By Hanif Ghaffari

Rand’s reverse analysis!

April 6, 2018

TEHRAN - Reuters, in a recent report by “James Dobbins” and “Dalia Dassa kaye”, senior analysts at the Rand Institute, has highlighted some points regarding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). It’s mentioned in this report that:

1. Europe will not negotiate with Iran over the nuclear deal, and may only add an appendix to it.

2- Since October 2017, Trump has announced that the United States was ready to leave the nuclear deal, but all the countries that signed the deal believe that the JCPOA is working.

3. Trump gave the U.S. Congress 60 days to improve or to abandon the nuclear deal, but Congress did not take any of these measures.

4. No need to say that the IAEA has repeatedly confirmed Iran's commitment to the nuclear accord.

5- We (the Rand Institute) proposed a number of measures, including utilizing mechanisms within the agreement to strengthen nuclear inspections. We also suggested pursuing side agreements that would consider extensions to the agreement in the future as well as regional cooperation forums to address wider regional security issues outside the deal's scope, particularly missile development.  

6. Our transatlantic group put forward a Plan B. If the Trump administration withdraws the United States from the agreement, Europe could work with other international powers to keep the deal alive without U.S. participation.

It looks like that the main focus in this report is on Europe’s sustaining the JCPOA  without the United States.  However, there are some points that should be carefully noted in Reuters's recent report:

Firstly, adding any addendum to the nuclear deal, without the permission and negotiation with Iran, is a unilateral step by Europe and is in no way legal. In other words, the JCPOA can’t be changed by the United States, Europe, or any other country, and adding any further amendments to its context is synonymous to "change of JCPOA".
 Hence, the European Union's move to add clauses to the nuclear deal means the breach of the principles of the nuclear accord. In such a case, the Islamic Republic of Iran has the right to reciprocate. The Islamic Republic of Iran has repeatedly announced its official position that it’s not prepared to resume talks, and that the nuclear deal is unchangeable.
Obviously, this change, whether in the form of a "secondary agreement" or as "adding an attachment and an addendum", will mean nothing but the breach of the JCPOA, especially in this case that the proposal made by Europeans include issues such as IAEA inspections of Iranian military sites, permanent restrictions on Iran (removal of so-called Sunset Clauses), and the establishment of links between Iran’s missile and regional activities.
 Everyone recalls that the U.S. nuclear negotiating team, and even the European Troika have been struggling to integrate all of these issues in the course of nuclear talks with Iran but didn’t succeed, and now they are going to unilaterally add these items to the agreement! Obviously this has no state of legal authenticity, and is a sign of the Washington’s, and the European Troika’s lack of commitment to the nuclear accord.

Secondly, making a distinction between the "White House" and the "American Congress" approach towards the JCPOA is unacceptable. “Bob Corker”, the head of the Senate Foreign Policy Committee, has recently announced that the U.S. Congress won’t make a decision without the White House agreement. On the other hand, the Islamic Republic of Iran has repeatedly stated that it merely looks at the "final decision of the United States" regarding the nuclear deal, and doesn’t distinguish between the approach of the U.S. official bodies.
 In such a situation, the Rand report and its distinction between the White House and the Congress is a false indication. Until a few months ago, the Corker-Cotton team had been struggling to incorporate all four of Trump's demands in the nuclear deal, which some members of the Congress opposed, due to the high costs of this action, and that such a move meant the announcement of the official withdrawal of Washington from the JCPOA. However, evidences suggest that the U.S. Congress, like the White House, is looking for other ways to turn the deal into a new agreement (in favor of the United States).

Third, analysts of the Rand Institute have emphasized that there should not be much to maneuver on Iran's commitment to the nuclear deal! This is while the IAEA is a legal authority to declare Iran's commitment to the JCPOA. Despite the pressures made by “Nikki Haley”, the U.S. ambassador to the UN on “Yukiya Amano”, the International Atomic Energy Agency's Director General, and despite the efforts made by the Board of Governors to counter the JCPOA, the IAEA has so far confirmed our country's commitment to the JCPOA for nine times. It is surprising and questionable that why the constant, legal and technical announcement of our country's commitment to the nuclear deal has led to dissatisfaction with institutions such as Rand!

Fourth, the EU's dual and paradoxical approach is in no way acceptable. In its report, the Rand Institute didn’t mention, even slightly, about the European Troika’s passive approach towards the U.S. lack of commitment to the nuclear accord. Undoubtedly, the three countries of Germany, France and Britain are to blame for creating and continuing the current ambiguous situation. The European Troika, instead of "restraining Trump", is bargaining over the nuclear deal.
 This bargain has started since the beginning of 2017, following the presence of Trump at the White House, and continues to this day. The sudden bring up of issues such as completing the JCPOA by including Iran's missile power into the nuclear deal by French President, “Emmanuel Macron”, was not a coincidence! On the other hand, the general and vague positions of the European Troika and the European Union have led to Trump's insistence on his unreasonable demands towards the JCPOA. In such a situation, the European Troika claim about its willingness to sustain the CPOA, isn’t to be believed by the Iranian nation.

Finally, in this report by Rand Institute, there is no mention of the illegitimate and unreasonable demands of Trump’s government. The report is arranged in such a way as if "de-forming the JCPOA " is a two-way deal, in which Iran's rejection would result in a canceled nuclear agreement! But what is driving the nuclear deal towards its cancellation, is definitely the U.S. and EU’s joint effort to change the JCPOA, and not the resistance of the Islamic Republic of Iran against the vicious demands of the West!

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