Tehran’s options to confront the growing international isolation and tougher sanctions on it have become very limited whether the Nuclear Deal to be cancelled or amended. The new US strategy towards Tehran’s disruptive activities and its interference in the affairs of the region has left the regime in Iran with very little options that will not allow it to continue its current policies. This new strategy will definitely have a serious impact on the cohesion of the Iranian regime and it will limit its interventionist and terrorist activities in the countries of the region.
As for how Tehran would deal with Trump’s policy, it is very likely for it to pursue a policy of complying and to accept the American demands regarding the renegotiation and modifying the Nuclear Deal in order to tackle the Revolutionary Guard’s missile tests and its terrorist activities as well as the human rights violations in Iran. The representative of the city of Borujerd in the Iranian Shura Council, Abbas Goudarzi, has revealed that there are indications of the acquiescence of some Iranian officials and their approval of a second or third Nuclear Deal after amending it by the United States. Goudarzi stressed in his statement to the news agency Tasnim of the Revolutionary Guard that there are some officials in Iran who put pressure on the regime to accept the American conditions under the pretext of the financial problems.
However, this option, which is Iran’s only one, would certainly lead to internal divisions and widen the gap of differences between the governing institutions in Iran and lead to a division inside the government and among the Iranian people. One party will be the reformist movement and most of the Iranian people. This side will prefer to comply with the American demands and accept the renegotiation of the Nuclear Deal because of the economic problems and the consequence risks and problems in case of the sanctions’ re-imposition on the country. The other party will be the hardline movement and the Revolutionary Guard, which will insist on rejecting the American demands, especially as some of the symbols of the leaders of the Revolutionary Guard and its affiliate economic companies, led by what is known in Iran as Khatam-al Anbiya was the financial beneficiary of the sanctions because of the profits it gains from smuggling and monopolizing the economic sectors and exploiting them to achieve personal interests of the symbols of the Iranian regime, especially clerics and leaders of the Revolutionary Guard.
However, the difficult situation inside Iran may push the head of the Iranian regime, Khamenei, and his advisers to adopt the opinion of the first party of complying to the United States and accepting its demands of amending the Nuclear Deal to avoid the re-imposition of all sanctions that were imposed before signing the Deal, as this, if happened, could lead to the collapse of the Iranian economy, and in turn, would threaten the Iranian regime itself and question its survival on the long term. However, this option will clash directly with the clerics, especially the populists’ ones who take the words of Khomeini as their constitution, and who have long been calling slogans in front of the people that they did not and will not bow to the United States which they call, the Great Satan.
In the Mullahs’ belief, whom they portrayed to the Iranian interior and did not think about the future, the obedience to the Great Satan (the United States) means deviating from the principles of the revolution that they are trying to consolidate at home and abroad by suppressing people, spreading terrorism and weakening regimes, as the only basis on which the Iranian regime is built, therefore, abandoning it means the dissolution of the regime of Wali el-Faqih and the beginning of its end.
Tehran’s other options are very limited, since it has no leverage over the United States to influence Trump’s decisions, except using some European voices that oppose the collapse of the Nuclear Deal. However, it seems that Iran’s perception of these voices is wrong, because those voices that support the survival of the Nuclear Deal also support punishing Iran and imposing sanctions on it because of its terrorist activities, violations of human rights and developing missiles that threaten the security of the region. Thus, if the sanctions were tightened, as was announced by the United States, the option of withdrawing from the Nuclear Deal by Iran would be catastrophic and costly on the political and economic level, which is unlikely. In case of stubbornness and leaving the Deal on the shelve by the Iranian side along with imposing new sanctions on Tehran, and its insistence on developing its missile program and its non-compliance with the terms of the Deal, the global and regional powers will be in front of urgent need to strike Iran’s nuclear and military facilities to prevent it from possessing a nuclear weapon that threatens the entire world and becomes a suicidal force and a source of global concern as is the case of North Korea!
Al Mezmaah Studies & Research Centre
26 October 2017