President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Iranian nuclear deal leaves Iranian leaders with the grim realization that the era of endless concessions from the West is over and that their own grip on power continues to slip.
On Tuesday, Trump announced he was exiting the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. In the hours since, Iranian officials alternately vowed to keep honoring the deal with the remaining partners and to exit the JCPOA themselves and begin openly enriching uranium again.
Some officials burned a paper American flag inside the Iranian parliament.
“It’s very important to realize that after several decades of appeasing the regime in Tehran … finally we see that the president of the United States is actually declaring that all the lavish money that was made (available) to the regime by the previous administration was actually disastrous,” said Alireza Jafarzadeh, deputy director of the Washington office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran.
The NCRI has played a key role in uncovering details of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. And Jafarzadeh told WND and Radio America that the contrast in response to Iran from the past two administrations ought to be obvious.
“[Trump] has said [Iran] has funded its long reign of chaos and terror by plundering the wealth of its own people,” he said. “That is, of course, a sharp contrast with what we have seen before. I think that’s what the regime is sensing.”
Jafarzadeh added: “That era of gaining undue concessions from the outside world, from the West, is actually ending. They were pretty much getting away with everything they were doing and gaining concessions for their terrorism and development of nuclear weapons, and their missile program, all of that.”
Unrest is raging in Iran, mostly over rapidly deteriorating economic conditions. Unemployment is high, and so is inflation. Just two weeks ago, Jafarzadeh said the regime was desperate to keep the U.S. in the JCPOA.
Now, he said, the pressure inside Iran will intensify.
“The regime was already frightened,” Jafarzadeh said. “They were afraid of their own population, and then comes this new position by the United States that simply adds fuel to the fire that is already burning the regime through the uprisings in Iran.
“The regime’s economy is in shambles. There’s a huge amount of corruption going on. It’s very institutionalized corruption from top to bottom. The regime has not been able to contain its own population, [which] wants nothing but change.”
Jafarzadeh said the policies and excuses offered by the regime are also falling on deaf ears. He said protesters want Iran out of Syria and are chanting slogans such as “Leave alone Syria, think about us” and “Neither Gaza nor Lebanon, I give my life for Iran.”
Even blaming “The Great Satan” doesn’t work anymore. Jafarzadeh said Iranians in rural areas – typically the places that most strongly support the regime – are chanting lines such as “The enemy is right here, they wrongly say it’s America.”
Jafarzadeh said pressure is clearly building on the regime and that American sanctions will add even more.
“That simply makes things a lot worse,” he said. “It just gives a picture for the future of the regime, much more bleak than it was before.”