Iranians divided over new Senate sanctions

Nasser Hadian, a prominent professor of international relations at the University of Tehran, told Al-Monitor that he does not believe that the new sanctions would explicitly violate the nuclear deal, though they defy the intent of the JCPOA. Hadian believes there is coordination and agreement between the United States and the EU in the escalation of pressure on Iran over its missile program, while avoiding explicit violation of the nuclear deal.

Noting the reinvigorated ties between the Donald Trump administration and Iran’s regional rivals, Hadian further underlined the role of regional lobbies, including those of Saudi Arabia and Israel, in pushing for the new US sanctions. In this vein, he told Al-Monitor that there are four scenarios as potential reactions of Iran. “The first scenario is interpreting the sanctions as a clear violation of the JCPOA and therefore [triggering an] end to adherence to it by Iran. The second one is a decrease in Iran’s adherence to its commitments [under the deal]. The third one is continuation of Iran’s adherence to the JCPOA, as before, because the other parties — except for the US — act in compliance with their commitments. The fourth scenario is Iran acting beyond its commitments in order to prove its peaceful intentions and isolating the US.”

To this end, Hadian suggested that Iran should use both its formal diplomatic channels as well as backchannel diplomacy to reach out to China, Russia and European countries in a bid to convince them to adhere to the nuclear deal.

Mohammad Jamshidi, a professor of international relations at the University of Tehran, told Al-Monitor that the bill violates not only the letter and spirit of the JCPOA but also UN Security Council Resolution 2231. He said the sanctions contravene Articles 26-29 of the JCPOA, noting that “according to Article 29, the US is committed to refrain from any policy intended to affect ‘the normalization of trade and economic relations with Iran.’”

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