Iran has recently announced that it would start enriching uranium above a concentration of 3.67% within a few hours after Iran gave a 60-day deadline to the remaining parties to the deal - China, France, Germany, Russia and the UK - to protect it from US sanctions. These five countries plus US had signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as Iran Nuclear Deal, with Iran in 2015 to curb its nuclear programme. Consequently, Iran had agreed to let in international inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and to limit its nuclear activities in exchange for an end to tight economic sanctions. The deal, which took 12 years to construct, was considered a triumph of international diplomacy and a major victory for regional and global security as it had stopped a bomb and a war in Middle East. The P5+1 and Iran had a compromise and that was the whole point of it. The deal was considered, by far, the strongest nonproliferation agreement and according to the IAEA, Iran has remained in full compliance with the deal.

Nevertheless, abetted by the US administration after it withdrew from the deal last year and threatened military action on Iran, Iran has already showed its intensions to reduce its nuclear commitments to the deal by increasing the enrichment of uranium. Iran claims that the US directly and EU have indirectly violated the nuclear deal. Subsequently, the rising tensions between Iran and US have sparked fears a war could be imminent between the two nations. Following Iran’s decision to enrich uranium beyond the terms agreed in the nuclear deal, US President Donald Trump has said that Iran was ‘playing with fire’. Likewise, the US National Security Strategy (NSS) has also listed Iran as one of the four top threats. Years of politically charged anti-Iran sentiments, the US administration has already been working to lay the groundwork for military strikes to bring Iran on its knees.

To be fair, it is not the first time for Iran since revolution when it is at a critical fork. Iran’s survival in the post-revolution testing times, such as 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq war, the death of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989, and the decade long standoff with the international community over its nuclear program from 2003–2015 have made it able to overcome nearly any kind of challenge. International community, however, is failing in understanding Iran in terms of its nuances, cleavages, opportunities and its changes. International community’s aggressive policy towards Iran is short-term with no substantial results on ground. Due to limited to no political ties with Iran, international community has failed to nurture or nudge Iran towards much-needed popularly supported change. Furthermore, US foreign policy has also become a victim of continuous anti-Iran sentiments. Similarly, Iran is holding fast to its anti-American ideology. Both sides, unfortunately, are now bound together by the conflict that has resulted in the continued stagnation in their relationship.

Though the war hawks may not understand or desire peace but since US invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, we know what a war takes. The hawks believe that the military action against Iran may store deterrence, however, there are little choices for P5+1 and Iran; it will affect everyone. The need of the hour is to save the deal and the pragmatic approach is to revive it in its true letter and spirit. The ongoing struggle to defend the nuclear agreement is not enough; the deal has been working already and the promise of a ‘better deal is a delusion. Looking for excuses to start a war is insane. Winning without war must be a priority and the purpose of every effort must be to stop Iran to build a nuclear bomb. There would be no end to this crisis if it does not happen. In order to build the confidence among policy makers and stakeholders returning to the deal is a prerequisite. Whatever it may be, door of diplomacy should remain open. According to revered French Statesman, Napoleon Bonaparte, “if they want peace, nations should avoid the pin-pricks that precede cannon shots.”