Editorial: A Way out of the JCPOA Crisis
One of the most important international issues in recent weeks is the pending decision by the US President on whether to remain or withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal known as the JCPOA. During their visits to the White House, France’s President and Germany’s Chancellor pressed President Trump not to withdraw as he has hinted he would do.
In the run up to the May 12 deadline for President Trump to make his decision, the fate of the Iran deal continues to dominate the agenda. However, there is a way out of this crisis. But it depends on whether Western leaders are prepared to consider it or if they would rather continue to ignore the facts like in the past and disregard potential solutions?
There are two opposing views. Both sides say they seek security and the most effective way to prevent the Iranian regime from obtaining nuclear weapons.
The Europeans claim that, despite its flaws, the JCPOA has to date halted the regime’s nuclear program and a degree of international monitoring is in place. They believe that there is no other viable option. If this is indeed Europe’s position, one could say that there is general consensus that there are many flaws in the JCPOA and if there are any other viable alternatives to prevent the regime from acquiring nuclear weapons they must certainly be pursued. To this end, President Macron went as far as suggesting a new proposal to remove the expiration dates of key provisions of the JCPOA and add to it plans to counter the regime’s missile program and destructive meddling in other countries. The prevailing truth is the fact that so far the regime has shown no sign of intent to abandon its destructive policies on these issues.
On the other hand, critics of the JCPOA underline two points: Firstly, their emphasis is on the deal’s flaws which even the Europeans acknowledge. Secondly, they point to the regime’s worrisome behaviour in the period after the JCPOA took effect in areas such as its missile program and increased meddling in the region, which, interestingly, is also acknowledged by the Europeans. But, to overcome these common concerns they end up with a different conclusion; one that rejects the JCPOA. They reason that, given that the regime cannot be trusted, the JCPOA with these flaws would not prevent the regime from obtaining a nuclear bomb. In view of the North Korean experience in 1990s this is not too farfetched an argument. This is especially true in light of the fact that the Iranian regime’s initial goal for starting a nuclear program was to build a bomb and that all indications were that contrary to Hassan Rouhani’s claim at the time when he headed Tehran’s nuclear negotiating team, they were not stopped in 2003. Rouhani admitted later in his memoires that he had deceived the West when he was the chief negotiator.
Following the adoption of the JCPOA, the Iranian Resistance announced that as far as the Iranian regime was concerned, its decision to accept the terms of the deal were tantamount to a retreat, imposed on it. The regime wanted the bomb as soon as possible without any hitch but the growing pressures of sanctions and fear of a possible uprising forced the regime to give in.
At the time, Mrs Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, said, “Circumventing the six UN Security Council resolutions and coming up with an unsigned agreement that is not internationally bounding as a treaty would neither block the mullahs' path to deception nor their access to the nuclear bomb.”
“Had the P5+1 been more decisive, the Iranian regime would have had no way but to fully retreat and permanently give up its efforts to acquire the nuclear bomb. Specifically, it would have halted all uranium enrichment and shut down its bomb-making projects.”
“The P5+1 should now insist on evicting the regime from the Middle East and prevent its interferences in the region. This is a fundamental principle that needs to be included in any agreement, otherwise any country in this tumultuous region would have the right to demand all the concessions given to the clerical regime. This would only result in further catastrophic escalation of the nuclear arms race in this part of the world.”
“Another important point is the United Nations' strict monitoring of the cash poured into the regime's pockets so that they would be spent on the Iranian people's urgent needs, especially to pay for the unpaid meager salaries of workers, teachers and nurses and provision of food and medicine for the population. Otherwise, Khamenei, within the framework of the policy of export of terrorism and fundamentalism, would continue sending the money to Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon and before all, fill the pockets of the IRGC (the Iranian Regime’s Revolutionary Guards Corps) forces.”
Mrs. Rajavi further stressed, “Indeed, any agreement that does not observe and consider the Iranian people's human rights would only embolden the regime in its relentless suppression and executions and trample the nation's rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Charter.”
The righteousness of the Iranian Resistance’s position has now been proven after almost three years. The mullahs’ nuclear program must be abolished in its entirety. This should have been done many years ago.
After three years, the regime’s behavior has gotten worse in all areas. This is reflected before anything in the suppression of the Iranian people. The Western governments’ silence regarding the widespread protests in Iran is shameful. At least 15 of those detained during the protests which began at the turn of the year have been tortured to death but the West continues to remain silent. This can only be explained within the context of greed for some trade contracts.
All advocates of the policy of appeasing the regime are responsible for the current crisis and its consequences, whatever the outcome may be. Those who were competing against one another for more share of contracts with the regime, indeed with the IRGC, while closing their eyes to the suppression of the Iranian people and the regime’s destructive policies in the region, must be held to account for their role in the present crisis.
It is now time to pay heed to the Iranian people’s demands. The people have shown in their protests that they want the regime to go. The international community must stand by the Iranian people and their Resistance. It is now time to put talk aside and take action. The benchmarks are clear.
Mrs. Rajavi in a message to the convention of Iranian-Americans in Washington on May 5 said, “The experience of the past three years has confirmed that the mullahs took advantage of the concessions in the JCPOA to suppress the people of Iran and massacre the people of Syria. As such, we emphatically demand that Western countries adopt a policy that would eliminate the entire infrastructure of the regime’s nuclear program and, through unconditional inspections, prevent, once and for all, the regime from engaging in any nuclear-related activity, testing or research, including enrichment. Dismantling the regime’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, expelling the Revolutionary Guards from other countries in the region, and compelling the regime to stop torture and execution should be addressed in a holistic approach. Western countries must not ignore any of these aspects.”
In order to secure the achievement of all these demands, the most stringent financial sanctions must be adopted immediately and the regime’s ties with international systems must be cut off. The regime is far too weak to stand against the will of the international community. Regrettably though, so far, it has not seen the necessary resolve on the part of the international community.