A heated debate is underway in Tehran over whether or not to remain in the JCPOA following the US withdrawal. President Rouhani believes the cost of leaving is too high, but hardline Iranian conservatives – who never wanted the deal to begin with – want out. It remains to be seen what Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei will decide.
Negotiating as an option to resolve the political and security crisis between the United States and Iran, put forward by President Donald Trump without any preconditions, shocked everyone, nevertheless it came according to secret data, information and letters, as Abdulrahman Al-Rashed underlined in his article “Trump’s surprise: Negotiating with Rouhani,” especially since Omani mediators are most likely acting behind curtains for fear of the deterioration of security which can affect the stability of shipping in the Strait of Hormuz.
Message to Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, and Tel Aviv: Not to worry. US President Donald J. Trump has no intention of unconditionally meeting his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani. On the contrary: Trump’s surprise announcement that he is willing to talk to Rouhani is likely part of a plan formulated almost a year ago by National Security Advisor John R. Bolton before he returned to government service.
The 39th anniversary of the revolution in Iran promises to be a sombre occasion for the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, who was forced to acknowledge the mass discontent in the country as result of the recent protests and received letters from two dissident insiders accusing him of negligence and empire building.
Massoumeh Torfeh is a Research Associate at London School of Economics (LSE), specialising in Iran and Afghanistan.
For the past decade February, part of which coincides with the month of Bahman on the Iranian calendar, has been marked by febrile political activities in Iran under the Khomeinist regime. February 1 marks the anniversary of the late ayatollah’s return to Tehran after 16 years in exile.
Amir Taheri was the executive editor-in-chief of the daily Kayhan in Iran from 1972 to 1979. He has worked at or written for innumerable publications, published eleven books, and has been a columnist for Asharq Al-Awsat since 1987. Mr. Taheri has won several prizes for his journalism, and in 2012 was named International Journalist of the Year by the British Society of Editors and the Foreign Press Association in the annual British Media Awards.