0129 GMT February 17, 2019
'Support in Europe for JCPOA appears to be strong. Some may be using [US president Donald] Trump to leverage Iran on its missile program, but I doubt that would jeopardize the nuclear deal,' said Tirman in an interview with Persia Digest, IRNA reported.
Commenting on Trumps attempt to kill the deal, he said, 'Trump seems determined to withdraw the US from JCPOA. That was a campaign promise. If he does, Iran would be wise to remain in the agreement with the other signatories, and in that case, Trump has forfeited his leverage. I don’t think sanctions of the kind that existed before could be re-imposed.'
Speculating on Iran's reaction to possible withdrawal of the US from the deal, Tirman said, 'I don’t think JCPOA will be destroyed, even with US withdrawal. But if that comes to pass, much will depend on whether sanctions are renewed. We would return to the period before [President Hassan] Rouhani was elected, and any hope for cooperation on Syria and other difficult issues will be lost. Iran would be wise to keep its nuclear program non-threatening, because a robust nuclear program with high levels of enrichment would be the only plausible pretext for war from the US or Israel.'
John Tirman is the Executive Director & Principal Research Scientist at MIT Center for International Studies and has written numerous articles on US-Iran relations.