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November 4, 2015 12:59 pm

Mideast Expert: Iran Never Approved Nuclear Deal; Western Politicians and Media in Denial (INTERVIEW)

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MEMRI president Yigal Carmon. Photo: YouTube/Screenshot.

The president of the Middle East Media Research Institute, Yigal Carmon. Photo: YouTube/Screenshot.

“When people stand before the complete collapse of what they believe in, they enter a state of denial,” wrote Yigal Carmon, in a Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) article titled “The Emperor Has No Clothes.”

Carmon, MEMRI’s president, was referring to the response of politicians and journalists to the nuclear deal with Iran, which he claims was never approved by the Islamic Republic.

“What is mistakenly perceived as an agreement under the title of ‘Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action’ (JCPOA), that was concluded on July 14 in Vienna, and celebrated by the White House as an ‘historic agreement,’ is neither a contract nor even a real agreement between Iran and the P5+1,” he wrote. “It is a set of understandings and disputes compiled into a single document.”

“For example, regarding the sanctions, it stipulates that there will be a snap-back in case of Iranian violations, yet the next sentence says that Iran will regard such a snap-back as a violation of the agreement by the West,” Carmon told The Algemeiner on Tuesday.

Carmon then explained why he thinks that nobody is acknowledging the facts he spelled out in his piece – all proving that Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei “will never agree to a deal that doesn’t provide 100% of what he believes Iran deserves; even the 80% President Obama consented to was not satisfactory.”

According to Carmon, this reality is being ignored across the West — and political spectrum.

“The Left likes to think that a major event took place, thanks to the steadfast adherence to diplomacy touted by the Obama administration,” he said. “The Right is blinded by its hatred for Obama to the point that it can’t see beyond its own mantra about the relinquishment of American power, which leads to the false assumption that Iran received everything it wanted, and therefore has no reason not to embrace and sign off on the deal.”

But, he asserted, “Iran did not get everything it wanted. On the contrary, the JCPOA includes elements that Khamenei rejects, hands-down, such as keeping sanctions suspended, rather than lifted, which is like a sword hanging over his head.”

What this means from Iran’s point of view, Carmon explained, is that the West “has committed only to words, while the entire onus of action is on the Islamic Republic, which is required by the JCPOA to take a whole slew of concrete measures to curb its nuclear program.”

But even before those measures were to be taken, the JCPOA was scheduled to be “adopted” by all sides by October 19. That was more than three weeks ago, and nobody, Carmon pointed out — including Israel — “has made mention of the fact that the date came and went without Iran’s having approved the agreement.”

What Iran did approve, said Carmon, was a set of recommendations, turned into instructions in the form of a bill for its own government on how to handle and amend the JCPOA.

In his article, Carmon describes what was going on behind the scenes in the lead-up to “Adoption Day.”

The Western side showed its consent long before October 19; the self-effacing EU member countries did not even bother to discuss the agreement in their national parliaments – and thus confirmed their true status as nonentities. And while the US Congress did discuss it seriously, the agreement was allowed to proceed, via a convoluted process that was nonetheless legal and binding.

In Iran, however, following discussion in both its Majlis [parliament] and its Guardian Council, the JCPOA as concluded and announced on July 14 was not approved. The Majlis ratified something else – a set of recommendations to the government of Iran regarding how it should execute the JCPOA. This hardly constitutes approval of the original document. The Guardian Council, for its part, approved what the Majlis had done; Guardian Council secretary-general Ayatollah Jannati said, on Iranian TV, that his council had approved not the JCPOA but a plan for the government to secure Iran’s interests in executing it. Majlis speaker Ali Larijani said the same thing.

To put it simply, as Carmon illustrated, Iran is not on board with the Vienna document. “It’s only accepting of its own version of it,” Carmon said.

Asked why this even matters, now that businesses from countries everywhere are rushing to begin setting up shop in and with Tehran – and the nuclear program is proceeding as it was prior to negotiations — Carmon said that even this is a bit misleading.

“Every business deal in the works with Iran is pending,” he said. “No bank, even in Europe, can do anything until the US sanctions imposed by the legislative branch (i.e. Congress) are lifted. And this would require a change in the law, one which no other country can violate with impunity, since America heads the global banking system.”

According to Carmon, then, the money is not flowing into the Islamic Republic as much as everyone thinks.

“So why,” he asked rhetorically, “would Khamenei agree to the deal?”

“Money is not the determining factor for an ideological leader like Khamenei,” Carmon said. “He has sacrificed his people’s livelihood for years now, for the sake of his nuclear ambitions. He instructs the government to adopt an ‘economy of resistance’ to build itself up against the West, not with it.”

This turn of events came as no surprise to Carmon. But the lack of international media coverage of it appalls him.

“Only two newspapers in the West [the Wall Street Journal and The Jerusalem Post] wondered about the emperor’s new clothes,” he wrote. “But even they did not shout, ‘But he hasn’t any clothes on at all!’ They said only that he was missing a couple of accessories.”

This is in spite of the fact that:

Khamenei had spoken, banning outright any implementation of the JCPOA by Iran until his new conditions are met. The entire Iranian political system is hewing to this line… Everyone, that is, except for Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Khamenei’s political rival and head of Iran’s pragmatic camp, who in an interview published … by MEMRI openly challenged Khamenei and said that Iran should abide by what it undertook in the JCPOA.

Yet, said Carmon, the only media outlets that reported on the Rafsanjani interview were Iranian.

Worse still, he added, Haaretz’s World News Editor, Asaf Ronel, claimed on social media that the interview was a fake.

“BS. This is a report by the Iranian opposition w/o any support in real life – in short: he [Rafsanjani] simply didn’t say it,” Ronel wrote on Twitter.

As for the Israeli government, which has been a strong opponent of the deal, Carmon said he has no way of knowing to what extent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is aware that Iran has rejected it.

Does Carmon, who divides his time between his offices in Jerusalem and Washington, think the Jewish state has unwittingly dodged a proverbial bullet, owing to Iranian intransigence?

“The absence of an agreement is better for Israel,” he said. “But Israel’s problem is not so much agreements on paper as progress on the ground.”

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