By Hongda Fan

America’s arrogance is causing more troubles to the Vienna negotiations

December 5, 2021 - 21:42

The seventh round of the Vienna negotiations on lifting sanctions against Iran and fully resuming implementation of the JCPOA was temporarily suspended on December 3. It seems that Iran and the United States have different views on how to face the results of the first six rounds of negotiations. In this regard, European negotiators are on the side of the United States.

Iran believes that since the outcome of the first six rounds of negotiations is a draft, there is still room for further negotiations; The United States and Europe believe that new negotiations should proceed directly from the results of the previous six rounds of negotiations.

Iran's chief negotiator and Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani said that Iran has put forward two proposals to other negotiators on lifting sanctions against Iran and the Iranian nuclear issue. According to Bagheri, if these two proposals based on the spirit of the JCPOA are recognized, Iran will provide the third proposal.

However, the United States and the three European countries do not agree with the first two proposals provided by Iran and are very dissatisfied with Iran's changes to some matters reached in the first six rounds of negotiations. U.S. Secretary of state Blinken blamed Iran for the failure of this round of the Vienna negotiation and accused Iran of being insincere.

Some Republicans have warned that the U.S. will quit the JCPOA again when they win the White House. How can Iran trust such a country and government?

In fact, Iran sent a delegation of up to 40 people with Deputy Foreign Minister Bagheri as the chief negotiator, including experts in oil, banking, economy, law, trade, commerce, and other fields, as well as several senior officials at the vice-ministerial level. In Bagheri’s words, Iran came to Vienna with sincerity.

However, Iran and the United States obviously have major differences in their expectations for this round of the Vienna negotiations. Iran stressed that the United States should lift sanctions and Iran's nuclear rights should be respected. Bagheri emphasized in a commentary in the Financial Times that Iran’s first goal is to “complete, guarantee and verify the sanctions imposed on the Iranian people.”

The most important thing for the U.S. delegation is that Iran should fully implement the JCPOA, immediately stop its nuclear development and return to the initial level stipulated in the nuclear deal. President Biden made it clear at the end of October that the United States is willing to return to and fully abide by the JCPOA as long as Iran resumes its performance. Moreover, Washington can consider lifting sanctions against Iran by means of verification.

At present, the attitude of the United States and European powers is very debatable. On the one hand, the culprit of the current problem is the United States, which unilaterally and irresponsibly withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018. After that, the European signatories did not assume the responsibility of safeguarding the JCPOA.

On the other hand, the United States and Europe still repeatedly emphasize and pressure Iran to strictly abide by the JCPOA. The United States also stressed that since 2019, Iran has seriously violated the JCPOA and accelerated nuclear development, so Washington and the international community should put "maximum pressure " on Iran.

The United States has broken the rules, but it still requires Iran to abide by the same rules. This fully shows the arrogance of the United States and is causing increasing troubles to the JCPOA and the Vienna negotiations.

The Obama administration signed the JCPOA in 2015 and the Trump administration left it in 2018. If the Biden administration can really return to the JCPOA, some American Republicans have stated that the United States will withdraw again when they win the White House. How can Iran trust such a country and government? How many countries can guarantee that the dilemma encountered by Iran today will not happen to them in the future?

To be frank, the world needs fairness and justice. We should say no to some behaviors that wantonly undermine international standards. China believes that the current Iranian nuclear crisis was triggered by the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA. Therefore, Washington should lift all relevant illegal sanctions and win the trust of the international community with practical actions, and Iran should resume full compliance on this basis. Russia holds the same standpoint.

As the only country that has withdrawn from the JCPOA and now hopes to rejoin it, the United States really needs to face the next negotiations with a more positive attitude.

The United States needs to show its sincerity and goodwill. In fact, the Iranian delegation participating in this round of negotiations has called on the United States to unfreeze $10 billion of assets as an initial goodwill gesture. 

Iran, the United States, and other relevant parties can gather in Vienna again. The Vienna negotiations are still on the way. It is hoped that all parties will continue to work hard and reach a consensus as soon as possible.

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