It’s Iran’s Turn to Use ‘Carrot and Stick’; MarandiZahra Torabi
Now that the US and its allies try to refer Iran’s case to the UN Security Council and oppose lifting sanctions under the JCPOA, it seems that Iran can take the carrot and stick approach which has been used against it for years by those countries.
Talking on the IAEA Board Resolution against Iran and the country’s strategy towards it, Dr. Seyed Mohammad Marandi argued that for the stick part of the approach, Iran had to withdraw from the JCPOA and stop implementing its commitments under the deal, and for the carrot part it should adhere to the deal to some extent.
Q: What are the most significant consequences of the IAEA resolution for Iran?
It does not have a significant consequence for us now as it is merely a statement. However, if the IAEA refers Iran’s case to the UNSC in the coming months, we should wait for the reaction of the Council. China and Russia signaled they would veto the resolution. Even if the JCPOA comes to an end, there will be no newer sanctions imposed on Iran; the UNSC sanctions were limited, so in case of a snapback there will be no new sanctions and it will be practically ineffective as the US has already imposed all those sanctions on Iran.
Q: Is it possible that they refer Iran’s case to the UNSC?
It is not clear yet; but even if the case is referred to the UNSC, it is not clear what will happen next. The point is that whatever happens at the UNSC, it will have no effect on us. The Europeans know that they will be the main losers if this happens, as the IAEA will no longer have access to nuclear sites inside Iran. This is not what the EU would be doing willingly; they are under pressure from the US.
Q: So what will be Iran’s strategy in this regard?
Iran must take the carrot and stick approach and clarify the consequences, making it clear that a UNSC resolution will put an end to the JCPOA. Withdrawing from the deal will be our stick. A second possibility is leaving the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), as stated by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. The carrot part is maintaining the IAEA access to the nuclear sites. If they fulfill their obligations, we will increase the [IAEA] access and our cooperation, getting closer to the JCPOA.
The Iranian administration once said that Europeans are totally different from Americans [when it comes to their commitment to the JCPOA]. Considering the UNSC resolution, how do you see it from your viewpoint?
-If there has ever been such a belief among the Iranian elite in differentiating the EU and the US, it’s been wrong from the beginning. The EU countries want to act differently from the US but they can never do anything out of the framework imposed on them by the US. The EU solidarity with the US is a racial, historical, cultural, and political solidarity and it makes no difference whether Trump is the president or Obama. That is why the EU will never abandon the US; unless there are vital issues like the Russian energy pipes or refusing military expenses, in which the EU insists on its own demands. But when it comes to Iran, they will never resist US demands.
Q: What is your opinion about Iran leaving the NPT?
-If the nuclear deal is manipulated, Iran must definitely withdraw from the JCPOA and must never enter into any negotiations with the west over its nuclear program. We must make them understand that there will be no other nuclear deal and returning to the JCPOA will not be possible. But considering leaving the NPT, the conditions must be measured before saying anything.
Q: Was it legal for Iran to prevent recent IAEA inspections?
Iran’s actions towards the IAEA depend on legal and illegal actions of the west. The IAEA actions towards us have been illegal for the past two decades. The Agency has many commitments towards Iran but fails to meet any of them. The western countries also failed to meet their commitments under the JCPOA. So, you cannot expect Iran to continue to fulfill its obligations while the Agency does not meet its own commitments. Iran pays for its membership in the IAEA annually but does not get any benefit out it. Iran’s tolerance is limited. Here the law has turned into a means of putting pressure on Iran.
Q: What do you think of the arms embargo against Iran?
-Our country has no problem in terms of defense. Today no country dares to attack Iran as the response would be a heavy blow. Iran is not like Iraq, Libya, etc. A war with Iran will result in no victory for the aggressor. So the west must fulfill its obligations towards Iran and the EU must accept the reality. European countries’ uncertainty shows that they were lying, and that they were apparently not committed to the JCPOA from day one.