Iran’s president has ruled out any changes or additions to the 2015 nuclear deal, in response to French efforts to convince U.S. President Donald Trump to stick with the landmark agreement.
Macron was so preoccupied with trying to keep Trump on board with the JCPOA that he forgot that he needs Iran to accept the terms he was proposing. Like other attempts to “fix” a deal that isn’t broken, Macron’s offer makes more demands of Iran while offering them essentially nothing in return. It isn’t surprising that Iran isn’t interested in such an offer:
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday that he had spoken to Macron at length, and “told him explicitly that we will not add anything to the deal or remove anything from it, even one sentence. The nuclear deal is the nuclear deal.”
Rouhani’s statement will probably be spun as proof of Iranian intransigence, but it is simply a refusal to revisit an agreement that already works.
If Iran had spent the last year and a half using adherence to the nuclear deal as a pretext to demand changes to whatever they don’t like about U.S. foreign policy, we all know what Washington’s response would have been. If another government kept trying to revise an agreement after the fact and made new demands as a condition for adhering to the original deal, we would accuse them of acting in bad faith and we would be right. That is how the U.S. has been acting on this issue for more than a year, and everyone can see it. Why would we expect Iran to respond positively to a proposal that would put them under additional restrictions when they can’t trust the other parties to honor the original agreement?
The nuclear deal with Iran doesn’t need to be “fixed” or built upon or “enlarged.” What is needed is for all parties to honor their commitments and to stop threatening to renege on them. If the U.S. won’t do that, we shouldn’t be surprised when Iran decides that it doesn’t need to be bound by an agreement that others won’t respect.