American exit from JCPOA and the future of Iran's nuclear programme

Zafarul-Islam Khan on the American exit from JCPOA and the future of Iran's nuclear programme. Following are his answers to questions posed by the Iranian news agency, IRNA.

What is India's position on the (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) JCPOA

So far, officially, India has been silent on this issue. It has interests with both parties and seemingly it cannot anger any of them. India needs American support on the global level and also in terms of technological help while it needs Iranian oil on favourable terms and also wants to keep Iran on its side to counter Pakistan and to be able to freely operate in Afghanistan and Central Asia.

What is the significance of the JCPOA in establishing and maintaining peace and security in the region?

JCPOA, no doubt, established peace for some time for Iran and lifted the western economic and political pressure on it but I, personally, do not think that JCPOA is the right prescription for the problems Iran faces globally and regionally. The world politics is merciless. It respects only the powerful. You can see this in the American treatment of the nuclear power, North Korea, and American threats to Iran which still does not have the deterrent nuclear power. The only way for Iran to earn global respect is to gain nuclear power and use it only as a deterrent. There is no respect for the weak in this world and Iran will not be an exception however good be its intentions and behaviour.

What are the threats US exit of the JCPOA could pose to the regional and international peace and security

The American exit from JCPOA poses a short-term problem for the regional peace and security but it also offers Iran a window of opportunity to go nuclear and once that happens all these theatrics will lose their sheen. Iran can say to the world that we honoured our part of the agreement but since the other side chose to dishonour it, we feel free to pursue what is in our best interests.

How do you view Iran’s full compliance with the IAEA regulations as repeatedly stated by the nuclear watchdog

It is well known that Iran has been abiding by its obligations meticulously and that the IAEA has been certifying this periodically but good behaviour of the weak is meaningless in this cruel world. The west, especially the US, have treated other countries most shabbily until they acquired the deterrent (nuclear) power. Look at the examples of the western treatment of China and India before they acquired nuclear power. Taiwan was occupying China’s permanent seat in the UN Security Council until the latter went nuclear. India too earned respect once it became a nuclear power.

How do you see Iran’s policies and strategies to enhance regional peace and security as compared with those adopted and followed by a number of other regional countries, including India

The Iranian conduct has been exemplary despite all the regional and international provocations. Iran should continue with the same cautious and wise policies and should not give a handle to others, especially the US, to hurt it and attack it. A belligerent Iranian policy will not serve Iranian interests. Iran should cultivate good relations with all its immediate neighbours so that they do not fall prey to American pressures to join its campaign against Iran.

Do you agree that disavowing the JCPOA by any country would set a bad example in the international arena for neglecting international regulations and international conventions.

Iranshould not appear disowning JCPOA but since the main player is no longer interested in it, Iran should exploit the situation and restart its nuclear programme.