Tehran, Iran – The signatories of Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers have seen their hopes of re-establishing the agreement first-hand with its anniversary of signing Wednesday disappear when several factors complicated the process.
A clear date has yet to be decided for the start of the seventh – and probably final – round of negotiations in Vienna to revive the Common Comprehensive Addition Plan (JCPOA), the agreement that was signed by Iran, China, Russia, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States on July 14, 2015.
This is while all parties have emphasized the need to re-establish the full terms of the agreement in order to verify the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program and ensure that it benefits from the economic gains that had been promised in the agreement.
The United States, which abandoned the agreement in 2018 and unilaterally imposed harsh sanctions on Iran – which led Iran to refuse to negotiate with it directly in Vienna – has said it is ready for another round of negotiations, facilitated by the European Union, whenever Iran accepts a date.
The latest quarterly report by the Iranian foreign minister to parliament on Monday seemed to confirm that the policy at play in Tehran has led to the gap between the sixth and seventh rounds of negotiations.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote in the report, which was made public for the first time in its entirety of more than 200 pages, which much has been achieved in Vienna speeches so far, but hopes that the process can be “completed” in the next administration.
Judge harshly Ebrahim Raisi, who won the presidency after a controversial vote on June 18, he will take over the reins from moderate two-term president Hassan Rouhani, who had defended the deal despite harsh criticism from his political opponents.
Raisi will take office in early August, after reaching an agreement to reinstate the deal seems more likely.
This while Zarif himself, and diplomats from other JCPOA signatories, had previously expressed hope that an agreement could be reached before Raisi becomes president.
“To reach an agreement it takes courage and readiness to sacrifice reputation and give priority to national interests over personal interests,” Zarif wrote in an apparent final note to his harsh critics who have now taken power. in government, parliament and the judiciary.
Renaissance of American sanctions
Other factors complicating the discussions are the layers of sanctions imposed by the United States, and the multiple steps Iran has taken to advance its nuclear program in response to sanctions or sabotage attacks on its ground.
The endless waves of sanctions imposed, replaced or repealed by the Donald Trump administration have involved about 1,600 designations, including those relating to “terrorism” and human rights violations.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei insisted that all should be lifted, after which Iran will “verify” its effective elevation and then reduce its nuclear steps. It is unclear how long the verification process will take.
Iran has also insisted on a U.S. commitment not to renounce the agreement in the future, as several Republicans and Israeli lobbying groups in Washington, in addition to a number of Arab states, still oppose vehemence to the agreement. An official commitment by the US seems unlikely.
But Iran’s foreign minister has sent an optimistic signal over the lifting of sanctions.
In his report to parliament, Zarif said that if an agreement is reached in Vienna, in addition to sectoral sanctions on banking, petrochemicals, and shipping, appointments will be made to the office of the supreme leader and the designation “Foreign Terrorist Organization” of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) will be revoked.
In addition to the new sanctions imposed by Trump – on metals, mines and textiles – Zarif has written a series of executive orders issued by the former president and a series of congressional laws such as the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA). ) will be revoked.
The United States has not confirmed the claims of the Iranian foreign minister.
Limitation of Iran’s nuclear program
Since May 2019, a year after Trump left the JCPOA, Iran has taken several measures to increase its nuclear activities.
It now enriches uranium to more than 60 percent, its highest rate ever, in response to a sabotage attack on its main nuclear facilities in Natanz earlier this year.
Blamed on Israel, the attack was the second sabotage on Natanz in a year. It also followed November assassination of nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh near Tehran, which Iran has even accused Israel of orchestrating.
The nuclear deal limited Iran’s nuclear enrichment to 3.67 percent while also limiting its low-enriched uranium stockpile.
Following the assassination, Iran’s harsh parliament passed a law requiring the Rouhani government to limit inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The government continues to record its nuclear structures with agency cameras, but said it will destroy the tapes if sanctions are not lifted.
Iran also uses more advanced centrifuges and has gained significant technical knowledge in the last year.
Last week, U.S. and European powers condemned Iran’s decision to produce uranium-enriched metal at 20 percent purity.
In an interview on Monday, Russia’s first negotiator in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, said there were now “reasons for concern” rather than “regret” for Iran moving away from the provisions of the nuclear deal. .
Iran has repeatedly said that its nuclear program is strictly peaceful, and the production of uranium metal will help it increase the quality and quantity of its radiopharmaceuticals and its industrial radioisotopes.
“Instead of complaining about Iran’s steps, which have been the result of a lack of adherence to the commitments of others, the other parties must quickly return to their own commitments,” the spokesman said Tuesday. of the Ali Rabiei government.