As the ultimatum begins in regards to demands made by U.S. President Donald Trump to make a final decision on the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), we are a witnessing a wave of tensions and grave concerns inside the Iranian regime.
The parallel nature of this ultimatum with the nationwide uprising aiming to overthrow the Iranian regime, beginning on December 28 and continuing to this day, is bound to place Tehran before a major impasse.
In contrast to previous encounters when Tehran considered such challenges as bluffs, this time around Iranian regime officials are revealing their fears and taking these threats “very seriously.”
President Trump also upped the ante in his stand-off with Iran, vowing US support for street protests against Tehran’s clerical regime.
“America stands with the people of Iran in their courageous struggle for freedom,” he declared.
The question is what solutions lay before Tehran? Can the regime surpass this crisis? How will the international community support the nations of Iran and the entire region in realizing true and lasting peace?
“Breaths will be held for 120 days and it appears this is the game plan U.S. Donald Trump has traced for Iran and the [JCPOA],” according to the state-run E’temad daily.
Tehran has a history of resorting to exporting crises, terrorist threats and meddling in its neighbors’ internal affairs. Through such measures, this regime was able to redirect focus away from the JCPOA.
Considering the latest protests, however, eliminating any domestic and international legitimacy this regime may have enjoyed and significantly threatening its very existence, Tehran no longer possesses its prior capabilities.
In such circumstances, any adventurous and crisis-developing projects will backfire and further plunge Tehran into its current quagmire. The Iran-backed Houthis launching a ballistic missile targeting Riyadh, for example, came at a very high price for Tehran. The international community, especially the U.S. and Europe, are now allying to halt Iran’s missile ambitions and meddling across the region.
Iranian officials are desperately searching to expand their economic ties with European and East Asian countries to gain support for their dictatorship’s very survival.
All the while, as explained by Iranian officials, such major economic deals aimed at purchasing goods and increasing imports, will deepen the recession crisis and destroy what is left of domestic production. Unemployment will skyrocket, inviting even more jobless protesters into the streets to fuel the current uprising. On the other hand, due to Trump’s ultimatum, no company is willing to risk long-term economic contracts selling anything other than consumable goods.
Reactions from Iranian regime officials in the scenario of Washington exiting the JCPOA further detail Iran’s stalemate. Those close to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei advocate relying on domestic capabilities and an “internally-dependent economy.”
Figures close to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani are encouraging improving relations with Europe and distancing the Green Continent from the U.S. However, Iran’s own political instability and the deeply structured U.S.-Europe economic relations leave such a scenario highly unlikely.
In the meantime, there are reports of closed-door negotiations with Iran over its ballistic missile program and the Middle East meddling. Of course, these negotiations were announced prior to Washington’s ultimatum.
It appears that the Europeans are increasing pressures on Iran following Trump’s warning.
“The German, French and British foreign ministers — together with Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign policy chief — agreed with Iran to hold an ‘intensive and very serious dialogue’ on Tehran’s missile program and regional influence,” according to the Financial Times (citing the German Foreign Ministry).
“France’s foreign minister said on Sunday he would visit Iran on March 5 to discuss its ballistic missile program and the nuclear deal agreed with world powers in 2015, as tensions between the two countries rise,” according to Reuters.
Without a doubt, the international community should place negotiations over human rights and save the lives of protesters detained during the recent uprising, along with all political prisoners, as a top priority. The shameful neglect of Iran’s human rights violations, aiming to obtain a new agreement with Tehran, should not be repeated.
Although Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman denies any such talks, only two options lay before Tehran.
Either succumb to major setbacks in relation to its ballistic missile program, refrain from meddling across the region and begin respecting human rights, or brace for crippling sanctions.
Considering increasing Iran’s domestic crises, both options will eventually result in regime change.
Shahriar Kia is an Iranian dissident and a political analyst writing about Iran and the Middle East.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.