interview with Mehr News Agency (August 2016)

-What is your prediction about the future of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)?

In spite of all the odds playing against it, my bet is that the implementation of the JCPOA will go on, as the cancellation of the agreement would create too many problems and uncertaincies for all the parties involved. Iran, which has been able to protect in this agreement the core and the future of its nuclear program, has certainly no interest in experiencing the return of all the sanctions lifted or eased by the agreement, in particular sanctions against its oil exports. The United States or Europe have no interest in seeing all the guarantees given by Iran about the peaceful nature of its nuclear program suddenly disappear. So all in all, the implementation has a good chance to go on, in spite of all the frustrations and bickering that it is bound to produce.

- Iran has been fulfilling its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA, however the other side, particularly the U.S., has not fully respected its obligations in lifting sanctions, especially those related to banking transactions. Please explain?

I would say that the United States is applying the letter of the JCPOA but much less its spirit, as the « constructive atmosphere » that each party to the agreement should maintain is lacking on the US side. The US opponents to the agreement have not given up their intention to destroy it and lead a kind of legal guerilla that the White House has difficulty to resist. Concerning the American banking sanctions, they have actually been lifted for non-Americans, but many constraints remain such as the interdiction of using the dollar in transactions with Iran. Therefore, the major European banks are still reluctant to intervene in Iran, considering that the rules they would have to respect are too complex and the risks still too high. I hope that solutions will be found to solve this problem, but il will take time. In what concerns Iran, the governement is certainly applying the agreement in good faith, but all the controversies which seem to develop around it as the Presidential election comes closer, do not help either. It is a pity that there is no national unity on either side in favor of an agreeement which is so evidently advantageous for both parties.

-Do you think the next president of the United States will honor the JCPOA? Will the allies back Washington if the next U.S. president violates the JCPOA?

I guess the next President will hesitate to denounce the JCPOA without serious motivation, since the unilateral termination of the agreement would create a major crisis between the US on one side, the European Union, Russia and China on the other side. But there is always the risk that the new President applies the agreement grudginly, reluctantly, and this, of course, will tend to raise negative reactions on the other side, all of this beeing highly detrimental for the smooth implementation of the agreement. Sometimes, to come out of such difficult situations, one as to be « clever for both sides », as we say in French…

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