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EghtesadOnline: The path chosen by Iran to salvage the nuclear agreement could prove to be "difficult" and "costly", but seems to be the only option for the country at this juncture, a political analyst says.

In a recent article published by local economic daily Donya-e-Eqtesad, Amir Ali Abolfath added that Iran did its best to address the situation surrounding the nuclear deal after the US exit through what is sometimes referred to as "strategic patience". 

"Iran waited for a year to see if the Europeans could offset the impact of the US pullout from the nuclear deal and secure Iran's interests. But it transpired that the Europeans, regardless of whether they could or couldn’t, failed to fulfill Iran's demands and were not able to continue to abide by their commitments under JCPOA without facing harsh US sanctions," he said, using the abbreviation for the 2015 nuclear accord's formal name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. 

Washington's major European allies opposed last year's decision by US President Donald Trump to abandon the deal, under which international sanctions on Iran were lifted in return for Tehran accepting curbs on its nuclear program, Financial Tribune reported.

The Europeans are struggling to set up the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges or INSTEX to shield at least some of Iran's economy from sweeping US sanctions. 

However, the mechanism would initially only deal in products such as pharmaceuticals and foods, which are not subject to US sanctions. Iran has said the arrangement must include oil sales or provide substantial credit facilities for it to be beneficial.



Nuclear Compliance 

Abolfath, an expert on American affairs, says US pressure and Europe's failure to guarantee Iran the trade and investment dividends of the deal left the country with no alternative but to scale back its nuclear commitments. 

“The move is meant to help create the lost balance in the deal and reduce US pressure on the country, which may prompt Trump to change his Iran policy,” he said.

"I believe that it is not possible for Iran to find relief from pressure without any practical measure, particularly since the tough conditions set by the current US administration show that its offer of dialogue is not sincere. The case of North Korea also shows that even striking up a friendship with the US president or socializing with him does not translate into lifting or reducing sanctions." 

Abolfath noted that for the same reason, Tehran does not seem to have many options in a situation where Trump's attitude and conflicting voices from his administration have not left much room for "optimism". 

"Although I do not want to make any recommendation, I would like to reiterate that the path chosen by Iran seems to be the only option for the Islamic Republic, despite it being very costly and difficult," he said. 


Costly Iran nuclear agreement option Nuclear Stance Amir Ali Abolfath