US Hostile Moves Heighten Iran's Distrust

US Hostile Moves Heighten Iran's DistrustUS Hostile Moves Heighten Iran's Distrust

A former nuclear negotiator cautioned American opponents of the nuclear deal that their hostile attempts are fueling anti-US sentiments in Iran, whose cooperation, as the last standing pillar of regional stability, is vital.

Hossein Mousavian, in an article published by Al-Monitor on Wednesday, described Egypt, Turkey and Iran as "the regional wellsprings of civilization", noting that the first two are already teeming with domestic conflicts.

"The Middle East is on the verge of a historically unprecedented collapse … The continued stability of Iran is now all that stands between the region and all-consuming chaos," he said.

The former diplomat said while regional stability should be a priority for the international community, the forces seeking to undermine the historic pact wish to see Iran and the US back on the track to full-scale confrontation.

"The deal's opponents in Washington should similarly understand that efforts to undermine the accord only serve to reinforce in the minds of Iranians the notion that the United States cannot be trusted or engaged with on regional or other issues," Mousavian said.

"They should also be cognizant of the fact that Iran is the last pillar in the way of regional collapse … an outcome that would have existential consequences not only for regional countries but also for the West."

The accord, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, has been in force since January to lift sanctions against Tehran in return for curtailing its nuclear program.

Mousavian said Iran was entitled to relief from all nuclear-related sanctions as the International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed its full abidance by the agreed curbs on its nuclear work.

"In the six months since the implementation of the nuclear deal, Iran has accrued important benefits," he said, citing the doubling of its oil exports, attraction of nearly $3.5 billion in foreign investment, access to as much as $30 billion of its frozen assets, reconnection to the global money transfer network SWIFT and establishment of banking relations with more than 400 foreign banks.

  Twofold Problem

Mousavian said Tehran is facing a serious twofold problem in attracting foreign investment, funds and financing.

"First, a US ban on dollar clearance for Iran remains in effect, preventing foreign banks wishing to deal with Iran from conducting transactions in US dollars … Second, international banks and investors remain hesitant to deal with Iran due to fears that they will run afoul of remaining US sanctions or that new sanctions will be imposed down the road that may nullify their investments."

Adding to complications, US Republican lawmakers, who control the House of Representatives and Senate and unanimously opposed the deal, have introduced frequent anti-Iran measures to interfere with its implementation.

The ex-diplomat said if a Congress bill imposing new sanctions on Iran gets the approval of a future president or survives his or her veto, it would constitute a violation of the action plan, thereby isolating the US.

"Not only would the JCPOA-mandated commission charged with overseeing disputes in the deal's implementation blame the United States, but Iran would also have JCPOA-stipulated grounds to … engage in 'nuclear snapback' — reconstituting its previous nuclear capabilities," he said.

Mousavian concluded that measures by the diehard opponents of US-Iran engagement are part of a "moot effort" and a bluffing tactic to prevent Iran's full reintegration into the international community.

"Their real aim is not to directly sabotage the deal, but to create an atmosphere of uncertainty predicated on threatening new non-nuclear sanctions in order to scare away international banks and companies from doing business with Iran, thereby minimizing the incentives Iran has to comply with the deal," he added.