will never be the first to breach any international agreement. But once it is breached by the other side, then Iran has every right to begin considering other options including restarting the nuclear program. SO it's a win-win situation for Iran whether or not the US withdraws."
Atefeh, originally from Esfahan but has been residing in Tehran for long years to pursue her studies thought that "For sure it will have consequences, but it seems that internationally forming a coalition against Iran has become so hard, and that many countries won't follow the US lead."
More and more answers asserted that the Iranians are not afraid, or at least believe they should not be fearful. "I think we should not be afraid even if all the suspended sanctions are reinstated. We have been under sanctions since the Islamic Revolution," said another young lady, Marzieh.
Sitting outside on campus of Tehran University, she went on to say "In addition, I think the Europeans will not comply with US policies and put the US under pressure because of their business interest in Iran. The United States during the Obama administration actively pursued the implementation of sanctions and punished the violators harshly.
She further added "However, I think if the deal fails totally and all the parties withdraw from the deal, the consequences for Iran will be severe and will lead to much more political and economic isolation of Iran. I think we have to wait and see first what US Congress does and second what the Europeans, China and Russia will do."
For others, the record of US-Iran relation is clear. Politically speaking, Many Iranians think that they are used to American disloyalty in different ways and under different circumstances.
Elaheh, a young lady from the suburbs who has been living in Tehran for the past 10 years said "Trump's withdrawal makes no difference from a political point of view. In addition, it is clear that in spite of their apparent resistance, Europeans will follow US path at the end of the day and will isolate Iran based on their European strategies."
Elaheh, a PHD student in economics explained further, "Despite the JCPOA, economic sanctions were not lifted and US continued its previous strategies against Iran. In consequence, the economic situation of Islamic Republic of Iran, except for some improvements in its relations with Europe, remained the same. Therefore, the economic result of Trump's withdrawal from Jcpoa is worsening economic situation of Iran. I confess that the economic result is frightening, because economic hardship is not limited to money and market and permeates through different layers of society."
But she reassured again that Iran will find its ways of doing things, just like it has been doing so for more than three decades while under sanctions.
Talking to the Iranian street about the impacts of Trump's decision and the US policy towards Iran, on both the national and international levels, opens different debates on the matter. All we are left with currently is to see whether Trump will decide to ‘isolate' the US by his decision, as EU foreign policy chief Frederica Mogherini expressed saying that "The US will be sending a message to the international community that the US is not trustworthy when it comes to deal making."
Source: Al-Ahed, Iran