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Iran: Is Revival of JCPOA a Lost Cause

Iran nuclear facilities
File photo-Iran nuclear facilities

The Seventh round of negotiations to save the 2015 Iran nuclear deal broke off last week, with Western officials expressing dismay on Friday at blatant demands by the Iranian regime. Many observers deduced that nuclear negotiations have failed.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Reuters that “Iran right now does not seem to be serious about doing what’s necessary to return to compliance, which is why we ended this round of talks in Vienna.”

According to Reuters, the European powers expressed “disappointment and concern” over the regime’s demands which they believe “were incompatible with the deal’s terms or went beyond them.”

The Iranian regime’s top negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani, underlined yesterday that Tehran “Will not back down from its demands.” Tehran demands that the U.S. lift all sanctions on the regime and return to the deal before the clerical regime would honor its commitments.

Tehran has been violating the deal since day one, even before the U.S. nixing.

On February 14, 2019, Newsmax reported that the regime has “produced excess heavy water, illegally, at least twice, which they sold for profit,” and it has “exceeded the limits on advanced centrifuge research and development, by assembling more than a half dozen IR-8 rotor assemblies and operating 13-15 IR-6 centrifuges in a single cascade.”

The Institute for Science and International Security reported on December 8, 2015, that Tehran has “violated the deal by refusing to fully cooperate with the IAEA investigating the Possible Military Dimensions of the nuclear program.”

In 2017, the Iranian Resistance revealed information showing the Iranian regime’s research and development and nuclear activities were continuing at the Parchin military site, located southwest of the Iranian capital Tehran and out of reach of IAEA inspectors.

In 2019, Ali Akbar Salehi, then the regime’s head of the Atomic Energy Organization, said: “They thought that they won the negotiation,” he said of Western signatories to the JCPOA. “But we had a countermeasure, and while we proceeded with the case, they didn’t achieve what they planned for, and we did not become trapped in the enrichment deadlock.”

He had previously boasted to Iranian state media that the regime authorities had conspired to deceive the IAEA regarding the Arak heavy water plant, which produces plutonium that could be used in building nuclear weapons.

On October 17, 2021, Mahmoud Nabaviyan, a member of the Special Commission for the Investigation of the JCPOA at the regime’s parliament, claimed: “How important is the (Arak) reactor to us? It produced 9 kilograms of plutonium a year, enough for a bomb. Depending on their technology, countries can produce a bomb with three to seven kilograms of plutonium. Having this reactor would send a message to Israel that if you make a mistake against Iran, we have what’s needed (to retaliate)!”

On February 22, 2021, the regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had said: “Iran’s enrichment threshold will not be 20%, and the purity can increase as needed anywhere in the country, i.e., Enrichment may increase up to 60% for nuclear propulsion or other tasks.”

In April, the government of Hassan Rouhani officially announced it has begun enriching uranium up to 60% purity.  

In the latest development, On the eve of a new round of nuclear talks in Vienna, Fereydoun Abbasi, a parliament deputy and the former head of the regime’s Atomic Energy Organization, confessed in an interview with a state-run daily, “Iran,” that Fakhrizadeh, the assassinated former head of the regime’s nuclear weapons project, had created a system to produce a nuclear bomb.

Once again, the facts above underline that JCPOA had indeed failed in limiting Tehran’s nuclear capabilities.

Thus, the current goal of reviving the already-dead nuclear deal is a lost cause. Khamenei and his regime intend to buy time to develop nuclear weapons. While it might look sophisticated, a closer look at recent domestic and international developments shows why Tehran is racing toward a nuclear bomb.

In June 2021, Khamenei chose Ebrahim Raisi, or the “hanging judge,” as his regime’s president to close ranks. Raisi is a known criminal and has been placed under sanctions. Soon after Raisi was selected, Tehran left the talks in Vienna and rejoined the negotiations following months of delay.

The regime faces a restive society that has never accepted the mullahs’ backward rule. By closing ranks in the regime, Khamenei has decided to increase domestic oppression and pave the way for the development of a nuclear weapon to advance its regional meddling, terrorism, and warmongering.

However, it should be noted that sanctions have indeed crippled the regime’s economy. Tehran desperately needs money to fund its illicit activities and proxy terrorist groups. The government expenditures have increased by %40 due to the regime mounting support of militia groups. In September, the state-run Arman daily confirmed that the regime’s activities “have not decreased.”

Iran’s oil-dependent economy is seriously hurt by sanctions, in addition to the country’s oil industry infrastructure being deteriorated. And above all, the regime’s institutionalized corruption and other priorities increase the economic pressure on people.

The Iranian regime’s nuclear program has resulted in nothing but misery for people. “It is estimated that the cost of the nuclear program should be estimated at between 1.5 to 2 trillion dollars. It seems that the initial assessment by the Budget and Planning Organization’s expert was not far from reality,” the state-run Arman daily wrote on Saturday, quoting Hanizadeh. “In fact, the root of the misunderstandings of foreign powers regarding the nuclear program goes back to the fact that there is no economic justification [for the regime to pursue a nuclear program.].”

The regime could have used this amount of money to address Iran’s social and economic problems. Sanctions could be easily lifted if Tehran once and for all abandoned its nuclear program or its other malign activities. But, Khamenei has tied the fate of his regime to obtaining nuclear bomb.

Tehran has exploited the world community’s weak approach to turn the Vienna talks into a cycle of deceit to buy time and make a bomb. 

As the Iranian Resistance has underlined, “Only firmness could break this cycle. The six UN Security Council resolutions must be reactivated. The Iranian regime’s nuclear sites should be dismantled, and the regime should halt enriching uranium. The inspection, anywhere and anytime, should be implemented.”