TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - “Other parties to the JCPOA, including Europe, can only plead with the US and have no way retaliating against America. Therefore, Trump believes that he can get away with it.”
“Iran cannot count on Europe, or for that matter Russia or China to retaliate against America,” Hunter tells the Tehran Times.
Following is the text the interview:
Q: Despite many internal and external oppositions, Trump decertified the JCPOA. What were the reasons behind his very decision? What signal did he want to deliver both internally and externally by doing so?
A: Despite some voices raised in America against the decertification, many in Congress--both Republican and Democrat --have been against JCPOA. Other parties to the JCPOA, including Europe, can only plead with the US and have no way retaliating against America. Therefore, Trump believes that he can get away with it.
Trump want to say to the Iranians and to its regional allies that he will be much harsher in dealing with what he considers as Iran's destablizing policies in the Middle East.
Q: Reimposing Iran's sanctions by Congress is in fact tantamount to the violation of JCPOA. Then, Trump makes Congress responsible for the scrap of the very deal. Do you believe Congress Reimpose Iran's nuclear deal waiver before?
A: Most probably, the Congress will impose new sanctions on Iran under other pretexts not related to the nuclear issue. In this regard the designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization is especially important, because the IRGC is deeply involved in economic matters. In short, most likely the Congress will not impose nuclear-related sanctions. Instead it will sanction Iran on the basis of other complaints.
Q: In Europe, a single voice concerning the violation of JCPOA cannot be heard. French President, Macron, had underlined before that it would be necessary to include some articles pertinent to human rights and missile issues within JCPOA. This is somehow similar to Trump' word. Do you think Europe will follow suit?
A: The problem with JCPOA is that it solved one aspect of Iran's difficulties with the West. Other questions related to Iran's attitude towards Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict were not addressed in JCPOA. Yet, the Israel issue is the real problem in Iran's relations with the West. President Macron's reference to other issues is essentially about Israel, and Iran's approach towards it. Without change in this regard, it is unlikely that Iran's relations with the West will be normalized.
Iran cannot count on Europe, or for that matter Russia or China to retaliate against America. At the end of the day, forced to choose between Iran and America, Europe will chose America, and others will stay neutral.
Q: Iran's FM, Zarif, has underscored so far that JCPOA is deemed a deal when all parties are committed to it. What is Iran's reaction to the US withdrawal from the deal?
A: Imposition of nuclear -related sanctions is clearly against JCPOA. But US can argue that new sanctions are not nuclear related. Basically, Americans want to retain those aspects of the JCPOA that limits Iran's nuclear activity, but also put more pressure on it.