Iran Deal 2.0?

Iran Deal 2.0?
The US is looking to negotiate a treaty with Iran to regulate its ballistic missile and nuclear program. United States and Iran do not have any formal diplomatic relations or ties. The two nations share an acrimonious relationship. In 1953, the CIA played a key role in orchestrating a coup against Iran's democratically..

The US is looking to negotiate a treaty with Iran to regulate its ballistic missile and nuclear program.

Background

The United States and Iran do not have any formal diplomatic relations or ties. The two nations share an acrimonious relationship. In 1953, the CIA played a key role in orchestrating a coup against Iran's democratically elected Prime Minister, Mohammad Mossadeq. Between 1979 and 1981, a group of Iranian students belonging to the Muslim Student Followers of the Imam's Line took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. The 44 hostages were released after 444 days. In 2002, US President, George W. Bush, described Iran as being part of the “axis of evil.”

On 2 April 2015, the P5+1 and Iran reached a provisional agreement that sought to lift most of the sanctions in exchange for limits on Iran's nuclear programs extending for at least ten years. When the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) certified that Iran had restricted its sensitive nuclear activities, the UN sanctions were lifted on January 16, 2016.

In May 2018, US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and re-imposed economic sanctions on Tehran. President Trump has been openly critical about the Iran deal and has sought to dissuade other members of the JCPOA to withdraw as well. A fresh set of US sanctions are estimated to come into effect in November 2018.

Read more of our extensive analysis of the Iran Nuclear Deal here.

Analysis

Months after unilaterally tearing up the internationally recognized Iran deal, the US is looking to cut a “new treaty” with the Islamic Republic. The US is looking to negotiate a treaty with Iran to regulate its ballistic missile and nuclear programs, US special envoy for Iran Brian Hook said. 

Hook admitted, however, that Iranian leaders, for some inexplicable reason, did not seem interested in talking with the US – even though President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo generously expressed their willingness to negotiate with Tehran. In order to convince Tehran to talk, Hook threatened it with “stronger measures” than the crippling sanctions already imposed currently by the US.

US-Iran relations soured rapidly this year, after Trump withdrew the US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or the Iran deal, in May, to the loud applause from Israel and criticism from US allies in Europe. The JCPOA was signed by the US, Iran, China, France, Russia, UK and Germany, and granted Tehran some sanctions relief in exchange for a halt to its nuclear program. Trump, however, returned to a hardline anti-Tehran policy and has been pressuring allies into abiding by its unilaterally reintroduced sanctions, targeting oil-rich Iran’s energy sector.

Meanwhile, the US State Department announced the creation of the Iran Action Group, an effort to support opposition groups in Iran.  National security adviser John Bolton denied that the US is seeking regime change, but promised America would do “other things” to force “massive change in the regime’s behavior.”

In light of Washington’s apparent untrustworthiness, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that he will not meet with US officials at the upcoming UN meeting, called Trump a “warmonger” and said that “the Americans lack honesty.” Zarif’s statement is representative of much of Tehran’s communication of late. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said last month that Iran will not negotiate with Washington while being sanctioned at the same time, describing such tactics as “psychological warfare [against] the Iranian nation,” adding that “Trump’s call for direct talks is only for domestic consumption in America ... and to create chaos in Iran.”

The North Korea example is a relevant one since, while strides have been made towards peace on the Korean peninsula, both Trump and Kim Jong-un were threatening each other with nuclear annihilation this time last year, before the abrupt thaw in relations this spring.

Counterpoint

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei has ruled out any new negotiations with the US, citing their ‘betrayal’ on the JCPOA.  The creation of the Iran Action Group, on the 53rd anniversary of the CIA-backed coup against former Iranian PM Mohamad Mossadegh, has doused any hope of cooperation on the nuclear deal with Washington. Additionally, the US’s proposal for a new deal with Iran will appear to be reductive of the previous efforts made by both governments.

Assessment

Our assessment is that Tehran will not seek out new negotiations with Washington unless it removes the sanctions. It is evident that this new deal will focus on imposing harsher terms on Tehran without giving any concessions, unlike what the JCPOA did. We feel that Iran is fully cognizant of what happened to Libya’s Muammar Gadhafi after he surrendered his nuclear program. We also feel that Iran’s case in the ICC  might have hastened Washington’s plan to deal with Tehran.

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