The positions of Iranian officials on the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), are contradictory.
“We have no urgency for the United States to return to the JCPOA. It is not our matter whether the US returns to the JCPOA or not. What our rational demand is, is the lifting of sanctions,” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei stated. (Khamenei.ir, January 8, 2021)
Following Khamenei, key elements of his faction like Ali Akbar Valayati and Saeed Jalili, referred to his comments about the JCPOA and the negotiations that the regime is not in hurry for the US to return to the JCPOA.
Valayati said: “We are not in hurry for a US return. But if it wants return, it has conditions, which the most important is the that it removes the sanctions.” (Khamenei.ir, January 12, 2021)
Instead, the regime’s president Hassan Rouhani and his faction are counting daily for the return of the US to the JCPOA. Attacking the interference of the rival faction, Rouhani said: “Delay in lifting the sanctions is betrayal. If any faction, individual or group delays the end of sanctions for an hour for any reason, it is treason. Of course, today the reason for this is only the 2021 elections. For whatever reason, anyone who wants to delay the end of the sanctions is a great betrayal of the history of the Iranian nation, and this eternal disgrace will remain for that faction and individual.” (president.ir, March 17, 2021)
Then days after the beginning of the Persian calendar’s new year Rouhani pleaded with the US and said: “If they lift the sanctions, it will become clear to us that this is the right thing to do. We will return to all our obligations.” (State TV, news channel, March 24, 2021)
Sad about the US decisions and the lost hope for the appeasement policy the state-run TV channel One on March 23 said: “Biden had asked Trump to reduce sanctions because of the coronavirus outbreak, but two months after he took the White House, he has taken no action.”
And about the US’s return to the JCPOA a government expert in an interview with the news channel said: “I do not see the future perspective to compensate for the mistakes. It has been about two months and a week that Mr. Biden has been following in Mr. Trump’s footsteps.” (state TV News Channel, March 24, 2021)
Fearing the continue of the sanctions and its consequences Ali Motahari warned: “We should not obstruct the lifting of sanctions and the revival of the JCPOA, we should not create hardship for the people in the name of revolution.” (State-run daily Aftab, March 23, 2021)
There are many other sources and people who have the same concern about the regime’s situation and its future especially in the field of the JCPOA and negotiations.
State-run daily Aftab on March 27, 2021 wrote: “The window of opportunity for the revival of US-Iranian diplomacy will close soon.”
The Arman daily on the same day saw the “negotiations” as the “last hope” and “last solution”, and said that, “Iran must bring the issue of JCPOA to a logical conclusion” because, “the fact that events have taken place in the country in recent years is widening the gap between the people and the government, and this gap is deepening day by day” and, “another point is that the conditions of possible future negotiations have changed since the JCPOA in 2015, and these changes require new measures. In the current situation, the situation of Iran’s influence has changed compared to the past in areas such as Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, and the situation is not the same as in the past.”
And Sadegh Zibakalam, one of the regime’s insiders, in an interview with the RFI radio on March 24, 2021 said: “What will pull the country out of the quagmire will be the 2021 JCPOA of the government with the United States. Of course, they will say in the advertisements that this 2021 JCPOA, this heroic flexibility of 2021 is not like the JCPOA of 2015 in any way.”
What these contradictions in the comments of the regime’s elements and state media show as a conclusion is the deadlock of the regime, having no way out of its crisis even if the US returns to the JCPOA.