Name? Hassan Rohani
Westphalian identity? Iranian
Why is he in the news? Three days before an Iranian deadline to restrict UN inspections on Iran’s nuclear facilities, Hassan Rohani called his German counterpart Angela Merkel to discuss diplomatic solutions, emphasising the importance of actions over words. “This time, only action. If we see action from the opposite side, we will act too,” stated Rohani.
Why do we care? Today, the foreign ministers of Germany, France, the UK and the US are meeting to discuss reviving the 2015 JCPOA. The likelihood of anything coming out of this meeting pleasing the Iranians is low. The Biden Administration already announced that Iran needs to reduce its efforts of enriching uranium below the levels agreed upon in the JCPOA before they would consider lifting the sanctions imposed by the Trump administration.
Why should you care? Rohani’s words make sense. Why would anyone uphold an agreement that has been broken by the other side? Especially if then you have to come back and give even more than before. Nobody would agree to this and that is not how diplomacy happens. So on our how much should you care scale, upholding diplomatic values scores a 9/10.
Who else cares? Benjamin Netanyahu. President Biden has finally called Netanyahu four weeks after his inauguration. Analysts believe he sent a message of being a pro-Israel president but not necessarily a pro-Netanyahu president. The two leaders discussed the revival of the JCPOA but also that Biden would not revoke all of Trump’s actions such as moving the US embassy to Jerusalem. Any further comments? Not only is Iran’s deadline putting time pressure on diplomatic talks but also upcoming presidential elections in Iran. Moderate Rohani will not be running again (due to a two-term limit) and the chances of a hardliner being elected are high. That result partnered with hardliner Ayatollah Khamenei holding the real power, chances of reviving the JCPOA will decline further.