After the quarterly meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Director-General of the Agency announced on Saturday, September 16th, that the Iranian regime had revoked the licenses of several nuclear inspectors from the agency. This move has raised questions about the intentions of Ali Khamenei, the regime’s supreme leader, behind this decision.
The regime’s propaganda machine has attempted to portray the verbal understanding and agreement between the United States and this regime regarding the release of frozen assets and the exchange of prisoners as a strategic and ongoing understanding. They claim that the future of diplomatic relations between the United States and Iran will evolve within the framework of this understanding.
However, seasoned observers hold a different perspective. They argue that such an arrangement is unlikely to sustain itself because Khamenei has not demonstrated a willingness to conform to international norms in the context of his nuclear, missile, regional, and terrorism-related programs. He appears steadfast in pursuing his ambitions in these areas.
Hence, it was hardly surprising when the first signs of disagreement emerged. Despite the fact that the IAEA’s Board of Governors did not pass a resolution against the Iranian regime’s nuclear program in its recent meeting, the inherent clash between Western interests and Iran’s nuclear program compelled Western powers to issue threats.
On September 14th, the United States and the European Troika (Germany, France, and the United Kingdom) warned Iran that they would introduce a resolution against the regime within the IAEA if Iran did not demonstrate “immediate and essential cooperation” with the agency.
Following the quarterly meeting of the IAEA’s Board of Governors, Josep Borrell, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, declared that the European Troika would not lift the missile-related sanctions against Iran scheduled to expire in October of the current year.
Revoking the licenses of nuclear inspectors appears to be part of Khamenei’s message to the West, signaling that appeasement is a two-way street.
These two measures undoubtedly heighten the conflict between the West, especially the United States, and the regime. This comes at a time when Khamenei, following verbal understandings with the U.S., expected that the West would approach the nuclear program through negotiations. He believed they would employ the language of diplomacy, understanding, and accommodation in their interactions with him.
Khamenei’s prior and recent actions, including the release of dual-citizen or American hostages and a temporary relaxation of enrichment activities ahead of the recent meeting of the IAEA’s Board of Governors, were tactical moves aimed at preventing the issuance of a resolution. Yet, the overarching, long-term goal was to convey to the U.S. that better results could be achieved through understanding and appeasement of the regime.
The absence of a resolution in the recent meeting sent a clear signal to Khamenei, but the West swiftly demonstrated that it would not compromise on the issues of Iran’s nuclear and missile programs.
The threat of introducing a resolution following the IAEA’s Board of Governors meeting and the European Troika’s stance on not lifting missile sanctions rendered Khamenei restless and confronted him with a dilemma.
He had two options: to capitulate to the threat, continuing sanctions and yielding to Western demands on nuclear and missile-related matters; or to escalate the conflict with the objective of coaxing the West into adopting a more accommodating stance.
So far, it appears that Khamenei has chosen the latter path. His initial step in intensifying the conflict, albeit temporary, involved revoking the authorization of nuclear inspectors. This action was intended to convey the message to the West that confrontation begets confrontation and unity begets unity.
Khamenei’s government publicly attributed the revocation of nuclear inspectors’ licenses to the “efforts of the European Union and the United States to pass a resolution within the Board of Governors.” They also disclosed the nationality of these inspectors as French and German.
In essence, as some sanctions provisions of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) approach expiration, and in the midst of an American election year, Khamenei aimed to extract concessions from the Biden administration by temporarily reducing tensions. He sought to maintain his nuclear and missile programs clandestinely while securing a verbal agreement. This approach seemed aligned with the Biden administration’s preference for diplomatic solutions during the election campaign.
However, it appears that Khamenei’s strategy may have encountered resistance, prompting him to revoke the licenses of nuclear inspectors. In doing so, he conveyed a clear message to the United States: opt for a policy of leniency and appeasement over decisiveness and conflict escalation.
Source » irannewsupdate