10.01.2023 Author: Viktor Mikhin

Iran-US: the Future of Nuclear Negotiations

While Iran has repeatedly expressed its willingness to resume talks in Vienna on the continuation of the nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Joe Biden administration has virtually put those talks on hold. Undoubtedly, as many political analysts and experts say, this stoppage is a negotiating tactic on the part of Washington aimed at obtaining additional concessions from Tehran.

After several months on the sidelines of the news, the topic of the nuclear deal came back to the forefront, but not at all in the way many observers had expected. Rather, the failed deal inadvertently received a “death certificate” from US President Joe Biden. In a video on social media, President Biden explained why he was not prepared to publicly announce the end of the JCPOA, even though he believed the nuclear deal was “dead”. In a video that was recorded at an election rally in California, Biden noted: “It is dead, but we are not going to announce it”. When asked why, the US President replied that it was a “long story”.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby commented on Biden’s remarks on the JCPOA. Although he refrained from confirming Biden’s words, he said the JCPOA was not their “focus right now”. “There is no progress happening with respect to the Iran deal now. We don’t anticipate any progress anytime in the near future. That’s just not our focus,” Kirby said.

The US announcement of its reluctance on the JCPOA came at a time when Iran was doing just the opposite. Tehran has repeatedly stated recently that it is ready to resume the stalled negotiations on the resumption of the JCPOA. Iran’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Amir Saeid Iravani, reiterated his country’s readiness to resume stalled negotiations in Vienna in a statement to the United Nations Security Council. “Iran reiterates its commitment to dialogue and diplomacy. We are ready to resume the Vienna talks, to work cooperatively to reach an agreeable solution, and even to arrange the ministerial meeting as soon as possible to declare the JCPOA’s restoration. This is achievable if the US demonstrates genuine political will and stands ready to work towards a satisfying solution and agrees to fully comply with its obligations. The US now has the ball in its court”, Iravani said.

In addition, Mohammad Marandi, an advisor to the Iranian negotiating team, said Iran was waiting for the US to return to the JCPOA. At the same time, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian held an extensive meeting with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in Amman, the Jordanian capital, on the sidelines of a regional summit on Iraq. The JCPOA was the main issue at the 2-hour meeting, which was also attended by Iranian chief negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani and EU coordinator for the Vienna talks Enrique Mora. At the meeting, Amir-Abdollahian declared Iran’s readiness to take stock of the Vienna talks on the basis of the draft negotiating package, which was the result of many months of intensive and difficult negotiations. The Foreign Minister also advised other parties to avoid politicizing the issue, take a realistic and tough approach and take necessary decisions to announce the deal, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said officially. Borrell, for his part, reiterated the EU’s determination to continue negotiations in Vienna until they bear fruit.

Despite Iran’s constructive approach, the US has defiantly brushed aside the negotiations, reiterating that they are no longer on its agenda, and US envoy for Iran Rob Malley has further weakened the prospect of a return to the JCPOA. On social media, he clumsily tried to blame the Iranians for the protracted negotiations, in the habitual US diplomatic manner of lying and shifting the blame from the American head to the other. This is why he clumsily wrote that it was Tehran that “dashed our collective hope for a swift, mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA”. Many US media have interpreted Malley’s statement as another clear indication that the US is not interested in diplomacy and negotiations with Iran, at least for the time being.

This has stunned observers in a way, since Biden administration officials have long said, at least publicly, that they would keep the door of diplomacy open for Iran. But recent events suggest otherwise. Of course, Washington is trying to justify its disinterest in diplomacy by the US-organized unrest in Iran. But it is clear that the Biden administration believes Tehran is now in a “weak position” and that Washington can extract further concessions from the Iranians.
But judging by history and current facts, this tried-and-true US approach will not produce the desired results for the White House, because Iran has long stated and repeatedly states that it will not negotiate under US pressure. So, pressure has been shown to simply not work with Iran and the Iranians are not people who will surrender to the mercy of the US.

It should be pointed out that the policies of the United States of America towards Iran, as well as many Western countries, act in a sneaky and biased manner, something that even US President Joe Biden admitted to and found no shame in. “Our politics has gotten so angry, so mean, so partisan… We see each other as enemies, not as neighbors,” he said, delivering his Christmas address to the nation at the White House. Earlier, Bernd Lange, chairman of the trade committee in the European Parliament, suggested that Brussels should lodge a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the US over America’s sneaky subsidy policies. At the same time, CNBC reported that Europe has come out in unison against the same sneaky Inflation Reduction Act initiated by US President Joe Biden.

And all this Washington, using its blatantly incorrect methods, applies against its official allies. What then of the enemies against whom the Pentagon and its enormous military might is largely used. But, as the experience in Afghanistan has shown, even military methods do not bring victory to the officials in Washington, who have lost all semblance of reality and still continue to live in illusory dreams of world domination.

The failure to soberly assess the international situation, including in Iran, is eloquently illustrated by the fact that the West, led by the US, has failed to provoke widespread demonstrations in the country itself and to change the ruling regime there. Since September, the Western media has reported on Iranian regime change almost every day, and vast amounts of effort and money have been poured into this. According to Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency, “47 spy agencies waged an all-out hybrid war against the Islamic Republic of Iran.” The Western media did everything possible, as if on cue, to provoke riots that left dozens of security forces and ordinary people dead. Iran’s two leading intelligence agencies have published a lengthy report detailing foreign interference in Iran during the riots.

And the leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, has repeatedly said that the US and some of its allies were involved in the unrest in Iran. He added: “These riots were planned… Who designed these plans? I openly state that these schemes were designed by the US… They devised these schemes. Their employees, mercenaries, wage earners, and some treasonous Iranians abroad helped them.”

He went on to say that the US was using all sorts of fallacious analyses and rhetoric to try to show that foreigners were in no way involved in the Iranian events. He said in particular: “Riots take place all the time around the world. If you look at Europe, especially France, massive riots occur every now and then on the streets of Paris. I want to ask you, “Has the US President or the US House of Representatives ever supported European rioters? Have they ever issued a statement saying we stand with you?”.

All this shows that Washington’s policies are not only malignant and hostile, but also duplicitous, which shows the low morale of the current “democratic” rulers of the US and their so-called “allies” in Europe. And so, a fair solution to the JCPOA and the easing of tensions in the Gulf region can hardly be expected now or in the future.

Viktor Mikhin, corresponding member of RANS, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.