I.R.G.C. Deputy Chief: Iran Better Off without Nuclear Deal

By Ahmad Majidyar | Fellow and Director of IranObserved Project - The Middle East Institute | Sep 29, 2017
I.R.G.C. Deputy Chief: Iran Better Off without Nuclear Deal

The deputy chief commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards (I.R.G.C.), Brigadier General Hossein Salami, said on Thursday that the Trump administration will not be able to seek concessions from the Islamic Republic by threatening to abandon the Iran nuclear deal. Speaking at a public gathering in Isfahan Province to commemorate an I.R.G.C. member killed in Syria, Salami played down the significance of the nuclear accord and claimed that the Islamic Republic will be better off without it. “Our existence is independent from J.C.P.O.A. If J.C.P.O.A. is the only option for you, it is actually not an option for us,” he said referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or the nuclear deal Iran signed with world powers two years ago. “The world is much bigger than America and Iran is much greater and more powerful than the extent of power the Global Arrogance has set to counter us,” he continued. Salami stressed that like all its predecessors, the Trump administration will fail to “defeat” the Islamic Republic.

Salami further stressed that Tehran will not succumb to Washington’s pressure regarding Iran’s controversial missile program or regional ambitions. "They intend to disarm us, but we tell them that whoever is afraid of our missiles should shelter," he said.

Comment: Salami’s remarks come as the Trump administration has hinted that it may not certify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal next month. The administration argues that Iran has violated the spirit of the deal by continuing its controversial ballistic missile program and destabilizing role in the Middle East. U.S. Ambassador to U.N. Nikki Haley has also raised the concern that the nuclear accord’s sunset provisions allow Iran to resume its nuclear program with full speed in less than a decade. She has also pushed the International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A.) to inspect Iran’s military sites to ensure Tehran does not run a covert nuclear program – a demand Iranian leaders have vehemently rejected. If the administration refuses to certify Iran’s compliance next month, Congress will have 60 days to decide whether or not to re-impose nuclear-related sanctions on Iran – a move that would mark the end of the deal, or at least from U.S. side.

Proponents of de-certification suggest that such an action would give Washington leverage to pressure European powers – particularly the three signatories of the deal France, Germany and Britain – to address loopholes in the deal as well as concerns about Iran’s non-nuclear activities.

But Iranian leaders have ruled out renegotiating the deal. While the Rouhani government appears willing to stay in the deal despite U.S. potential withdrawal and work with European countries and other willing international partners to “isolate” the U.S., it will come under heavy pressure from hardliners and I.R.G.C. leaders who opposed the accord at the first place. President Rouhani has warned in the past that Tehran might resume high-level enrichment if U.S. re-imposes sanctions on the Islamic Republic.