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The Ayatollah says He’s Losing Faith in Nuclear Deal, but Might be Strategic

Iran’s Supreme Ruler says he’s losing faith that European governments will be able to salvage the nuclear deal the Islamic Republic negotiated with the United States and some Western powers in 2015. After President Trump withdrew the U.S. from what he called “the worst deal ever,” the Ayatollah Khamenei gave the European Union the opportunity to save the agreement by guaranteeing all of the economic incentives it had been promised under the Obama-era pact. But the primary conditions Tehran tasked the EU with in order to save the agreement seem impossible to fill. The guarantee of Iranian oil sales is obfuscated by President Trump’s warning that as of November, any nation purchasing oil from the Islamic Republic will face American economic sanctions of their own. The other main demand, that the EU compensate for restrictions placed against Iran preventing the use of American banking institutions, is a virtual impossibility because it’s impossible to conduct international banking without American institutions being part of the money chain. Scapegoating has begun with the impeachment of two cabinet ministers who were part of the pro-agreement group that preached significant improvements to the Iranian economy if the deal were consummated; and warnings by the Ayatollah to President Rouhani and especially Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif that allowing them lead roles in negotiating the agreement was a mistake.