MNA – Peter Jenkins, former UK Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and UN says that the re-imposition of sanctions by the US against Iran puts at risk the July 2015 nuclear agreement known as the JCPOA.
Former associate fellow of the Geneva Center for Security Policy also adds that “it is a foolish absurdity to put such an agreement at risk by denying Iran many of the economic benefits that Iran anticipated on entering into the agreement.”
He adds that “re-imposition of sanctions amounts to a violation of a UN Security Council Resolution (2231) and so suggests the kind of disregard and disrespect for UN resolutions that the world has come to associate with rogue states.”
Following is the full text of the interview:
As announced before, US returned all nuclear sanctions against Iran. Do you think that this sanctions is according to US national interest in the long term?
No, I do not. The re-imposition of sanctions puts at risk the July 2015 nuclear agreement known as JCPOA. The value of that agreement has been amply apparent over the last three years. It provides the International Atomic Energy Agency with the access it needs to determine the absence of undeclared, illicit nuclear activity in Iran. It enables Iran to build confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program. It provides the international community with a formal assurance that Iran is committed in perpetuity to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
It is a foolish absurdity to put such an agreement at risk by denying Iran many of the economic benefits that Iran anticipated on entering into the agreement. It is also an instance of self-harm since it damages the image and prestige of the United States. By most of the world, the United States is seen as behaving like a spoiled, willful child, seeking to destroy and destabilize for no good reason. Worse, the re-imposition of sanctions amounts to a violation of a UN Security Council Resolution (2231) and so suggests the kind of disregard and disrespect for UN resolutions that the world has come to associate with rogue states.
The only obvious US interest that this absurdity serves is currying favor with US allies in the Middle East, allies that have opposed the JCPOA from its inception and fought it through proxies in the US Congress in 2015. Even that is an aberration. It damages US prestige since it implies that it is possible for relatively minor, insignificant powers to exercise a disproportionate influence over, and pervert US decision-making.
If Iran cannot export oil and cannot work by SWIFT, what means JCPOA for it? I mean if the US can impose their will on these two key issues for Iran, is it rational for Iran stay in JCPOA? What is the EU and Russia and China in this regard?
Yes, it remains rational for Iran to continue to be a party to the JCPOA. In 2015, much was said about the economic benefits that the JCPOA would bring to Iran. This was natural since Iran had suffered under global sanctions since 2011 and under certain US sanctions – on civil aircraft, for example – for much longer. But from the outset the JCPOA was also about political benefits.
The JCPOA has enhanced Iranian prestige. This was evident when President Rouhani visited New York for the UN General Assembly in September. The assembly demonstrated much greater respect for him than it did for President Trump. That respect was nourished by the fact that President Rouhani could assure the assembly of Iran’s commitment to and full compliance with the JCPOA. Another way of putting this would be to say that President Rouhani enjoyed the advantage of occupying moral and political high ground, whereas President Trump was floundering in a moral and political swamp.
Furthermore, as long as Iran is seen by the world to be complying with the JCPOA, it is inconceivable that the United States and its Middle East allies could win international acceptance for any significant military action against Iran.
Yet another political benefit relates to Iran’s relations with key international partners such as Russia, China, and Turkey. None of these states wishes Iran to withdraw from the JCPOA. On the contrary, Iranian withdrawal would cause them acute concern. It might lead to their reviewing and reconsidering these relationships and the numerous benefits that stem from them.
Much the same would be true of the European Union and medium-sized powers like France and Germany. All of these are looking for ways of reducing the impact of US sanctions on Europe’s economic cooperation with Iran, and will surely succeed in due course. That search for enhanced cooperation would cease if Iran were to abandon the JCPOA.
Interview by: Javad Heirannia