THEGRAND HOTEL Vienna’s Ringstraße, an elegant boulevard of the city, is a thriving place for nuclear diplomacy. It’s not just about luxury environments and unlimited coffee. The hotel was also the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), The world’s nuclear surveillance agency for 22 years until 1979. Still, the diplomats who gathered there for the six-round talks from April had little luck these days on June 20th. And you may be running out of time.
The United States and Iran are indirectly discussing ways to revive a multinational nuclear agreement known as the Comprehensive Joint Action Plan via the United Kingdom, China, France, Germany, Russia and the European Union (JCPOA), It was signed in 2015 and abandoned by President Donald Trump three years later. In response to US sanctions, Iran violated trading regulations by testing advanced centrifuges and accumulating enriched uranium, among other banned steps.The· IAEA In May, Iran was estimated to have produced over 3,000 kg of uranium enriched with a purity of up to 5% (see graph), which, if further enriched, is sufficient for some bombs. Over 70 kg is also concentrated over 20%, which is most of the way to the weapons grade.
For the past year, the United States and Iran under President Joe Biden have said they are willing to return to the terms of the original deal if they do so. “I think almost all agreements are ready,” Iran’s deputy foreign minister said after the latest round. There is a “new level of optimism” and it is enthusiastic EUEnvoy United Nations June 30th. The Russian Foreign Ministry believes the deal could take place by 14 July. JCPOA6th anniversary. However, things have changed so much in the last six years that it’s not as easy as it sounds to get the original term back.
It doesn’t help that Iran is in the midst of a political transition. Hardline nationalist Ebrahim Raisi will replace the practitioner Hassan Rouhani as Iran’s president on August 3. Raishi and his allies are more hostile to the United States and the West than the current government. That does not mean that the transaction is impossible. After all, it was another hardline president, Mahmood Ahmadinejad, who started the negotiations. JCPOA.. But Mr. Raishi’s election complicates things.
Rouhani’s government “has little incentive” to dedicate last month’s term to desperate diplomacy, said Anise Basilitaburiji, a British think tank at the Royal United Services Institute. The next election (for the Iranian parliament) is not scheduled for three years, so any political rewards will be far away. Also, there is no guarantee that the new government will fully carry out the inherited transactions, Tabrizi said.
Iran’s domestic politics is not the only obstacle to the agreement. “There are serious differences that haven’t been bridged yet,” a senior American official told reporters anonymously last month. “Whether Iran is a nuclear step that must be taken to return to compliance, sanctions We It is a series of steps to provide or both sides take. “
Both sides accept that they can return to the deal in a series of simultaneous steps, rather than waiting for the other party to do everything first. However, Iran said it wants the United States to lift all sanctions imposed by Mr. Trump. America is, JCPOA.. In March, the Biden administration imposed new sanctions on two members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Henry Roma of the Eurasia Group, a consultancy, said this type of sanction, which is “not economically important, but very politically sensitive,” is the most difficult. They include the American labeling of the Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group, and sanctions on Mr. Raishi himself.
June 30, Iran’s Ambassador to Iran, Majid Tact Lavanki United Nations, The country “wanted that guarantee … We Will not withdraw from again JCPOA“.U.S. officials say it would be impossible to provide such certainty in particular JCPOA Without the support of two-thirds of the Senate, it could not be transformed into a binding treaty. Republicans, who make up half of Congress, are strongly opposed to the deal. In any case, Mr. Trump also showed that the president could leave the long-standing treaty.
Western countries have their own complaints. They describe Iran as corrective and reversible for trade breaches, but above all, operate advanced centrifuges and contrast with uranium metals (solid forms used in nuclear reactors and bombs). In addition, the gaseous compounds used during concentration claim to have gained valuable knowledge by producing solid forms).The· JCPOA It was supposed to postpone such activities to later years, delaying Iran’s nuclear progress. The United States now hopes that Iran will not only extend its trading provisions, but also agree to subsequent talks that cover issues such as Iran’s ballistic missiles and support for regional militant groups. Raishi says they are “non-negotiable.”
Iran is determined to build its leverage by steadily expanding its nuclear activity and threatening to reduce the transparency of its programs as well as reduce the time it takes to produce bombs. Deadlocks are especially dangerous. February, Iran has some JCPOAStrict inspection regulations, such as the installation of cameras in nuclear power plants, immediately agreed to a “temporary technical understanding.” IAEA To maintain some access.
These temporary measures were updated twice, but expired on June 24, the day after the latest talks in Vienna ended. The Iranian government has not yet decided whether to extend them, suggesting that it may delete camera data. You might be sweating America, but it certainly undermines credibility. July 1st, news agency Reuters, Iran IAEAAccess to Natanz, a major enrichment site, after suspected Israeli sabotage in April.
There is also concern about how high the stakes are for all the positive stories that come from Vienna. Russian envoy Mikhail Ulyanov says he will renew Iran-IAEA Understanding will “avoid uncertainties that can have unreasonable long-term adverse effects.” “Iran is playing with fire,” said Mark Fitzpatrick, a retired American diplomat. ■■
This article was published in the printed Middle East and Africa section under the heading “Enriching talks”.