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Trump's threat to nuclear agreement unites Iranian factions

The government of moderate president Rohaní and the Pasdarán, who he criticized in his campaign, face the US common

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Trump's threat to nuclear agreement unites Iranian factions

The image of Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, embracing General Mohammad Ali Jafari, chief of Guardians of Revolution (Pasdarán), this week, said it all. President Donald Trump's threat not to renew Iran's exemption from sanctions provided for in nuclear agreement has served to bring regime's toughies, who see supreme enemy in US, and pragmatic sector, which supports process of rapprochement undertaken by E L President Hasan Rohaní.

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"We have a similar posture, but different ways of expressing it," said Jafari, according to several of local newspapers that on Tuesday collected on front page photo of his hug to Zarif, both smiling. The message to Trump was clear: with us it is not worth divide and conquer. It is also significant if it is remembered that Rohaní was re-elected last May with a campaign that defended opening to outside and criticized Pasdarán for supporting its conservative rival.

Trump's threat has reinforced conservative argument that US cannot be trusted, who have defended both founder of Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khomeini, as his successor and current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Apart from fact that conservatives and moderates make pineapples in face of external pressures, both sides agree that both ballistic missile program and regional interventions that Washington and its Arab allies consider are Destabilizing Middle East, y are vital to defending Iranian interests. Hence analysts see little margin of negotiation.

The powerful general had warned US in advance that introduction of new sanctions against Iran and inclusion of guardians on its list of terrorist organizations would not leave m idly. For m, it would be tantamount to unilateral withdrawal of agreement, which limited scope of nuclear programme in exchange for lifting of economic sanctions. "The Guardians will consider U.S. military worldwide, especially in Middle East, as equal to ISIS," Jafari said before body's strategic Council. It was a very hard language for someone with whom y have tacitly shared fight against Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria for last three years.

"It may be dismissed as a military bluster, but an increase in tensions between United States and Islamic Republic can only be bad for region and, at very least, will curb any discussion on or matters affecting Middle East," he interpreted Analyst Maziar Bahari, in his weekly review to Iranian topicality.

This risk is especially serious in face of imminent eviction of ISIS of Syria, where an understanding needs to be achieved to ensure a minimum of stability. Or in Iraq, where despite its differences, recent Kurdish referendum has again put on same side of Board (against independence) to Iran and USA.

The dialectic escalation by one of pillars of Iranian regime has occurred just as Rohaní, one of architects of 2015 nuclear agreement, tried to control exalted rhetoric of regime's harsh and ensure support of European governments To save pact. However, real threat of its dismantling has revealed that, despite criticisms y made, neir president's political enemies want to return to previous era of international sanctions that plunged country into a serious recession.

Since its uprising, Iran has doubled its oil exports and large international companies such as Total, Airbus and Boeing have signed multi-million dollar contracts with Tehran. However, most Iranians claim that y have not seen benefits, and polls show that ir enthusiasm has been getting cold since ir signature. Inflation is still high, unemployment rate has not improved, and even though Iranian banks have reconnected to SWIFT network that allows international transfers, re are still problems in accessing financial markets or having a credit card.

More than an army

The Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, attended funeral of Kurdish leader Yalal Talabani last week. It's usual thing on those occasions. More striking it turns out that on eve of controversial Kurdish referendum, it was a general of Pasdarán who went to Erbil to try to convince of desirability of its annulment to regional president, Masud Barzani, as he recognized in a conference of Press.

The general in question was Qasem Soleimani, chief of Qods force, an elite body responsible for actions abroad. This military personifies as nobody weight that guardians of revolution have acquired in Iranian diplomacy in Middle East during last decade and that adds to its important presence in economy. The late former president Hachémite Rafsanjani came to say that no ambassador in region was named without his approval.


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