How did Imam Khamenei predict the failure of JCPOA?

Last week, the US rejected and withdrew from the nuclear deal (JCPOA) in a self-prompted decision, on its own. JCPOA was held less than three years ago among Iran and the P5+1, and its final resolution is not evident. Now it is a good time to review the statements made by the Leader of the Revolution, study the process of how negotiations started, and the opinion of the Leader about this deal until today.

  • Why was Iran reluctant to negotiate with the US?

Years after the Islamic Revolution, the Islamic Republic of Iran is still reluctant to negotiate with the US, despite the demands on part of the U.S. The Leader of the Revolution elaborates on the reasons by reminding us of two experiences: "Of course, this proposal is not new. In the past, previous US administrations made the same offer, and we have always rejected their offer of negotiations. There are many good reasons for this, but one obvious reason is that negotiations conducted under threats and pressure are not, in fact, negotiations. It is not acceptable if one side of the negotiations threatens and pressurizes the other side; like imperialists, imposing sanctions and using an iron fist and at the same time declaring that the two sides should sit at a table and negotiate. --This does not qualify as negotiations. We will not engage in this sort of negotiations with anyone. America has always entered the arena of negotiations in this manner.

We also have two short-term experiences in this regard. One is related to the issues surrounding Iraq. I said in a public address that those negotiations were acceptable for us, and our officials went ahead with the negotiations. The other is related to an issue which was described by the Americans as an "important security matter" in a message: this happened during previous presidential terms. Our government officials participated in two or three rounds of negotiations. In the course of negotiations, the Americans usually resort to bullying, whenever they realize that they will lose in a logical argument, or whenever they realize that they cannot present an acceptable and logical argument. And because the Islamic Republic is not affected by their bullying, they unilaterally call off negotiations. What kind of negotiating technique is this? We have already been through this: the same thing happened in both cases...Yes, we are ready for negotiations, but not with the USA. The reason is that unlike ordinary negotiators, Americans do not enter negotiations in an honest manner. Americans enter negotiations the way imperialists do. We will not negotiate with any country that makes imperialistic gestures!"

Aug 18, 2010


  • Who asked for negotiations?

Now that JCPOA is rejected by the US, it is interesting to know, which country actually asked for negotiations.

Ayatollah Khamenei: "I would like to present a short history of these negotiations. Our negotiations with the Americans are, in fact, different from our negotiations with P5+1. The Americans, themselves, have asked for these negotiations; their proposals date back to the time of the tenth administration. So, negotiations with the Americans began before the arrival of the current administration. They made a request and chose an intermediary. One of the honorable personalities in the region came to Iran and met with me. He said that the American president had called him, asking him to help. The American president said to him that they want to resolve the nuclear matter with Iran and that they would lift sanctions. Two fundamental points existed in his statements: one was that he said they would recognize Iran as a nuclear power; second, he said that they would lift sanctions over the course of six months. Through that intermediary, he asked us to negotiate with them and to resolve the matter. I said to that honorable intermediary that we do not trust the Americans and their statements. He said, "Try it out once more," and we said, "Very well, we will try it this time too." This was how negotiations with the Americans began."

Jun 23, 2015


  • What was the Leader of the Islamic Revolution's prediction on the outcome of the negotiations?

As the sanctions continued and the new eleventh administration was put in place in Iran, some believed that the nuclear issue and oppressive sanctions against Iran could be resolved and put an end to through negotiations. The Leader of the Islamic Revolution, firstly, referred to the untruthfulness of the US: "We regard the government of the United States of America as an untrustworthy government. It is an arrogant, unreasonable, and mischievous government [...] we do not trust the government of the USA. We do trust our own officials, and we are optimistic about them. We want them to take firm and careful steps by considering all things. They should not forget about our national interests, even for a single moment."

October 5, 2013

But, he analyzes the outcome of the negotiations as the following: “At the start of the New Year, I said, in holy Mashhad, that there is nothing wrong with negotiations on particular issues. But, I also said that I do not trust these negotiations, and I am not optimistic about them either. However, if they want to negotiate they can; and, by Allah's favor, we will not suffer a loss from loss because of these negotiations."

In the same speech, made in 2013, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution predicts failure of the JCPOA as a result of the US's abjuration: "We will not suffer a loss as a result of today's ongoing negotiations. Of course, as I said, I am not optimistic and I do not think that these negotiations will produce the results which the Iranian nation expects. However, it is an experience. This will broaden and strengthen the experience of the Iranian nation. It is alright to hold these negotiations, but it is necessary for the Iranian nation to be vigilant."

Nov 3, 2013


  • Was the animosity of the US resolvable through negotiations?

Throughout negotiations, the US, and some within Iran tried to convince others that agreement at any price was the only possible way for the Islamic Republic: "Some may believe that if we sit at the negotiation table with Americans, many problems will be solved. Well, we knew that was not the case, and the events during the past year proved this reality during another time.
In the past, there was no relation between Iranian and US officials. However, during the last year, due to delicate nuclear issues, and the experience that was suggested, the officials of the foreign ministry started to have contacts, meetings, and negotiations [with U.S. officials]. Nevertheless, not only were these relations in no way beneficial but also at this time, the US adopted a more aggressive and humiliating tone; and they expressed more extravagant expectations in public tribunes."

