Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has spoken minutes after Donald Trump’s decision to unilaterally withdraw from the JPCOA (aka Iran nuclear deal). Rouhani stated that it may be possible to preserve the JCPOA if forthcoming meetings with the foreign ministers of Europe, Russia and China are successful in preserving the deal in a way that is mutually beneficial.
This statement is a departure from earlier remarks from Iranian officials who said that if the US withdrew from the agreement, the JCPOA would effectively be null and void. Now the Iranian President has said that a JCPOA “minus the United States” is both desirable for Iran and could be workable. After criticising America’s history of hypocritical meddling in the Middle East Rouhani saved the remainder of his remarks for the EU as a whole, France, Germany, Britain and the superpowers China and Russia, saying that “we will not allow Donald Trump exert pressure on the Iranian people”. Rouhani further said that the Iranian people will not fall victim to conspiracies.
However, Rouhani did warn that if negotiations with China, Russia and the EU fail, he will inform the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran will begin to enrich uranium. However, he then reaffirmed that so long as Iranian security and economic interests are met in negotiations with other JCPOA partners that it will not be a problem to remain within the framework of the JCPOA.
Ending on an optimistic tone, Rouhani said that a JCPOA without the United States might actually function better as the only “trouble maker” that was party to the deal has now exited. It now remains for China, Russia and the EU to re-energise the deal and receive guarantees that such a development will not result in US sanctions on remaining parties to the JCPOA.
At such a point it is a matter of the US either accepting its isolation of the United States on a major global issue or using sanctions based blackmail in order to undermine the rest of the world who with the exception of the “Israeli” regime, seeks to preserve and JCPOA.
Within this framework there exists a golden opportunity for the EU, Russia and China in particular to seize upon the momentum of a US free JCPOA to pour more investment into Iran as a means of building not only further trust with Tehran but laying the foundations of a medium and long term “win-win” relationship with Iran in the name of peace through prosperity.
From Russia’s perspective, such a deal could be contingent on further Iranian cooperation regarding Russia’s desire to wrap up the military phase of the conflict in Syria in exchange for enhanced economic cooperation in the Iranian domestic energy and other commercial sectors.
When it comes to Europe, the forthcoming days and weeks will be an opportunity to demonstrate their real life commitment to a deal they have thus far praised only in theory as the western burden of propping up the deal did not fall on European shoulders until now. Now, Europe will need to form a pro-JCPOA, anti-third party sanctions united front with Russia and China, two eastern superpowers that European foreign ministers often misunderstand and wrongly distrust. This atmosphere must now change of the EU is to deliver on its commitment to the JCPOA in spite of US protestations.