Now that Iran has returned to comply with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), it is important to look at how heavy the sanctions are and Iran decided to sign them. The rules of the JCPOA are more limiting than other rules which are applied to other countries and under which a country that isn’t called Iran, can say, enrich uranium as much as it desires. Some countries have totally ignored the international rules and monitoring as a whole. An example is a country in the Middle East that built what it doesn’t acknowledge but is widely regarded as a stockpile of nuclear arms.
Iran didn’t get anything unique in return for accepting to comply with the heavy restrictions and monitoring under the auspices of the JCPOA. Iran was not searching for, say, the type of help that in terms of nuclear program that some countries in the Persian Gulf have gotten or asked for in regards to their own nuclear program. All Iran sought to get was to be treated in a normal way like other states are treated when it comes to matters of commerce and trade.
The U.S. never gave anything in return, even in the form of assistance or the likes when Iran agreed to join the JCPOA. The only respite was lifting of the sanctions on Iran which was done to persuade the Islamic regime to engage in some sort of talks that even led to the JCPOA in the first place. The sanctions on Iran which were lifted were a plus for the U.S economy and not a negative or minus.
The U.S. didn’t even have to fulfill the obligations it had under the JCPOA until after Islamic Republic had under inspection fulfilled all of its obligations. These include; ripping up centrifuges, giving up most of its enriched uranium, destroying a nuclear reactor and finally finishing all other things it had to do under the requirements of the agreement. After this was done, inertia and fears of the private sector prevented Iran from receiving the associated economic benefits and assistance it thought it would get. This happened even before the Trump administration totally went back on its obligations in 2018 and started an unrestricted economic campaign against Iran.
Iran is located in a difficult region in the world. Many countries in the Middle East use various means of projecting their influence and power that doesn’t follow international law and ethics.