Iran’s Supreme Leader and President Hassan Rouhani (File)
UPDATE, DEC. 9:
President Hassan Rouhani has again extended an invitation for the Biden Administration to return the US to the 2015 nuclear deal, while jabbing at the departing Donald Trump:
#Iran’s president: The return to the #JCPOA does not need any time & negotiations, but will. That illiterate businessman scribbled a paper & withdrew from the nuclear deal. The next one (#Biden) can take a paper to sign so as to return. It only needs a signature. pic.twitter.com/Mj4H6C6lh1
— Abas Aslani (@AbasAslani) December 9, 2020
Rouhani offered a return of Iran’s full adherence to the agreement with the remaining 5+1 Powers (UK, France, China, Russia, and Germany) if the Biden Administration lifts the sanctions imposed by Trump after he withdrew the US from the agreement in May 2018.
“We have always said we do something which is reversible. Whenever P5+1 or 4+1 return into full compliance, we’ll return into full compliance,” the President said.
The Rouhani Government has broken limits on uranium stocks and raised enrichment to 4.5%. However, it has held out against Parliament’s demand, following the assassination of nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, for a return to the pre-2015 enrichment of 20% uranium — which can potentially be further enhanced to more than 90% for military use.
ORIGINAL ENTRY, NOV. 26:
A day after the Supreme Leader denounced public talks with the incoming Biden Administration, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani opens the door to contacts with Washington over the 2015 nuclear deal.
Addressing a Cabinet session on Wednesday, Rouhani proclaimed the Islamic Republic’s victory over “Trumpism”.
Then he turned to President-elect Joe Biden, calling for Washington to return to the nuclear agreement, from which the Trump Administration withdrew in May 2018, and the lifting of comprehensive sanctions imposed six months later and tightened in 2020:
Iran and the United States can both decide and announce that they will return to the terms of January 20, 2017 [the day of Joe Biden’s inauguration]. This can be a great solution to many issues and problems, and completely change the course and conditions. Then we can continue taking the next steps on different issues.
Rouhani’s conditional embrace of talks was in sharp contrast to the Supreme Leader’s rejection 24 hours earlier: “We tried to remove the sanctions through negotiations one time, but it was fruitless.”
It is unclear whether Rouhani’s statement was coordinated with the Supreme Leader’s office in a “good cop/bad cop” approach to the new US Government, or whether the President was trying to move Ayatollah Khamenei into acceptance of public rapprochement with the Americans.
Trump’s “Worst Crimes in History”
In September 2013, the President overcame Khamenei’s resistance to negotiations by presenting him with a dossier of Iran’s economic crisis if there were no talks. That opened a path to the July 2015 agreement with the US, UK, France, Germany, China, and Russia.
Tehran is again under great economic pressure, with a collapse of up to 95% in oil exports and a decline in non-oil trade between 60% and 95% with leading customers such as China, India, Turkey, and the Gulf States.
But the Supreme Leader maintained again on Tuesday that the Islamic Republic will prevail with his invocation of the “Resistance Economy”: “If we can overcome sanctions with diligence, creativity, resistance, and endurance in the face of problems, and if the other side sees the futility of its sanctions, they will gradually stop imposing such sanctions.”
Rouhani complemented the defiance of the Trump Administration’s “maximum pressure”: “In this recent 3-year economic war, we were almost alone and no one helped us, but it was our workers, farmers, exporters and production workers as soldiers of the front line.”
And he had special words for Donald Trump, without naming him:
This man committed the worst crimes in the history of the United States against independent nations, especially the people of Iran and Palestine and other nations, and his defeat was due to his failure in international communities, legal authorities, moral standards, world public opinion, and the American public.”
This man committed inhuman, terrorist and cruel acts against the Iranian nation even during the outbreak of coronavirus and increased his pressure on our country every day.