He had wanted even more concessions.
“Khamenei Capitulates To Pragmatic Camp, Accepts JCPOA Without The Preconditions He Outlined In October 2015 Letter To President Rohani,” by Y. Carmon and A. Savyon, MEMRI, February 3, 2016:
According to the IAEA report released January 16, 2016, Iran has implemented its commitments under the JCPOA. This means that Iran has not refrained from meeting its obligations, despite Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s nine preconditions, which he set out in an October 21, 2015 letter to Iranian President Hassan Rohani. Obviously, Khamenei, the head of Iran’s ideological camp which had opposed the JCPOA, has capitulated to the pragmatic camp which demanded that the JCPOA be honored and that Iran fulfill its commitments under it, with no further conditions.
How Can Khamenei’s Capitulation Be Explained?
One explanation for Khamenei’s capitulation over Iran’s implementation of the JCPOA is that the ideological camp has, in recent months, found itself fighting on several fronts simultaneously:
- The deteriorating Iranian economy and the need for sanctions relief.
- The increasing conflict with the pragmatic camp in advance of the upcoming elections for the Majlis and Assembly of Experts; as noted, the pragmatic camp has insisted that Iran implement the JCPOA.
- Difficulties in Iran’s multi-front war against the Sunni camp of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan, the Gulf states, Egypt, and Jordan.
- Additionally, Iran’s failure to carry out its implementation commitments could have placed Khamenei in direct conflict with the West.
In light of all this, Khamenei has chosen not to confront both the West and the Sunni world at the same time, focusing on Iran’s domestic front. By doing so, Khamenei has recruited the entire Western world, particularly the U.S., to the side of Shi’ite Iran in its struggle against the Sunni threat against it.
Khamenei’s main struggle at this stage is domestic: there is a need to strengthen the ideological camp, and through it, the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran, so that in future it can operate more freely on the nuclear front as well.
Another explanation for this capitulation is that Khamenei’s position was from the outset for purposes of bargaining, with the aim of maximizing Iran’s gains under the JCPOA. Ultimately, the West enabled Iran to carry out its commitments in a way that benefited Iran more than the original JCPOA did, as follows:
What Iran Has Achieved With The JCPOA
With the JCPOA, Iran has achieved the following:
- International recognition as a nuclear state, with the right to enrich uranium and to trade in nuclear products, as it maintains its membership in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). This is in spite of its years of striving for nuclear weapons, as was recently reaffirmed by the IAEA’s December 2, 2015 report on the Iranian nuclear project’s Possible Military Dimensions (PMD).
- Legalization and upgrade of its nuclear program, and at the same time the lifting of most of the sanctions put in place because of its pursuit of nuclear weapons. In return, it is subject to a series of restrictions extending its breakout time, that is, the time it needs to produce enough highly enriched uranium to make one nuclear weapon, from two months to one year.
- Upgrade to a regional superpower with nuclear capabilities, and strengthening of the resistance axis, which it leads. This comes at the height of a regional Sunni-Shi’ite struggle against the U.S.’s traditional allies – Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, Turkey, Jordan, and Egypt.
- Even the nuclear restrictions imposed on Iran involve substantial benefits that upgrade and industrialize its nuclear program….