A new initiative is launched to save the Iranian nuclear agreement, summoning all negotiators for an unexpected and sudden resumption of nuclear talks with Iran on Thursday, August 4th.

There will be diplomats from the United States, Iran, China, Russia, Germany, France and Great Britain and the EU.

On 26 July Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, declared that he had presented a new draft text to relaunch the JCPoA.

“It is time to make quick political decisions to conclude the Vienna negotiations on the basis of the text I proposed and to return immediately to a fully implemented JCPoA”, writes Josep Borrell, in an op-ed for the Financial Times published on July 26.

His could be a final attempt to keep nuclear negotiations open with Iran. Negotiations that have found difficulties in the past 15 months and have been stalled.

Time is clearly running out. It is true that there are no set dates, but it is equally clear that it cannot continue indefinitely.

“Any further procrastination questions Tehran’s willingness to approve it,” said British intelligence chief Richard Moore. The JCPoA commission and the US “should set a deadline beyond which further talks would be deemed unnecessary and all bets should be void,” Moore follows.

The agreement to freeze the Iranian nuclear program – signed in 2015, has stalled since 2018, after the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw. He reapplied sanctions and pursued the so-called maximum pressure campaign.

Iran, in return, has gradually increased its nuclear program. After lowering enrichment to 3.67% to abide by the JCPoA, Iran is now enriching at 60%.

One issue that will need to be treated very carefully concerns the unexplained presence of uranium particles at various sites in Iran. Receiving no explanatory response from Iran, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) passed a resolution censoring Iran in early June. For this the Islamic Republic has decided to turn off the IAEA cameras installed to monitor Tehran’s compliance under the JCPoA.

Iran has refused to compromise even on two other demands so far: the guarantee that a future American president will not withdraw from the agreement, and this for the fear that if a new Republican president should be elected he could cancel everything; and that the United States will remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from the list of foreign terrorist organizations (FTO).

Conditions that the United States has not agreed.

Unfortunately, none of the parties to date seem optimistic about the possibility of a positive result. But they also know that without it would be an even more risky situation, where everyone would have to lose.

The Iranian attitude is very ambiguous and does not reveal a real desire for openness.

As in the US, there are also two currents in Iran regarding the agreement.

In the US it is the Republicans who are pushing for a non-agreement. The Democrats know it won’t be perfect and they know it is already too late to stop Iran from having a nuclear bomb. But in order to have control over the activities of the Islamic Republic (IRI) they want to achieve it.

As IAEA head Rafael Grossi said, the Iranian nuclear program has gone a long way and the IAEA has very limited visibility into what is happening. So if the goal is to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, “now is the time to set that deadline.”

A division of opinion also applies to the Iranian side, with the ultra-conservatives unwilling to sign the agreement.

The milder first group believes that “any deal is better than no deal”, the second group opposes any deal with the West, particularly the United States. For them, the existence of a “nuclear bomb” guarantees the survival of the Islamic Republic.

On 13 July, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian met the Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, and the Secretary for Relations with the State, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher in Vatican City.

At that time he said according to the news agency IRNA “We have shown considerable flexibility, but the United States must be realistic in establishing the conditions to reach a final agreement”, referring clearly to the conditions mentioned.

Without doubt Amir-Abdollahian is part of that current within the entourage of the Islamic Republic that would like to reach an agreement.

Ali Akbar Salehi, former Iranian foreign minister and head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, also seems to think the same, supporting the restart of negotiations.

Otherwise, the deputy foreign minister and chief nuclear negotiator, Bagheri-Kani, is against an agreement.

In opposition were also General Ghasem Soleimani and Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the nuclear scientist physicist and the “father of the Iranian nuclear program”, (the first killed by an American intelligence drone missile in Iraq and the second killed by a “remote-controlled weapon. “while traveling by car with his wife).

There is a profound divide among senior IRGC commanders over whether to negotiate or oppose the United States at all costs.

Khamenei himself is contradictory.

Richard Moore, the chief of the Secret Intelligence Service is skeptical that Iran’s Supreme Leader wants to re-launch a nuclear deal with world powers, but he also thinks that Tehran will not try to stop the talks.

The fact that Khamenei did not end the JCPoA once the US left in 2018, indeed agreed to start negotiations with the West, shows that he knows that abandoning the agreement will have serious consequences for the Islamic Republic and it would be a serious threat to the regime.

Statements made by various exponents make it clear that the two souls are clashing within the Islamic republic.

“Iran has the technical capability to produce an atomic bomb but has no intention of doing so“, Mohammad Eslami, head of the country’s atomic energy organization, said on Monday, according to Fars news agency (Fars is very near to the Revolutionary Guard) .

Eslami reiterated comments made by Kamal Kharrazi, a senior adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, in July told Qatar’s al Jazeera TV.

Kharrazi’s comments a day after U.S. President Joe Biden ended his four-day trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia, were a suggestion that Iran might have an interest in nuclear weapons.

“In a few days we were able to enrich uranium up to 60% and we can easily produce 90% enriched uranium … Iran has the technical means to produce a nuclear bomb but there has been no decision by Iran to build one,” Kharrazi said.

The Spokesman of Iran’s Atomic Organization, Kamalvandi immediately after Eslami’s statement would come out with another statement: “Iran’s nuclear chief Eslami, on the issue of capability to build an atomic bomb, was”misunderstood and misjudged “by some media and what was attributed to him ran counter to Iran’s official line on prohibition of weapons of mass destruction”.

It seems a similar dynamic to the statement made by Mohammad Javad Larijani, who has held numerous high-level positions within the Islamic Republic, immediately after Kharrazi’s comments.

When asked about US President Joe Biden’s trip to the region, especially Israel, Larijani said “They promised together that they would not allow Iran to build a nuclear bomb, and naturally, according to Khamenei’s fatwa, we do not have permission to pursue weapons of mass killing such as atomic [weapons], but if we wanted to go after it no one can stop us “.

In October 2003, Khamenei issued an oral fatwa that forbade the production and using any form of weapon of mass destruction. Khamenei’s fatwa against weapons of mass killing is often used by officials as proof that the country is not pursuing nuclear weapons.

On Monday, August 1st, the last exchanges of messages between the United States and IRI arrived.

Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced new sanctions on six entities facilitating illicit transactions related to Iranian petroleum and petroleum and petrochemical products, key sources of revenue for the Iranian government.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Nasser Kanaani said the White House’s insistence on sanctions would first be met with a stern and prompt response from Iran. Tehran will then take the necessary steps to mitigate any potential impact on.

Also on Monday, August 1st, the spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry said “there will probably be a new round of IranTalks. It is likely that a conclusion on the date can be reached in the near future … We have carefully studied the draft of Joseph Borrell’s proposal and presented our opinions … ”.

Clearly an opening for the meeting scheduled for Thursday 4 August.

China plays discreet but is critical on the nuclear negotiations with Iran and Putin will certainly use relations with Iran against the agreement. Both to counter a possible and probable moment of détente in the region, and for the fact that a success of the agreement would put Iran back on the market as one of the main suppliers of gas and oil. This at a time when for Russia energy is one of the few instruments of pressure it has towards the West. Despite the great diplomatic efforts, almost all are faced with skepticism and the awareness that there will hardly be a green light in the short term. But they also know that they are in a delicate moment where all the powers need to place themselves or relocate themselves to the chessboard of the international order.

Source » lansinginstitute