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Iran - JCPOA Strategy - How Should Iran Respond?
#1
Following US violation/withdrawal of/from JCPOA, sanctions have been reimposed to highest levels yet and most European countries - despite the EU saying they still support the deal - have complied with the US sanctions.

The EU and Iran have tried to establish INSTEX SPV to facilitate humanitarian trade (at first, and eventually oil trade), but this is still not in operation. As a result, Iran announced a partial reduction in compliance and gave the EU a 60 days deadline to start the operation of INSTEX or it will increase enrichment levels. This deadline expires in early July. The EU has warned that if Iran increases its enrichment levels it will be deemed a breach of JCPOA and the EU will impose consequences. But the EU already complies with the US sanctions in reality, so I am not sure what leverage the EU has to threaten these consequences...

Regardless, sanctions have driven Iran oil exports to record lows (<500,000 bpd) and the economy is in recession. Last year GDP fell by 3.9%, and this year GDP is projected to fall by at least 6%. Oil exports have fallen from >2.3million bpd in 2018 to <500,000 bpd in 2019 (and likely to continue to fall). As for currency, when Rouhani was elected 1USD = 3000T, but now it is >13000T. Inflation fell to single digits (approx. 9%) in early months/years of Rouhani but now it is >40%+. 

Clearly, the sanctions are having a terrible effect on the economy and they are not sustainable forever. So the question becomes - what should be Iran's strategy to remove the sanctions? I see two main options:

1) Democratic (Biden/Bernie) wins in 2020 US election and re-enters JCPOA. No new negotiations. Best case scenario.
2) Trump wins in 2020 - new negotiations with US are inevitable. 

To the 2020 election, currently Biden and Bernie both lead against Trump by around +10% in the polls, but there is a long way to go. Historically, the incumbent President has a very good chance of re-election, especially when the economy is booming (which it is). The Democratic Committee accepted a resolution to re-enter the JCPOA if they win in 2020, so Bernie and Biden are both likely to do this if they win. I think Iran can survive until 2020.

But the problem is if Trump wins again. Then I believe the economy cannot survive 4 more years of peak sanctions. We can talk about how Iran resists sanctions etc and it's true but let's not pretend Iran did not have negotiations before because sanctions were really hurting the economy. Especially after 2012 when EU banned oil imports from Iran. Now we are seeing similar oil export numbers and GDP contractions as then. Then it took 1 year for Iran to start negotiations, how long can Iran survive before accepting negotiations this time? Doesn't matter how long - the point is that we accept new negotiations are inevitable. 

So, what can we do until 2020 new negotiations? If Trump wins again he will have strong leverage (4 more years of peak sanctions + military option), so Iran must find some leverage to prepare for these negotiations if they must happen. 

So now the question is - how can Iran boost its leverage for these negotiations? 

Pompeo has said what the US demands will be - ballistic missiles, no enrichment (+ no heavy water at all), stop weapon proliferation, stop supporting militias across the ME (including Hezbollah, Hamas, Houthis, PMF), release all US citizens and withdraw from Syria. These are obviously maximalist demands and the US should know they will never get these.

I believe some options would be: further work on IR-6 and IR-8 centrifuges, install much more IR-2M centrifuges, test 4000km+ BM (Khorramshahr with lighter warhead would work already, or even better a new solid fuel missile). 

- Iran cannot accept zero enrichment, otherwise it has been fighting all these decades for nothing. 
- No heavy water can be accepted. 
- Ballistic missiles range cap can be acceptable - hence why I believe Iran should launch much longer range BM so that coming down to 2000km is a compromise (otherwise if we start from 2000km the compromise amount becomes much lower). The US demands no BM launches, but look at North Korea - they ignore their shorter-range BM launches now. 
- Release all US citizens can be accepted. 
- Withdraw from Syria can be accepted (in exchange for US withdrawal for example). 
- Stop support for Hamas/Houthis maybe possible, but Hezbollah impossible. 

In exchange, Iran must demand:
- Full sanctions relief
- Heavy US investment
- Full payment of all international awards that Israel/US/UK refuse to pay
- End to all domestic US litigation court claims against Iran
- Ratify agreement in Congress as official Treaty so it cannot be breached again

What does everyone else think about what I wrote - and any more ideas for how Iran can boost its position for future negotiations?   Smile
#2
Star 
(06-22-2019, 05:43 PM)Persian Gulf Wrote: Withdraw from Syria can be accepted (in exchange for US withdrawal for example).

Nonsense, the U.S. will never back down! They invested too much in these 2011 Jasmin color evolutions.


Ich, post: 11686836, member: 189246 Wrote:I dont know why Iran commit to this paper. But it is not broken by Iran, but all other signatory. So in real this JCPOA is dead born. One can use it instead of water while his "private big business".


Must concur, from day one the JCPOA was a trap meant to delay Iran's nuclear development.
And look, North Korea that has instead speed up its own WMD program is now treated as an equal by the U.S.!


Ex-U.S. diplomat suggests Trump could accept North Korea as nuclear weapons state

August 17, 2019

WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 (Yonhap) -- A former senior U.S. diplomat has suggested President Donald Trump could eventually accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state, although he has shown no indication of doing so yet.

Kurt Campbell, former assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, aired the view in a recent interview with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, posted on the think tank's website this week.

"One hears persistent rumors and feedback that, on occasion, the president will ask: 'What's wrong with just letting them have -- acknowledging that? He seems like a perfectly reasonable guy. We can live with these guys. So what? We can manage the results,'" Campbell said, apparently referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Discussing the possibility of an agreement under which North Korea would partially dismantle its nuclear weapons program in exchange for recognition as a nuclear weapons state and sanctions relief, he added: "I think there have been enough people that have pushed back on this now that I don't think the president has as yet been prepared to move in that direction. But my instinct tells me that he would take that deal."

Campbell also suggested that Trump could aggressively push his agenda if he wins reelection next year.
...
Campbell served as the top U.S. diplomat for East Asia from 2009-2013 under then-President Barack Obama, who has frequently been accused by Trump of mishandling the North Korean nuclear threat.

http://web.archive.org/web/2019081703594...tion=nk/nk ; http://archive.fo/MUJaC


Conclusion

The U.S.-europeans only understand the language of force.

Enough with words, time to speak with a thermonuclear treasured sword of justice in one hand, and economical investments incentives in the other.

Iran has only one option left, to demonstrate within a few months both a thermonuclear test, along a nuclear capable balllistic missile test of 15'000 km range, such as a clone of both North Korean "Dumbbell" thermonuclear warhead, and Hwasong-15 ICBM.

Doable, as the knowhow is already in Iran. All the CNC machines need are North Korean blueprints to produce the same hardware.

Anything else is doomed to fail.


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