Skip to content

Transcript 1: The Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA): Can It Be Resurrected? Is It Too Late? KGNU Boulder. Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues Hosted by Jim Nelson. Tuesday, December 29, 2020.

January 5, 2021

_____________________________________________

Later on we can dissect this Congressional letter to Biden – what’s positive and negative about it – but what is the most important point is the clear commitment to return to the Iran Nuclear Deal. There is no mention in it of some kind of negotiating process as a prerequisite to return to the agreement. That would meet the Iranian position as you mentioned earlier.

This is hopeful.

The other point is that, as you mentioned Jim, public support for this position exists in Colorado and the rest of the nation. Without going into too many details a coalition has come into being; it’s called “Coloradans for Middle East Diplomacy and Peace.” Some of the groups include the Friends Committee on National Legislation, J-Street and the National Iranian-American Council as well as the Colorado chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace as well as some individual (like myself) who are involved.

It’s hosting a zoom conference on the JCPOA on January 21. Trita Parsi of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft will keynote. Just letting the listeners know about that.

Rob Prince

What concerns us – there is the idea of the parties that signed the JCPOA of somehow going back to the negotiating table in order to start to negotiate once again in order to hijack, revise the agreement suggesting that the United States is re-engaging in the agreement when in fact, they are not – they are trying to revise it. The Iranians have made it clear that there is no negotiation: it’s either the United States returns to the 2015 agreement, or it doesn’t do so.

Ibrahim Kazerooni

____________________________________________________

Transcript 1: The Iran Nuclear Deal (JCPOA): Can It Be Resurrected? Is It Too Late? KGNU Boulder. Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues Hosted by Jim Nelson. Tuesday, December 29, 2020.

_____________________________________________

Tonight on Hemispheres the Middle East Dialogues with Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince. This evening Kazerooni and Prince will discuss the JCPOA (Iran Nuclear Deal) and can it be saved by President-Elect Biden’s foreign policy team? Just before the holidays many House Democrats signed (150) a letter to the incoming Biden adminstration to return to the nuclear deal with Iran and to lift the current sanctions placed on Iran by the current Trump adminstration. As always Prince and Kazerooni will give their insightful and well reseached views on the current situation with Iran. That’s the Middle East Dialogues on Hemispheres.

____________________________________________

Jim Nelson: This evening we are going to be discussing the Iran Nuclear Deal.

I want to put it in context…

With the new year fast approaching and the Biden Presidency soon beginning the question of whether the U.S. will return ot the Iran Nuclear Deal – Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – is on the table

Recently 150 members of Congress, all Democrats, sent an open letter to President-Elect Biden to return to the JCPOA, among them four Colorado Congressmenbers – Jason Crow, Diana De Gett, Joe Neguse and Ed Perlmutter. In exchange for the U.S. rejoining the agreement, they are asking Iran to rejoin as well – well, they never left – . If the United States joints it is expected that Iran will lower the levels of in uranium enrichment program. This would be in exchange – as the 2015 agree3ment stipulates – that the United States along with the Europeans would lift their sanctions against Iran.

A coalition of groups in Colorado – calling themselves – Coloradans for Middle East Diplomacy and Peace – has come together – also calling on the Biden Administration to rejoin the JCPOA – Rob can fill us in on their activities -.

Is there a realistic possibility that the U.S. will return to the agreement? In a more general sense, will the U.S. leave the Trump Administration’s “go-it-alone” polices and return to international cooperation? The Paris Agreement on Climate Change? The INF (Intermediaate Nuclear Force Agreement)? The Open Skies Agreement? The W.H.O (World Health Organization)? Etc…

So Ibrahim and Rob, will the United States return to the JCPOA?

Rob Prince: I’ll start Jim; I like the term realistic possibilities for the United States returning to this JCPOA agreement – we’ll get into that – but for starters I want to connect with what we talked about last week.

Last week on the program, we noted that it was the 10th anniversary of the immolation of Tunisian brother Mohammed Bouazizi in Sidi Bouzid, we looked at the onset of the Arab Spring with uprising in Tunisia. That event was the beginning of a genuine popular grass roots revolt throughout the Middle East. That was a genuine revolt – in protest to the socioeconomic conditions in Tunisia, the corruption there, the repression.

It was a movement that appeared to have great possibilities for far reaching institutional and social change but in the end, the results were – we could say “hijacked” and institutional restructuring was hijacked and neutralized by Western powers – foremost among the United States. Ten years on very little, if anything had changed institutionally very little, not only in Tunisia but throughout the region.

One of the things we’re concerned about – will this happen again?

So Ibrahim, this isn’t the first time, is it that a social movement that looked so promising was somehow “detoured” ?

Ibrahim Kazerooni: Certainly not.

Now we have ample proof that the United states – in both the Arab and non-Arab World have meddled and tried to derail, undermine and to a degree neutralize social movements that take place. In the United States, at least during the post Second War War period there has been a good deal of such activities. But before World War II we saw the same kind of behavior from other colonial powers such as the British and the Russians.

In the case of Iran in particular, in 1905, there was a Constitutional Movement in which both the British and the Russian czars collaborated and derailed that Constitutional Movement, turning it into little more than window dressing. It result in the tyrannical rule of the Pavlavi dynasty instead of a democratic system.

Then in 1952-1953, the British and the Americans, during the democratic uprising in Iran there was the case of Mohammed Mossaddegh. He was a democratically elected prime minister coming after a reign of centuries of tyranny in Iran through various dynasties. His election gave hope that the country was moving towards some kind of constitutional reform in which somehow the wings of the ruler at the time, Pavlavi, would be clipped and a new democratic constitution would be put in place with a parliament that would have effective power.

