The stances of the new US officials against Iran and their emphasis on demands beyond the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and the nuclear program, have worried the media affiliated with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, because of the difficult conditions for the regime and its future.
The difficult situation that Arman daily on February 2, considers ‘accurate assessment’ of it and ‘of what will happen in practice’ is ‘very difficult’.
According to this daily, which is affiliated with the Rouhani faction, American officials, despite taking positions to return to the JCPOA, ‘they still make unreasonable demands in some cases.’
The ‘unreasonable demands’ of the United States have been clear for years, and that the regime must cut short its missile policy and interventionist policies in the region (Middle East).
It seems that the three major European countries (Germany, France and the United Kingdom) are also considering these demands to be included in the JCPOA.
Jahan-e-Sanat daily, February 2, described Europe’s position as ‘pendulum and cynical behavior’ which ‘could adversely affect the course of negotiations and the JCPOA’s relations. [French President Emmanuel] Macron’s stance, which has recently sought to take into account the interests of some Arab countries in the region and Washington’s return to the JCPOA, doubles Europe’s problems in the JCPOA’s opening.’
‘Europe has just slipped towards the United States, and this is in line with Biden’s consensus,’ Hamid Reza Asefi, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in the government of Mohammad Khatami, told Arman.
‘That if Europe joins the United States, both our legal position in recent years will be lost and it could lead to the revival of the global consensus against Iran and even the rejoining of some of our friends and partners in this consensus, so we must be careful in this area as well. US officials intend to return to the IAEA, but their primary goal is that they may be able to take more concessions from Iran and develop the JCPOA more broadly than the nuclear issue, he added.’ (Arman, February 2, 2021)
His reference to ‘friends and partners’ describes ‘Russia and China,’ and the fear of ‘reviving the global consensus’ is the fear of reconciliation between the two countries with the United States and the three great European powers, and even the fear of a similar situation before the JCPOA and the issuance of Resolution 2231.
The broader concessions which is said by this former foreign ministry official is nothing else than in the field of the regime missile program and the regime’s influence in the middle east which is leading to many wars.
In this regard, Aftab-e-Yazd daily wrote: ‘In general, we can say that the news that is heard from the United States and the responses and reactions of Iranian diplomats to this news show that the JCPOA’s knot is one that cannot be opened and is becoming worse with the current developments.’ (Aftab-e-Yazd, February 2, 2021)
This ‘thumb knot’ forced the writer of the state-run Jahan-e-Sanat daily to write, ‘the JCPOA’s ball is in Tehran’s court’ and the state-run daily Setareh-e-Sobh to write ‘Mr. Rouhani, the ball of negotiation and the lifting of sanctions is in your court.’
The state-run daily Mardom Salari also recommends that the system should adopt the ‘softness in tactics’, possibly referring to the ‘softness in tactics’ of the type of the ‘heroic softness’, which was Iran’s supreme leader Khamenei’s recommendation in the JCPOA negotiations, during which they gave great concessions to the other side. In addition to the media affiliated with the Iranian Resistance (NCRI/MEK), the media affiliated with Khamenei also called it a ‘chalice of poison’ for the regime.
The main concern of these media is that the current economic and catastrophic could drive the people to new protests and uprisings.
In this regard, an article writer in the state-run daily Setareh-e-Sobh wrote to Rouhani:
‘You know better of the situation in the country and the people than the writer and others. Unfortunately, since the tightening of sanctions (May 8, 2018) until now, the reduction of oil sales, the non-approval of FATF bills, and… have caused the purchasing power of the people to decrease, the value of the national currency to fall, more inequality, more misery (according to economists more than in 2017), rising unemployment, deteriorating environment and etc. make life difficult for people.’
The objective situation that the state-run daily Shargh previously wrote about is that the ‘loud voice of society’ is rioting in the streets and cyberspace, and ‘dissatisfaction with everything’ immediately becomes a problem for the government.
A loud voice that ‘God forbid, faces (the government) with the danger of uncontrollable growth of public hatred ‘and ‘Our people are affected by every message of dissatisfaction due to pressures, failures, sanctions and exhausting bottlenecks, and cyberspace has become a machine for producing dissatisfaction. (State-run daily Shargh, February 9, 2020)
In an interview with Arman daily, January 23, referring to the dire economic situation and the poor living conditions of the people, a government expert advised the government to de-escalate and retreat in the field of foreign policy and warned Khamenei’s faction who called them as ‘belligerent and violent,’ and said:
‘The fact is that a country is not able to withstand such pressures for a long time. I warn the groups that promote belligerence and violence in the country that the people’s patience is limited, and the people can tolerate belligerent policies to some extent. If these policies continue, we may see reactions from the people, which could be very costly for the country.’
Regardless of these writings and comments, the fact is that the regime is suffering from unresolved pain in both external and internal crises.
The supreme leader knows very well that if he retreats in the face of the United States and the major European powers, which want his government to be shortened in the field of nuclear, missile and regional politics, he will inevitably be forced to retreat domestically and his rule would come under question.
It is not without reason that Khamenei and other leaders of the regime, including Mohsen Rezaei, the secretary of the Expediency Discernment Council, have already acknowledged that ‘if we fall short in the region and our strategic depth, we must fight the people inside the cities.’
Of course, their concern was expressed a lot when the uprisings of December 2017, July 2018 and November 2019 had not yet taken place, while in the current situation, the explosive capacity of society is not comparable to the past.
The situation is such that even assuming Khamenei’s ouster and the lifting of sanctions, the system still cannot get rid of the crises it is grappling with. In this case, of course crises will remain.
In this regard, the Jahan-e-Sanat daily on February 14, 2021 wrote: ‘Even if all sanctions against the regime are lifted and we can export more oil than usual, the problems and challenges will remain; because the source of the problems of Iran’s domestic economy today are internal.’