The Iranian regime continues to demand the overturning of US economic sanctions. The sanctions were initiated in 2018 when former President Trump removed the US from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The US will re-join the JCPOA if Iran complies
The current US administration under Biden has indicated they will re-join the JCPOA, but only under the conditions that Iran complies with the original agreements of the deal and ceases their nuclear development.
In an effort to retain their power, the regime is attempting to pressure the US to re-join the JCPOA, without first proving their commitment to the deal and curbing their nuclear program. The US must not bow to the manipulation of the regime and should retain a strong stance against Iran’s nuclear development. Otherwise, the mullahs’ will only be emboldened to further threaten the international community with nuclear weapons and acts of terrorism.
2018 strategy as applying “maximum pressure”
Trump described his 2018 strategy as applying “maximum pressure” on Iran, with the goal being to force the economy into a position where the regime would have to renegotiate the terms of the deal and accept harsher limitations on nuclear activity.
The JCPOA has been criticized by many politicians as being inherently flawed. The restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program were considerably weak with several loopholes, such as the lack of regulation on the regime’s ballistic missile development.
Iran on the brink of economic collapse
Iran is currently in such a predicted unstable position; on the brink of economic collapse brought about in part by the regime’s corruption and poor administration, as well as the economic sanctions. Biden must ensure to take advantage of this situation and not allow the situation to return to one of systematic appeasement.
Khamenei’s expectation immediate relief from US sanctions
Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, addressed the topic with military leaders on Sunday, which was reported by Iran state media. Khamenei expressed the regime’s expectation that they will achieve full and immediate relief from US sanctions. He further announced that only once this has been established will they adhere to the agreements of the nuclear deal. Khamenei stated, “It is the irreversible and final decision and all Iranian officials have consensus over it.”
There has been no official response from Biden regarding Khamenei’s remarks. However, on the same day he affirmed the counter position of the US; that Iran must be the one to first uphold their part of the JCPOA agreement and that only once nuclear development has been halted, will there be a phased sanction lift.
The nuclear program has been progressing covertly
It is vital that the regime is not allowed to continue its path towards developing nuclear weapons. Their nuclear program has been progressing covertly over the years, exposed by inside networks, such as the regime’s opposition, the People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran).
However, the regime has become emboldened in recent years and has openly discussed obtaining nuclear weapons. In 2020 they ceased to comply with any former restrictions of the nuclear deal and began a program of uranium enrichment to 20 percent fissile purity, as well as resupplying their nuclear stockpiles, all of which is an effort towards building nuclear weapons.
If the economic sanctions are lifted without first ensuring transparency from the mullahs’, and without the regime sacrificing their nuclear program, this could have dangerous consequences for the future of negotiations between Iran and the international community. The regime will have succeeded in their power tactics, such as threatening the US with the development of nuclear weapons and will certainly reuse this strategy to gain political appeasement.