Ball is in America's court, expert says

September 7, 2021 - 19:6

TEHRAN - An expert on international affairs says the Biden administration has come to the conclusion that the continuation of the policy of pressure on Tehran does not hinder the development of Iran's nuclear program and they should pursue a policy of compromise.

In an interview with ISNA published on Tuesday, Seyyed Reza Mirtaher said, “But in this route, they want to give the minimum concessions to Iran and they want to make a condition in giving these minimum concessions, and this shows that the United States has not changed its approach vis-à-vis Iran.”

Speaking in the first live TV interview with the people on Saturday night, President Ebrahim Raisi noted, “We will not hesitate to talk and negotiate in any way, but what Westerners and Americans want, that is, dialogue under pressure; does that mean dialogue? If pressure is to be on the side of dialogue, what kind of dialogue is this?”

The president stated, “Negotiations is an option as a diplomacy tool, but negotiation under pressure and threats is not acceptable at all. This has been tested already and does not work. Americans and Europeans have experienced that dialogue with pressure does not work.”

The issue of nuclear talks is on the agenda, but negotiations must be fruitful, he said, adding, “The focus of our talks is the interests of the Iranian people and the complete lifting of sanctions, from which we will not take a step back”.

The West, including the European sides, is asking Iran to return to the Vienna talks to revive the nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). For example, on Sunday French President Emmanuel Macron called on Raisi that Iran to resume the stalled nuclear talks in Vienna. It was the second time that France was calling on Iran to restart the talks. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and European foreign policy chief Josep Borrell had talked to Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian on the need to return to the Vienna talks.

‘The problem is that the Americans are basically not in good faith’ 
Mirtaher, referring to Raisi's position on the nuclear talks, said: "The first point about the president's remarks on Saturday was that his administration is ready to return to the JCPOA talks.”

“The second point was that the talks should not be under pressure from the West and the United States; that is, the continuation of the current U.S. approach, which seeks maximum sanctions and is in line with the campaign of ‘maximum pressure’ against Iran under Trump, with indirect European support cannot be considered a positive point regarding the JCPOA,” the expert stated.

The third point, Mirtaher added, is that from Raisi's point of view the aim of the negotiations should be to lift the sanctions and to remove the unilateral sanctions that the United States has imposed on Iran since 2018, which has created many difficulties for the Iranian people. 

In general, the tone and content of Raisi's remarks showed Tehran's readiness for a positive interaction with the P4+1 and indirectly with the United States, which would eventually lead to a settlement of the nuclear issue and a win-win game, the analyst went on to say.

The remaining signatories to the JCPOA are Iran, Russia, China, France and Britain – the four permanent members of the UN Security Council – plus Germany.

The expert on international affairs pointed out that the West's excuses and extravagance in the issues beyond the JCPOA had led the Vienna talks to revive the JCPOA not to yield the expected results.

“Favorable conditions are now in place so that, given the history of previous negotiations, the two sides can quickly reach a new agreement, but the content of this agreement should include the lifting of U.S. sanctions against Iran,” he added.

In retaliation for the abrogation of the nuclear deal by the U.S. and inaction by the other parties, particularly Europeans, to honor their commitments under the JCPOA, Iran started to gradually remove limits on is nuclear program. Iran took this retaliatory measure one year after the U.S. left the deal. It was based on paragraph 36 of the JCPOA.

Paragraph 36 has provided a mechanism to resolve disputes and allows one side, under certain circumstances, to stop complying with the deal if the other side is out of compliance.
 The expert said Westerners deliberately do not say in their propaganda campaigns that Iran's actions in reducing its JCPOA-related obligations are a reaction to non-adherence on the part of the P4+1 group to live up to their obligations. “They pledged to take steps to reduce the negative effects of the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA, but in practice did not take effective measure.”

Mirtaher also stated that the Biden administration had realized that Donald Trump's approach to the Iran nuclear issue had not worked, noting, “Trump's goal was to force Iran to comply with his administration's 12 demands by imposing the toughest sanctions, and Iran responded by reducing its nuclear commitments in the JCPOA and taking steps toward nuclear technology, including 60 percent and 20 percent enrichment and production of metallic uranium.”

“If the United States is concerned about Iran's nuclear progress to uncontrollable borders,” the expert underscored,” it should take a rational approach instead of pressuring and pursuing a policy of tightening sanctions.” 

“Otherwise, if the new talks fail, the West will be responsible for everything Iran does in the nuclear issue. Iran has repeatedly stressed that the JCPOA agreement can survive, but one end is Iran and the other end is the show of goodwill on the part of the West to take the first step in lifting the oppressive sanctions against Iran,” the expert reiterated.

On the nuclear sanctions imposed by the Trump administration in the form of so-called terrorism and human rights sanctions against Iran, and the Biden administration’s hesitation to lift them, Mirtaher said: "I do not think this is the main problem, the problem is that the Americans are basically not in good faith.”
“Robert Malley, in charge of Iran Desk in the Biden administration, has emphasized that they will not lift these sanctions, which have been imposed on Iran under other headings, but in the same nuclear sanctions in the form of the JCPOA, the Americans raise many issues and the Biden administration’s officials say that any possible agreement between Iran and the United States would be limited to the Biden era, and if a Republican president comes to power in 2024, especially if Trump comes, the routine will return to before Biden.”

The whole issues obscure the prospect of any agreement, Mirtaher underlined. In addition, he said, the U.S. insistence on lifting minimum sanctions on Iran in itself is a kind of bad intention against Iran.

In any case, in the current situation, Iran wants to reach some kind of agreement with the West including the Americans, but only if the negotiations do not take place under pressure and they eventually lead to the lifting of sanctions, the expert noted.
“I believe that Mr. Raisi's positions are quite clear, and now it is up to the Americans to clarify their stances vis-a-vis the JCPOA.”

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