By Mohammad Ghaderi

Does UK really want to hold to JCPOA?

November 7, 2017 - 10:35
A reflection on Johnson's trip to America

TEHRAN _ Measuring the ratio of "strategy" and "tactics" is one of the main concerns in the field of international relations. In a simple definition, a strategy is a long-term plan that is designed and implemented to achieve a specific goal, while tactics contain details of strategic decisions. In other words, a tactic is the decision and approach, and even in some cases, the tool used to realize a strategy.

Although the definitions of strategy and tactics seem simple and obvious, but in the field of international relations, we are confronted with problems such as confusing strategies and tactics or the disproportion between these two. Beyond that, the subject becomes more complicated when a player's "tactical approach" serves the "realization" of another player's strategy.

Boris Johnson, the UK's Foreign Secretary is scheduled to travel to the United States with the purpose of consulting senior senators and other U.S. officials on "maintaining the JCPOA." In his latest remarks, Johnson has mentioned the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as a diplomatic victory and called for the nuclear deal to be maintained by the U.S. Congress. 

The main question here is whether the British Foreign Secretary's trip to the United States is aimed at "completing the strategic American puzzle" towards Iran, or whether the British authorities in London really want to maintain the JCPOA and thus, are about to have a serious confrontation with their traditional, long-standing ally. There are some points here that can't be easily overtaken:

1) Boris Johnson, after Donald Trump's recent remarks on the nuclear deal, immediately signaled his country's efforts to prevent the abrogation of the JCPOA.

 On October 14, he stated: "Now, it's likely that the congress will tear up the JCPOA, but I must point out that it is unlikely that this will happen because we will try to convince our friends and allies in the Congress that the JCPOA is a worthy of treaties. Many of the representatives in the Congress tend to reform the JCPOA, not to abrogate it."

As you can see, Boris Johnson categorically differentiates between "breach of the JCPOA" and "reformation of the JCPOA", and sees the reform of the JCPOA as an option to oppose the cancellation of the nuclear accord. Though Trump and many anti-JCPOA senators, including Tom Cotton, have said that they see no reason for the official withdrawal of the nuclear deal, if it's reformed in accordance with American intentions and inclinations. Thus, Johnson merely restated Trump's sentences with a diplomatic and soft language.

2) The British Foreign Minister, on October 24, has once again spoke of his attempts for maintaining the nuclear deal! This time, Johnson focused on the economic benefits of the JCPOA, without pointing to the exponential increase of the British exports to Iran during post JCPOA time.

 He stated: "Iran is a large country with 80 million people, two thirds of them under the age of 30. They are educated women and men, they use the technology, and are full of the spirit of entrepreneurship and investment, if we can show them (through the nuclear deal) that they are welcomed in the global market, we can create a different relationship with this modern generation."

Johnson spoke of the JCPOA economic benefits for our country in a situation that the British authorities approach towards Iran shows a different standpoint. In an official statement issued by the British Foreign Office in March, the British businessmen and investors were asked to be cautious in economic engagement with Tehran, regarding the continuation of the sanctions.

 We read in this statement: "Iran is still a challenging place to engage in trade, so hesitant exporters should seek legal advice."

Britain's violation of the JCPOA reached the point that in a recent meeting between the Foreign Ministers of Iran and members of the P1 + 5 in New York, our country's Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, told his American counterpart, Rex Tilerson, that we (Iran) couldn't open even one single account in British banks in the last two years.

Before the United Nations General Assembly in New York this year, Bloomberg wrote in a report entitled "The Art of Re-Negotiation Iran's Nuclear Agreement," quoting two American diplomats, and said that Britain and France, as two European partners, agree with the resumption of the nuclear talks with Iran (aiming to change it), and Trump called on the leaders of both of these countries to win Germany's satisfaction in this regard.

 In other words, London has shown the green light to Donald Trump about changing the content of the nuclear deal even before the recent controversial remarks of the United States President and referral of the nuclear deal to the U.S. Congress

Evidences show that London has no intention of confronting the United States in relation to the two strategies of "exerting chronic economic pressure on Iran" and "violation of the JCPOA to the benefits of the West."

 London plans to complete the pieces of this strategic puzzle, which is "false economic and diplomatic decoration of the JCPOA" and "the delimitation between abrogation and change of the JCPOA".

 Boris Johnson's trip to the United States can also be assessed and analyzed in the same way. Without doubt, in the coming weeks, and especially after the possible adoption of the United States Senate's "Cotton-Corker" joint plan, London endorses the plan as a major success story to maintain the JCPOA.

 Britain will then call on our country's authorities to praise the U.S. Senate proposed plan (which is the exact inevitably translation of Trump's demands on the JCPOA), and admire this "nuclear rebate". Then, at next step, Britain, along with the United States, would announce Tehran's disapproval of the Senate's plan as a violation of the JCPOA and consequently the breach of the nuclear accord.

Finally, it should be said that the British statesmen has begun another tactical game on the land of the United States. Johnson's recent trip to the United States will again show how "English tactics" will serve the "American strategy".