UN Secretary to Trump: Iranian nuclear pact, only way to counter conflict

Antonio Guterres launches an appeal to the US president. The pact represents an "important diplomatic victory". Without a "valid alternative" it should not be "erased". The economic and social crisis and the danger of an escalation of tension worries the citizens of Iran. Youth unemployment is at 25%, inflation increases.

Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appealed to US President Donald Trump not to abandon the Iranian nuclear agreement (the JCPOA), signed in 2015 by his predecessor Barack Obama. In an interview with the BBC, the head of UN diplomacy emphasizes that there is a real risk of conflict, in the event that it is not maintained.

Guterres recalled that the nuclear agreement - partial loosening of sanctions in the face of the interruption of the ayatollah's military atomic program - represents an "important diplomatic victory" and must be maintained. "We must not eliminate it - he adds - unless we have a valid alternative", because "we are faced with dangerous times".

In recent days, the Israeli premier released "secret" files that he claimed were proof of Teheran’s nuclear activity in violation of the agreement. The Islamic Republic responded immediately  calling Benjamin Netanyahu a "liar".

In January, Trump extended the suspension of a series of sanctions to Iran for another 120 days. However, he added that this would be "the last time" and that, in the future, substantial changes will be introduced to stem the "disastrous effects".

The White House decision is expected for May 12 next.

On the international diplomatic front, there is a growing contrast between two blocs: Europe (together with Russia and the UN) that want to preserve the JCPO; on the other hand the United States (with Israel and Saudi Arabia) that want new repressive measures against Tehran, which they see as a source of "instability" in the region and "sponsor" of terrorism (according to Washington).

Since 2015, international inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have repeatedly certified the Teheran’s adherence to the pact. President Hassan Rouhani made it clear that he does not intend to accept "further restrictions" that go beyond the nuclear pact already signed; moreover, the program initiated is of a peaceful nature and aimed at developing energy.

Meanwhile, more and more citizens in Iran fear that a possible cancellation of the nuclear agreement could generate further insecurity and economic-social instability. According to various operators in the sector, the current situation is "static" and it is complicated for private companies to find space to do business.

Youth unemployment in the country is around 25%; moreover, the fact of having a job is not in itself a guarantee of stability. A 31-year-old journalist interviewed by L'Orient-Le Jour (Olj) said that "in recent years many publications have closed and employees have found themselves" without a job. "Not to mention - adds Saber - that inflation is always a step ahead of us". And the numbers confirm this: from 40% in 2013, in the early years of the Rouhani Presidency it passed to 9%, but is now growing again: this year it is set at 11%. And even the social tensions, after the clashes last December, are dormant rather than resolved.

Finally the crisis of the local currency against the dollar is also a concern, in fact it has prompted the authorities to introduce the fixed exchange rate and clamp down on currency smugglers.

Hence the attempt of several Iranians, especially among young people, to try to emigrate to the West in search of better opportunities.