By Abir Bassam

Vienna talks: A multi-part American series

June 15, 2021 - 17:48

Every time the Iranian government takes the decision to raise the enrichment level in its nuclear reactors, the Americans and the Europeans raise their voices. Their objections are repeated like a cracked disc.

They are worried about whether Iran is close to building a nuclear bomb or not, although Iran has declared several times that it has no intentions of doing so, and its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes. It is clear that America's exit from the nuclear agreement with Iran has to do with more vital hidden reasons.

Ironically, the Iranian nuclear program was first initiated in 1957 by the Americans. The shah of Iran signed a nuclear program agreement with the United States. It was a "Proposed Agreement for Cooperation in the Field of Research and in the Field of Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy" under the auspices of Eisenhower Program "Atoms for Peace". In 1967, the shah founded the Tehran Nuclear Research Center. Then, Iran signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1968, which made it subject to inspection and investigation by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

 As a result of the outbreak of the Iranian Islamic Revolution in 1979, the shah was overthrown; hence, the nuclear program and Western support for it were halted. However, in 1981 the late Imam Khomeini authorized the coming back of research in nuclear energy. Once the decision was taken, the Iranian nuclear program was set in motion. Consequently, it became a problem for the Americans and Israelis to cope with it because the Islamic Revolution in Iran has clearly stated its support for the rights of the Palestinians.

Since the beginning of the Islamic Revolution, a series of sanctions were imposed on Iran. In 1979, the U.S. froze nearly $12 billion of Iranian assets, including bank deposits, gold, and several other properties, and the U.S. imposed an economic embargo. If we were about to recite the history of on-and-off sanctions on Iran, it would require a full research paper. However, to make the long story short, the sanctions were imposed because the Iranian political system was no longer a friendly one to "Israel". This fact has become a devastating fact to both the Americans as well as "Israel".

The escalation against Iran started in 1987 under several pretenses. Washington called it actions against the U.S. in the (Persian) Gulf and started supporting radical groups in different countries. And here is the crux of the matter! The Iranian revolution has declared itself as an advocate to the so-called radical Lebanese and Palestinian resistance forces against the Israeli occupation in South Lebanon and Palestine. 

The Americans still accuse Iran of executing the martyrdom operation against the U.S. Marines and the French troops in 1983 in Lebanon, killing huge numbers of them and driving the rest out of the country. However, the story does not lie there! It is an extended list of accusations and demands. The Americans are pushing towards closure by laying new demands on the negotiation table. However, the Iranians rejected it and refused to be pressured into discussing different agendas on the negotiation table. 

It is very clear that the negotiations that resulted in signing the Joint Comprehension Plan of Action [JCPOA] were not enough for both the Americans and the Israelis. The JCPOA did not stop their worries concerning the Iranian role in the region and the progress it reached in its missile industry.

In 2015, Iran’s missile program was not yet raised. When Donald Trump, the previous American president, withdrew from the agreement and imposed new sanctions, it was because the Americans believed that, whether it was Trump's government or any other government, they would be able to force Iran on a more conclusive package of demands. 

In May 2018, when the U.S. quit the JCPOA, major achievements were made in the Middle East (West Asia) and the Arab region: 

1-    The Axes of Resistance has fully developed in the region and declared their commitment to the Palestinian cause and their support of those who are fighting Israel and American occupation. The Axes is a coalition of different countries and resistance groups that includes Iran, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen.

2-    Iran has made unprecedented development in missile technology, particularly ballistic missiles. 

3-    Tehran has improved its local military achievements against terrorism and the world war on Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.

Once the sanctions were re-imposed on Iran, the Iranian took a brave step by going back into raising the level of uranium enrichment, which brought back the Americans to non-preconditioned negotiations. 

So far, the Americans have been trying to deceive Iranians by releasing a billion-dollar here or there. However, the Iranians understand this game perfectly. Iran is a proud, self-sufficient state. It cannot be manipulated in the American way. On the other hand, the Americans are not willing to be part of the JCPOA again unless Iran fulfils the following requirements:

1-    Stopping its missile program

2-    Going back in the process of uranium enrichment to the stage before 2015.

3-    The return of inspectors and monitoring of the program through re-installing cameras in the nuclear facilities.

4-     Ceasing support to what the Americans call proxy forces, mainly in Yemen, Iraq, and Lebanon.

 The fourth article, in particular, is considered to be the most complex item in the talks. The demand and the obligation that the Americans are asking for are clear. They want to establish full recognition and the security of "Israel". This was clearly stated in Joe Biden's press conference held on the 21st of April with the South Korean president after the great Palestinian accomplishment in operation Saif Al-Quds. Biden's message was sent to everyone in the region. On the other hand, Iran refuses to offer grantees at the expense of its allies. 

However, the American's vanity has so far failed to recognize that the Islamic Republic is an independent state and doesn't accept to follow dictated policies.

Most probably, these are the critical issues that Abbas Araqchi, the Iranian deputy foreign minister and chief nuclear negotiator in Vienna, openly referred to on the 9th of the current month. He confirmed that there are still outstanding issues related to the return of the two parties to the nuclear agreement that need to be discussed. Noting that a new round of talks is underway in Vienna in the current week, but it cannot be decided if it is going to be the last round. This confirmation leads to the belief that it is going to be a long-term talk that was re-confirmed by the Iranian delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Kazem Gharibabadi. He said: "We do not see an American tendency to lift sanctions, and Iran should not be expected to fulfill its obligations under the weight of sanctions."

So far, unless some miracle happens, the nuclear agreement is unlikely to be revived within the foreseen period. Each side is pulling the rope, hoping to win the second round. The Iranians so far have proven to be tough negotiators and excelled in the game of biting fingers. They did not lead direct talks with the Americans; they literally dragged the Americans into non-preconditioned negotiations. However, the negotiations are still to be continued.

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