August 13, 2014


  • Was the Obama administration committed to the agreement?

Despite that the JCPOA was signed and enrichment activities came to a halt, in Iran, the sanctions by the US and other European governments were not wholly removed: it was neither realized within the 6-month delay as stated in the deal. Moreover, new sanctions were introduced against Iran: the most important of which was the renewal of previous sanctions, over the next ten years, by the Obama administration. In this regard, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution states: "The administration that exists now – the current administration of the USA – is acting against its commitments and the decisions that were taken into consideration collectively – whose results were announced to us by their officials at that time. I believe it is necessary to say, now, that they have carried out many unnecessary measures; they have committed many violations, not only one or two violations: the most recent one is this ten-year renewal of sanctions. If these sanctions are renewed, this is definitely a violation of the JCPOA.”

Nov 23, 2016

In addition, he regarded this issue as arising from the weaknesses of the JCPOA and, also, from too much trust on the Western governments by the Rouhani administration: "Negotiations [regarding JCPOA] should have been conducted with care and precision, in such a manner that every little move Iran makes would not be considered as a violation of the Bar-Jaam [the JCPOA]; meanwhile, this is not the case for every wrong move that the other side makes! This is unjust: this should not happen! This occurs due to lack of trust in and lack of attention to domestic powers. This state of affairs happens due to reliance on the other side and foreign elements."

 Sep 21, 2017

Mentioning some of the strategies used by the Obama administration to avoid the commitments of the US in the JCPOA, he reminded his audience: "Today, the officials in charge of our own diplomacy and those who were present in the nuclear negotiations, from the first day to the last, are saying that America has broken its promises. With its calm appearance and with the soft and smooth tongue of its officials, USA is damaging us from behind the scenes: it is preventing our country from establishing economic relations with other countries; this is being said by officials in charge of the Bar-Jaam. Now, this is something that I've been, repeatedly, saying for about a year or a year and a half ago. I've been saying that the American government cannot be trusted; it was difficult for some individuals to accept this; but, today, our officials are saying this too.

Just last week, our honorable negotiators met with those in charge of the other side of things in Europe. Iranian officials mentioned similar points that I have made about the mishandling of JCPOA to them, and they [Western delegates] had no response. Our negotiators made it known that the West has dishonored many of their stipulations; that they have committed wrongdoings. They [the Western negotiators] have failed to do what they were supposed to do: they have stabbed us in the back, but they had nothing to say. Six months have passed since the Bar-Jaam was signed, but no tangible and palpable effect has been felt in the lives of the Iranian people: this is while the goal of the Bar-Jaam was to lift sanctions. The end goal of negotiates was to lift oppressive sanctions. Was there a goal other than this? Regardless, sanctions have not been lifted.

Now they say that things are improving, gradually, little by little. Was this all about little by little? On that day, officials said to both us and the people, that in these negotiations, the goal is to lift the sanctions "at once!" when Iran fulfils its commitments. In other words, the goal was to eliminate an oppressive and vicious obstacle, which the USA created on the Iranian peoples' road to fulfilment."

Aug 1, 2016


  • Why are all the governments in the US reluctant to comply with commitments implied by the JCPOA?

"Pay careful attention and listen attentively. You, the youths of our country, and all those who will take in this speech, later on, pay careful attention because this is one of our most pressing matters, today. The USA is one major concern for us. The US [Government] is our [Iran's] enemy. Their enmity is not directed at this ordinary man or the leaders of the governing body: it is directed at the Islamic Republic which the Iranian nation has accepted, today, and is moving forward on its path. Enmity is enmity [it is what it is]. And, it is not particular towards this human or that one. The US government and the American system were always enemies of the Islamic Republic: they were on bad terms with the Islamic system since its emergence; as a result, they've been trying to overthrow it. Even the previous administration – the Obama administration – lied when they claimed, through letters sent to me that it was not trying to overthrow the Islamic Republic of Iran. That administration, too, was trying to overthrow the Islamic Republic.

Issues surrounding the JCPOA and other such issues are merely scapegoats [for other motives]. When the subject of nuclear energy and sanctions had just lifted off, there were some outstanding people and high-ranking officials who came to me and asked, "Why do you insist on nuclear development? What is the reason for this insistence?" They said: "The Americans are making excuses and displaying malice towards us, so let's just put this aside to prevent worries." They were making such statements; of course, those statements were out of line: nuclear energy is something that our country needs. I have said this many times: in a few years, we will need 20,000 megawatts of electricity to supply our people with adequate energy: the math been calculated by officials in charge of such important matters regarding Iran. We will need this amount of energy.

Well, how else should we acquire the energy we need? Some say, “You have oil today.” Oil is not everlasting! The day when there will not be any oil available to the country, or that day when we will not have very much of it left, should we begin to pursue nuclear energy and nuclear resources then? Should wait for that day to arrive? Will future generations not curse us for refusing to work on this matter when we should have?

