Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei who was for a time silent about the negotiations over the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or the 2015 nuclear deal, broke his silence and said points about the negotiations that experts see as a sign of his despair and frustration with the negotiations.
But why, while he said that the suggestions in the negotiations of the world powers are humiliating and he cannot tolerate any erosive negotiations, is begging for this too?
The answer should be searched in the stagnation of his regime and his fear of an uprising by the starving population. It is worth to mention the speeches of the officials about this deadlock to see its real dimension.
As Khamenei said with frustration and despair: “It is not that the United States wants to negotiate until it accepts a right word. No, it wants to negotiate in order to impose a false word. The offers they make are often arrogant and humiliating offers that cannot even be looked at.” (State TV Channel One, April 14, 2021)
Then this frustration effected the other officials too. Mohamad Vaezi, Chief of Staff to the regime’s president Hassan Rouhani, about these humiliating negotiations said: “The new US administration had announced that the maximum pressure of the Trump administration had failed, and it did not accept that policy. In practice, maintaining the sanctions means that it is following the same path.” (State-run website Iran Press, April 14, 2021)
One of the elements of Khamenei factions explained the US’s goals as pulling the regime step by step to the “successive agreements to contain and limit Iran’s power altogether.”
This government affiliate added: “They want stronger agreement. That means that they want these stronger agreements, to take more concessions in non-nuclear areas.” (State TV Channel Two, April 14, 2021)
Abbas Araghchi, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the regime, depressed and angry about the Europeans positions said: “The Natanz incident is not something that can be easily overlooked. We expect the opposing countries in the JCPOA to condemn this incident, not only did they not do it right, but they also even added items to their list around sanctions.” (State TV News Channel, April 15, 2021)
Rouhani completed this current of frustration hold his begging bowl toward the US government and said: “The Americans should live up to their commitments and lift the embargo.” (State TV News Channel, April 15, 2021)
Meanwhile, state media fear the hungry and furious population.
The Jahan-e-Sanat daily fearing a social explosion wrote: “In these deplorable economic conditions, and in order to be safe from the consequences of the periodic and, of course, fungal protests, as well as from the consequences of the country’s starving uprising, a heroic softness is desperately needed.” (State-run daily Jahan-e-Sanat, April 15, 2021)
In the lexicon of the Iranian leadership this ‘heroic softness’ means taking another poison chalice and accepting the demands of the world powers.
Because the United States intends, to impose “the same previous maximalist demands with new deception”, and “how does a Europe that itself has imposed sanctions on eight individuals and institutions at the same time as the negotiations, want and can mediate the lifting of US sanctions.” (Kayhan, April 18, 2021)
Another concern of Khamenei’s faction is that even if the regime accepts those demands, it is still subject to sanctions, because the US government cannot lift all sanctions, especially those imposed by Congress. While the US the other parties of the JCPOA negotiations are not accepting the same conditions of the 2015 JCPOA. And are searching for a new one to put the regime’s missile arsenal and middle east activities in that agreement.
The state-run website Siasat Rooz on April 18 wrote: “The Biden administration says it is seeking a ‘longer and stronger’ deal than the 2015 nuclear deal, which would include fundamental changes in Iran’s support for militants in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen and a limit on the number and range of Iranian missiles.
“Iran and the United States are in dispute over which sanctions should be lifted. Iran wants to return to the time before [Donald] Trump entered the White House. The United States is reluctant to lift all the Trump-era sanctions, in part because the Trump administration has deliberately linked many of the sanctions to the fight against terrorism, which are difficult to lift.”
Kayhan on April 19 wrote: “The goal of the United States and Europe is to turn the negotiations over the JCPOA into an erosive one. And in the first stage, ‘without lifting sanctions’, to return to the JCPOA, and in the next stage, it will impose its maximalist demands to make Iran’s nuclear restrictions permanent and to attach our missile capability and regional power to the JCPOA text.”
And Siasat-e-Rooz on April 19 wrote: “The Vienna talks are a waste of time, given that they are irrelevant because of the existence of the JCPOA, and given that the Supreme Leader of the Revolution has also warned the Vienna talks becomes erosional, now the Vienna meetings are now on that path.
“Accepting the continuation of negotiations by Iran, while knowing that the United States and Europe have no incentive to lift sanctions, is not the right strategy to revive the JCPOA. The lifting of economic sanctions on Iran has now become a dream that some still dream of.”