By Pooya Stone
The Iranian government is under maximum international pressure and is grappling with incessant tensions. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, and Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani, are trying to find a breakthrough; therefore, they sent Foreign Minister Zarif to Europe in order to beg Europeans to start the INSTEX, the European financial mechanism for bypassing the U.S. sanctions. Yet Iran's state-run press agencies compared this to UN “Food for Oil” plan for Iraq.
On the other hand, as international pressure grows, infighting among the regime’s ranks escalates. One notable case is the recent dispute between the two former chiefs of Iran’s judiciary, Sadeq Amoli Larijan and Mohammad Yazdi. Khamenei, in order to stop everything from collapsing, broke his silence after one month and told Rouhani’s government: “Don’t be afraid I’ve got some reports that the enemy is afraid."
On August 22, however, Rouhani took to state TV and pleaded the U.S. government for negotiations! He said that following the popular uprisings at end of 2017 and beginning of 2018, the U.S. administration, receiving some signals, launched a psychological and then an economic war against Iran.
On August 28, 2018, following the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 Iran’s nuclear deal, Rouhani confessed that the 2018 popular uprisings encouraged Trump to withdraw from the nuclear deal. Rouhani also blamed U.S. for being responsible for what he called “incidents” of 2018. These comments of course once again showed the absolute confusion of the Iranian government.
Referring to the destructive force that is taking down the regime, he fearfully said, “This year (2019), as the sanctions grow tougher than before, they’re using all of their facilities against the Islamic republic of Iran”.
Elsewhere, Rouhani expressed concern about the international coalition for protecting the strait of Hormuz and said: “He (President Trump) says if I would care about the oil, I would think about the security, and while I didn’t want to take oil, others should come and stabilize the security of the strait. We don’t believe in that; we say that international waters should be secure for everyone."
In the same remarks, he begged the U.S.: “What did you gain from the sanctions? Imagine that we export 1,000 less barrels of oil. What will you achieve from that? What?... You’re closing all paths in the future…. What are you doing? What is your goal? Are you trying to change the regime with pressure?”
Rouhani, also complained about the isolation of his government, with the fact that his oil tankers have no security, saying: “It’s important that all waterways from the Red Sea to Mediterranean and the Gibraltar are secured for everyone!”
” The only world power is using all his power to control and block our oil exportation and shipping industry,” Rouhani lamented.
So, the question is, is it possible for Iran to find a solution and change the situation?
The truth is that they have no way out. On August 22, 2019 the state-run daily “Iran” wrote, “France suggested to Rouhani that they must accept that the sunset clause in the JCPOA will be revoked. This means that some of the restrictions will remain forever. And on the other hand, they must sit at the negotiation desk about their ballistic missiles and the meddling in the Middle East.”
Iran’s regime is in a deadlock. Will it negotiate with the U.S. and collapse from within or continue its belligerence and chance to bear increasing international pressure.