Unfortunately the United States in coordination with M.I.-5, M.I.-6 and the British government organized a coup – and as they say, the rest is history.

These kind of things have repeatedly taken place.

We’ve briefly touched upon this – if our listeners, our audience would remember, that the political power in the Middle East for at least the last three or four decades has relied on external powers and external governments to prop up and protect them. Hence when the Arab Spring began and immediately the old and loyal puppets were replaced, some new one was installed that would suggest some degree of change although nothing substantive or concrete took place.

What cioncerns us – there is the idea of the parties that signed the JCPOA of somehow going back to the negotiating table in order to start to negotiate once again in order to hijack, revise the agreement suggesting that the United States is re-engaging in the agreement when in fact, they are not – they are trying to revise it. The Iranians have made it clear that there is no negotiation: it’s either the United States returns to the 2015 agreement, or it doesn’t do so.

The Iranians have made it clear that there is no negotiation: it’s either the United States returns to the 2015 agreement, or it doesn’t do so.

By the way, as I was reading some articles, documents in preparation for this broadcast, I had the impression that most of those writing about the JCPOA have not read the full text of the JCPOA – or nuclear agreement with Iran.

If you look at the text, under the heading “Dispute Resolution Mechanism” it’s clearly outlined that, if Iran sees that other parties to the case are not prepared to adhere to the agreement, it has every right to withdraw and I read::

“If Iran believed that any or all of the E.U-3 were not meeting their commitment on this JCPOA, Iran could refer the issue to the Joint Commission for Resolution. The Joint Commission would have fifteen days to resolve the issue unless the time period was extended by consensus. After the Joint Commission consideration, any participant could refer the issue to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and ultimately to the United Nations Security Council .”

Ultimately, within that paragraph – Paragraph 36 – it says that:

“After this thirty days process the issue is not resolved, a joint commission would consider the opinion of the Advisory Board for no more than five days in order to resolve the issue. If the issue still hasn’t been resolved to the satisfaction of the complaining participant – and if the complaining participant and if the complaining participant deemed the issue to constitute significant non-performance then that participant could treat the unresolved issue as ground to cease performing its commitment under this JCPOA in whole or in part.”Right from the beginning (of the agreement) Iran faced Obama’s intransigence not to remove any of the sanctions. The initial agreement was that in exchange for Iran limiting its enrichment of nuclear material that sanctions would take place and all the sanctions would be removed. A full change would take place and all the sanctions would be lifted.

Right from the beginning (of the agreement) Iran faced Obama’s intransigence not to remove any of the sanctions. The initial agreement was that in exchange for Iran limiting its enrichment of nuclear material that sanctions would take place and all the sanctions would be removed. A full change would take place and all the sanctions would be lifted.

Obama didn’t do it. The European countries didn’t do it.

Right from the beginning (of the agreement) Iran faced Obama’s intransigence not to remove any of the sanctions. The initial agreement was that in exchange for Iran limiting its enrichment of nuclear material that sanctions would take place and all the sanctions would be removed. A full change would take place and all the sanctions would be lifted.

Obama didn’t do it. The European countries didn’t do it.

At the time Iran waited patiently, reminding everybody that this U.S. and European failure to reduce and eliminate sanctions, she considered to be a violation and a breech. And as a result, it might withdraw from the agreement.

Instead of waiting the required 30 days for a response, Iran gave 60 days, than an additional 15 days, 2 more months for a response.

Instead, the U.S. and Europe expected the Iranians to adhere to all aspects of the agreement while refusing to do so themselves. But once Iran realized that none of the parties (U.S., UK, Europeans) that signed the JCPOA with Iran intended to honor their part of the bargain it was forced also to water down its commitment too.

Rob Prince: Ibrahim, what you are describing is quite accurate – that’s what happened. Still, what I’d like to do is to start off on a little more hopeful note.

Undoubtedly this – getting the United States to return to the 2015 JCPOA and honor its commitments therein – is an uphilll struggle, the details of which we’ll talk about a little bit later.

But I wanted to go back to the letter (letter of members of Congress to the incoming Biden Administration). This was a letter that was published on Christmas Eve signed by 150 members of Congress, virtually all from what I can tell, were Democrats. I don’t know of any Republican that signed it, but still, that’s quite a number and among them were four Colorado members of Congress – Jason Crow, Diana DeGette, Joe Neguse and Ed Perlmutter – were among the signers.

I just wanted to read from the first paragraph:

“…We particularly welcome your commitment to the restoration of American leadership and diplomacy. With respect to Iran, we agree that diplomacy is the best path to halt and reverse Iran’s nuclear program, decrease tensions in the region, and facilitate our nation’s reincorporation into the international community. We are united in our support for swiftly taking the necessary diplomatic steps to restore constraints on Iran’s nuclear program and return both Iran and the United States to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as a starting point for further negotiations.”

Later on we can dissect this Congressional letter to Biden – what’s positive and negative about it – but what is the most important point is the clear commitment to return to the Iran Nuclear Deal. There is no mention in it of some kind of negotiating process as a prerequisite to return to the agreement. That would meet the Iranian position as you mentioned earlier.

This is hopeful.

The other point is that, as you mentioned Jim, public support for this position exists in Colorado and the rest of the nation. Without going into too many details a coalition has come into being; it’s called “Coloradans for Middle East Diplomacy and Peace.” Some of the groups include the Friends Committee on National Legislation, J-Street and the National Iranian-American Council as well as the Colorado chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace as well as some individual (like myself) who are involved.

It’s hosting a zoom conference on the JCPOA on January 21. Trita Parsi of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft will keynote. Just letting the listeners know about that.

To be continued…

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: