Iran Nuclear Deal, a test for US global credibility

Tehran, July 13, IRNA – A year after Iran and the world six major powers’ landmark nuclear deal – known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – which was expected to ease economic restrictions on Tehran, the Iranians still have difficulties to do business with the world, what they see largely due to the US failure to fulfill its promises.

After two years of negotiations, Iran and the P5+1 – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany – finally clinched a deal on July 14, 2015, putting an end to a 12-year old dispute over Iran’s nuclear program.

Under the terms of the agreement, Iran would redesign, convert and reduce its nuclear facilities in exchange for lifting all nuclear-related economic sanctions on the country, freeing up tens of billions of dollars in oil revenue and frozen assets.

With the completion of the nuclear deal with Iran and the opening of its market, European companies expected a trade bonanza. Different delegations rushed to Iran one after another in order not to be left behind by their rivals in the Iranian market.

Germany’s Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel was the first top European official to visit Iran at the head of a large economic delegation in the wake of the nuclear deal.

The Implementation Day for the accord came on January 16, 2016 after the International Atomic Energy Agency certified that Iran had met provisions of the nuclear deal, a move that cleared the way for Tehran to get relief from international nuclear-related sanctions. Later, in several other reports the IAEA confirmed Iran’s commitment to its promises.

But a year after the lifting of a number of sanctions against Iran, there is growing frustration among European politicians, diplomats and businessmen over their inability to fulfill dozens of energy, aviation and development deals they signed with the Iranians.

The main obstacle, the Europeans say, is their ally and the influential member of the nuclear talks, the United States.
US authorities continue blacklisting a number of Iranian banks and companies in the post-JCPOA era and act in a way which made Tehran to call on Washington to do more to remove obstacles from banking sector so that foreign companies could invest in Iran with no fear of the US penalties.

Europeans also pointed to the new American visa regulations put into force on January 21, 2016, that made it more difficult for them to enter the United States if they have traveled to Iran. Those financial and travel restrictions, they say, make it nearly impossible to reach agreements with their Iranian counterparts.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the new visa regulations could serve as a de facto new sanction on Iran, in violation of the nuclear deal. He also said Tehran could declare the visa rules a breach of the agreement.

“We want the United States to implement its commitments [to the nuclear deal] in a way that Iran benefits from this deal in practice,” Zarif told reporters on the sidelines of a UN visit in April.

Above all, the quality of US commitment to its promises under Iran nuclear deal has become a test for US global credibility. Speaking after meeting his Iranian counterpart in Oslo last month, US Secretary of State John Kerry said, ‘I feel that it is important for us if we’re going to have future dealings (with Iran) or we want to have a reputation for good faith in negotiations we conduct anywhere. It’s important for us to show good faith in executing this agreement and I intend to see to it that we do that.’

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has repeatedly warned that the US government should not be trusted.

Addressing a meeting with the heads of the three branches of government, the Leader said it is a misconception that the Islamic Republic of Iran can come to terms with the US.

‘We cannot rely on illusions,’ the Leader stressed noting that, ‘Washington’s problem with Iran is the very existence of the Islamic Republic’ that cannot be negotiated.

“Whoever trusts in the United States is committing a big mistake and will be hit with a slap by them,” he said in a televised address last month. “First they enter with a smile and (soft) language but later in practice they will not do what they should do and will not keep their commitment.”
In March, presumptive Republican candidate Donald J. Trump said, “My number one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran.” Ayatollah Khamenei responded in June, by warning that if the next US president tears up the nuclear deal, Iran will “set fire to it.”

‘We do not violate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, but if the opposite side violates it as the US presidential candidates are threatening to rip it apart, we will burn it if they tear it out,’ Ayatollah Khamenei said.