Iran’s President Rouhani is willing to discuss minor changes to JCPOA if President Trump ends threats and sanctions, and withdrawals US troops from the Middle East.
All eyes this week are on the events taking place at the 74th annual UN General Assembly (UNGA) which kicked off on Monday at UN Headquarters in New York. Hundreds of meetings, speeches, and events are planned to take place with representatives and world leaders from around the world.
In an entirely predictable move to appease the US, a joint statement was issued on Monday, by France, Germany, and the U.K, parroting Washington’s position of blaming Iran for the September 14th missile and drone strikes on Saudi Oil infrastructure.
In the joint statement they wrote, “it is clear for us that Iran bears responsibility for this attack. There is no other plausible explanation.” They reiterated their commitment to the JCPOA but called for new talks on a more comprehensive long-term agreement that deals with nuclear, regional, and missile activities.
In response to the statement, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that the three nations should muster the will to forge their own path rather than parroting absurd US claims and making requests which are inconsistent with established JCPOA terms. He also stated that there will be no new deal without compliance with the current one.
In reviewing a lot of the side conversations that have been taking place between President Rouhani and other world leaders from France, Germany, the U.K., Switzerland, Sweden, Pakistan, etc. it appears that in the US’s absence these nations seem supportive of Iran’s efforts to keep the JCPOA deal alive. However, threats from Washington to sanction countries that do business with Iran like China, are worrisome and causing them to peddle back.
In a speech given on Wednesday, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said, “The Middle East is burning in the flames of war, bloodshed, aggression, occupation and religious and sectarian fanaticism and extremism.”
President Rouhani spoke about Iran’s desire to solve and not create problems. He stated the United States was openly violating its responsibilities under the JCPOA and invited the US to come back to the negotiating table if they are willing to end sanctions and threats which violate principles of ethics and international law.
President Rouhani stressed that his proposal is clear they are not interested in war, in threats, in bullying, and want everyone involved to act according to the law and fulfill their obligations. President Rouhani spoke about Iran’s decades-long fight against terrorism and how on the contrary the US has been supporting and arming terrorist groups for decades. He spoke about the US’s involvement in Syria, Yemen, and Israel’s crimes against Palestinians.
Iranian President spoke about the need for the US to pull its troops out of the Middle Eastern region, saying that the ultimate way to achieve peace, security and independence is for the neighboring countries to work things out without foreign interference, which is fueling insecurity rather than bringing peace.
President Rouhani spoke about his new initiative the Coalition of Hope or Hormuz Peace Endeavor (HOPE) which he is proposing at the UNGA and encouraging cooperation in providing collective energy security, freedom of navigations and free flow of oil and other energy resources from and to the countries off the Strait of Hormuz and beyond.
President Rouhani said that this initiative is based on a commitment to UN principles, objectives, mutual respect, mutual interests, dialog, understanding, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, peaceful resolution of conflicts and most importantly non-aggression and non-interference in the domestic affairs of each other.
“The issues of the region are too big and important for the United States to deal with. A country that has failed to resolve the issues of Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, and has been the spearhead of extremism, Talibanism and Daeshism will never be able to resolve more sophisticated issues,” stated Iranian President Rouhani.
On Wednesday, a meeting chaired by the European Union’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini took place with representatives of those same three European countries along with Russian and Chinese representatives and Iran’s Foreign Minister Mr. Zarif. It was agreed upon that all participants wanted to see the deal fully implemented and that they were determined to continue all efforts to preserve the agreement. Participants were reminded that the agreement was endorsed by the U.N. Security council and that the pact “remains a key element of the global nuclear nonproliferation architecture, and a significant achievement of multilateral diplomacy.”
President Trump’s decision last year to not only unilaterally withdrawal from the JCPOA but also enforce a “maximum pressure campaign” is seen by the Iranian government as “economic terrorism”. Harsh sanctions not only target financial establishments and government officials but the most vulnerable Iranian civilians who as a result are having trouble accessing food and medicine.
Underneath all the grandstanding both nations are not genuinely interested in war. Iran understands Trump’s distaste with the JCPOA being that it was negotiated by former president Barak Obama’s. They are willing to make some modifications and give him his own deal even though the previous one took a decade of negotiations, but for that to happen they need relief from crippling sanctions. They need the United States to show a genuine interest in coming back to the negotiating table. We’ve all seen how in the course of a day or a tweet tensions can suddenly flare up.
President Rouhani’s speech was an invitation to President Trump to come to the negotiating table. He outlined what needs to be done and Iran’s willingness and desire to choose peace over war. Washington has expressed similar sentiments at times but has then quickly reverted to rebuking and enforcing stricter sanctions rather than alleviating them. It’s in everyone’s best interest that all parties involved keep a cool head and come to agreeable terms, for the sake of humanity.