Iran, U.S. Sanctions, JCPOA and the NPT: What’s in the Future?

Hossein Askari
5 min readJun 27, 2022

What Else Could Iran Do?

Former President Trump tore up the JCPOA, or the Iran Nuclear Agreement, which former president Obama had signed and which was ratified by the United Nations Security Council. Iran was compliant with the agreement, but Trump, responding to the wishes of the Israeli and some Arab governments, tore it up. As a result, the economic sanctions relief that was due to Iran was rescinded and Trump piled on more sanctions to boot. Yet Iran, naïvely hoping for a miracle with the possibility of a new U.S. administration, continued to keep up its end of the deal for some time before deciding that enough was enough!

Adding insult to injury, former President Trump ordered the assassination of Iran’s top general — Ghassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), Iran’s elite military force. Then Trump added more insult by designating the IRGC a terrorist organization, resulting in further automatic economic sanctions and making it more difficult for Iran and the incoming U.S. administration (and the other parties to the deal) to restore the agreement.

After President Biden’s team started indirect negotiations to restore the agreement, conversations stalled about three months ago in March, in part because of the IRGC designation as a terrorist organization. Over the weekend, it was announced that negotiations would resume, not in Vienna but, in Qatar.

Is the restoration of the JCPOA a worthwhile option for Iran?

I believe not. Just consider the facts. Many Republican party members have said that they would reverse any agreement that Biden signs. The Republicans are on track to regain the House of Representatives and even maybe the Senate. While none of this is certain and not much may happen until, and if, the Republicans win back the presidency after the 2024 elections, it is clear that the U.S. and its allies in the GCC and Israel will always plot and threaten Iran and any agreement will not last long or afford the relief Iran requires.

One thing is certain, Iran will not get the sanctions relief it expects with the breathing room to develop, grow and create good jobs for its people. Yes, it could export more oil and gas, which the world…

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Hossein Askari

MIT engineer-economist. Prof: Tufts, UT-Austin, GW. IMF Board. Government-Mediator Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait. Econ-Finance, Oil, Sanctions, Mid-East, Islam.