A new round of talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal with world powers began today in Vienna. The negotiations began in April 2021 and resumed for only two days at the end of June, following a nearly four-month gap caused by Tehran’s unwillingness to back away from irrelevant demands or engage in direct talks with the United States.
The new rounds of talks to revive the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), come a few days after White House Middle East coordinator Brett McGurk publicly expressed the opinion that a deal to restore the 2015 Iran nuclear deal is extremely unlikely in the wake of Tehran’s latest delays and obstructions.
He noted that the regime’s behavior suggested it was hopeful that the US and the deal’s three European signatories – Britain, France, and Germany – would “add something to the pot,” which would make the turns of a revived agreement even more favorable to Iran.
Yet the prospect of further concessions was ostensibly ruled out last week by the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, when he introduced a new draft text and announced that it represented the best deal the Iranian regime would ever be offered.
Nevertheless, Tehran appeared to reject the new draft, as it had done with a previous draft that was reportedly on the table when the negotiations broke down in Vienna in March. At the time, the regime’s negotiators were reportedly informed that they would only be sent back to the Austrian capital to conclude an agreement on the regime’s terms, following American capitulation to outstanding demands, including the demand for the removal of the terrorist Revolutionary Guards from the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations. In response to the new draft, the regime’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian seemed to reiterate that position, tweeting that Tehran had its “own ideas” about how to resolve the impasse.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said much the same thing on Monday. “We remain optimistic that the negotiation process will lead us to a logical and reasonable outcome,” he said before noting that regime authorities had reviewed the text presented by Borrell and had “presented their views” regarding refinements to a deal that Borrell insisted was already in its final form.
“It is possible that in the near future we can reach a conclusion regarding the timetable for the negotiations,” he said before repeating the regime’s claim that Western powers alone are at fault for the delays. Without acknowledging Tehran’s former rejection of further negotiations, Kanani concluded that the prospect of a return to either Vienna or Doha “depends entirely on the willingness of the other side, especially the American side.”
Such references to future rounds of negotiations are deeply at odds with the regime’s former nuclear extortion campaign, such as calling for the US to simply accept all outstanding demands and conclude the deal on the mullahs’ terms. However, the latest remarks from Kanani, Amir-Abdollahian, and others indicate that the regime is seeking new concessions while deliberately drawing out the negotiation process to avoid re-imposing limits on its nuclear activity and also delaying the return of punishing international sanctions.
In this regard, Mr. Mohammad Mohaddessin, Chairman Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), underlined that “the regime will not relinquish nuclear weapons. Its officials talk of bomb production.”
As Mr. Mohaddessin noted, the NCRI first unveiled the regime’s “Natanz and Arak sites” 20 years ago. Yet, “Instead of sanctions and punishment, the West chose talks and major concessions. Big mistake!”
“If a firm policy was adopted, Tehran would never be so close to the bomb. The world should not repeat the same mistakes,” he added.
1—#Iran’s regime will not relinquish nuclear weapons. Its officials talk of bomb production.
Negotiations give Tehran the time needed. If the world doesn’t want nuclear terrorists they must show firmness, reactivate UNSC resolutions & wide-ranging sanctions/inspections. #JCPOA
— Mohammad Mohaddessin (@Mohaddessin) August 3, 2022
As the mullahs face a volatile society, they desperately try to find a solution to prolong their regime’s life. So, they have tied their destiny to a nuclear bomb.
In other words, the ongoing futile negotiations give Tehran the time needed. If the world doesn’t want nuclear terrorists, they must show firmness, reactivate UNSC resolutions & wide-ranging sanctions/inspections.
The regime officials, paramilitary figures, and media outlets have lately begun arguing that Iran’s ruling theocracy has already effectively reached the benchmark of the capability to develop a nuclear weapon.
Mohammad Eslami, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, made this claim explicitly on Monday through Fars News Agency. A similar statement was made last week by Kamal Kharrazi, a former foreign minister and current advisor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and was referenced by Eslami.
Last year then-Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi said that Tehran might develop nuclear weapons anyway if “pushed” by Western powers. “If they push Iran in those directions, it is not Iran’s fault,” Alavi said on February 9, 2021. “Those who pushed Iran in that direction will be to blame.”
The latest statements from Kharrazi and Eslami are intended to extract more concessions from Western power. While some commentators have argued that by boasting about its ongoing nuclear advancements, the regime is effectively conceding the collapse of nuclear negotiations and the eventual re-imposition of full-scale sanctions. But it is equally possible that the regime genuinely believes its threat of intentional nuclear breakout will prompt the US and the EU to “add something to the pot” rather than risk confronting a situation where military action is needed to prevent that outcome.
In an explicit and belligerent threat in a video that was posted to at least two Telegram channels, the IRGC boasted that the advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges now running at the Fordo nuclear site are protected from aerial attack by a fortification built into a mountain and that “all infrastructures required for nuclear breakout have been prepared in it.”
The missile program underlying those tests was also referenced in the Telegram video to emphasize the nuclear threat and the conventional terrorist threats Tehran poses to the world.
Western powers should note that the regime’s threats are not coming from a position of strength as Mr. Mohaddessin said, “Signs of regime’s overthrow seen in protests & Resistance Units’ campaigns in Iran. The regime seeks a nuclear bomb for survival. With talks, they seek time. Talks were not constructive with Hitler, nor will they be with Tehran. This is against international peace and security.”