It’s senseless to ask: "What do we need nuclear energy for?" Simply put, we need it! Even if we didn't need it, I have said to those [anti-nuclear] individuals that these excuses made by the US government, the sanctions that they impose, and their enmity towards us has nothing to do with our maintenance of nuclear energy: they create excuses for other purposes. If we put this matter aside, they will find another means to express their enmity towards us. They [US and supporters] were saying that this was not true, but now you have witnessed it as fact.

Through the JCPOA, we complied with our opponents over the nuclear issue; the way they wanted us to; but enmities did not come to an end. Currently, they are bringing up our presence in Middle Eastern regions and our missile capabilities. If you announce as soon as tomorrow that we will not be pursuing missile advancements any longer, or we will not be creating missiles whose ranges exceed a certain distance, some dilemmas may come to an end; but, another issue will arise, and they will highlight some other problem they have with us. Their opposition is over more fundamental issues: they are opposed to the [entity of the] Islamic Republic."

May 9, 2018

  • What will be the outcome of the JCPOA?

By the US rejecting the agreement, the outcome of the JCPOA is not evident. Though the European countries involved in the deal have expressed their desire to stick with the deal without the US, we should consider if it is possible, at all, for the European businesses to continue the JCPOA, independent of the US?

The Leader's recommendation in this matter is as follows: "As for JCPOA, I've said from day one that the US cannot be trusted: I've said this during private and public gatherings with the people; I've said this more emphatically in private meetings. I've mentioned to government officials that they should be very leery of them [the USA]! If you want to sign agreements, you should request the necessary guarantees; only then should you talk and sign agreements with them. I've also said that they should not take their [Members of JCPOA] word on it. One thing that I've insisted upon, in particular, were the conditions for signing the agreement. I said, ‘We will accept the agreement under certain conditions.’ Yes, there were some conditions; one of the conditions was that the US president should sign, in his own writing, for the lifting of sanctions: this was just one of our conditions.--It was one of the conditions that I requested. Well, the honorable officials made serious efforts; they sweated profusely over it, but they failed and it did not happen. The result is what you are coming to witness now: two and a half years have passed, we have fulfilled all of our commitments, but this pompous man comes along and says: ‘I do not accept this agreement. I want to withdraw from it, and I will do this or I will do that.’

Now, it was mentioned that we want to stick to the JCPOA with these three European countries. I do not trust these three countries, and I ask you not to trust them either! If you want to sign agreements, you should require guarantees in return–real and practical guarantees. Otherwise, tomorrow, they will do the same thing that the US did, but in some other way…
If you get guarantees from them, in a way that they can be trusted, then that is good: you can continue your progress. However, if you cannot get definite guarantees – and I think it is very unlikely that you can get these guarantees – then it is not possible to move forward and continue like this any longer."

May 9, 2018


  • What is the solution?

Describing the current situation, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution mentions some practical recommendations for Iran to follow its path toward progress: "We, ourselves, have witnessed the results of relying on foreigners regarding the JCPOA. We trusted foreigners on the issue of nuclear negotiations, but we did not benefit from our trust! Reliance on foreigners is a dangerous practice. Reliance on foreigners helps them to gradually dominate the fate of the country with all sorts of methods. Foreigners should not be relied on."

Feb 18, 2018

"What is important to our enemies is waging an economic war. America’s war chamber against us is comprised of the US Department of the Treasury, which is the same as the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance. That department constitutes the war chamber against us. Well, what is one way to confront this economic war [waged against Iran]? The way [to overcome] is to tend to our domestic economy. When our economy is dependent, problems arise. Of course, I do not believe that our economic relations with the world should or could be cut off. It is obvious that this cannot be done. Today, the entire world is connected and linked with other parts of the earth, but reliance on areas outside our borders is completely erroneous. We should not be reliant upon them [other countries].

Our officials can go and interact with the world expressing their intelligence, acumen, correct policies, proper follow-up and seriousness. The world is huge, and it is not only comprised of the U.S. and a few European countries. The world is vast. They can go and establish relations as much as they see fit, but they should not pin their hopes on any foreign force."

Apr 30, 2018

In this regard, he invites the officials to give attention to a particular area in the world: “In the area of foreign policy, we should prefer the East to the West, and our neighbors to distant countries. We should prefer the nations and countries that have common interests with our own: this is one of our priorities in the present time."

Feb 18, 2018

About the foreign economy, he also indicates the omission of the dollar in international trade between two or more parties in order to nullify the US sanctions: "By ignoring the negative propaganda of the enemies, that seek to weaken relations between countries, we can nullify US sanctions, using methods such as eliminating the dollar and replacing it with national currencies in transactions between two or more parties; thus, we isolate the Americans."

Nov 1, 2017

By acting based on these principles, Iran can out beat the US in the economic war and nullify the US sanctions.



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  • 2018-05-19 14:24
    Jazakallah... great analysis and showing true colors of US to the world. One must read, especially US /Israel supporters.
  • 2018-05-19 14:45
    Interesting but I think not only the great leader of Iran predicting this alot of people did.