Iran Won't Be Rushed into 'Quick' Deal, But If US Has Same Goodwill, JCPOA Return is Close - Tehran
After negotiations stalled for months on what seemed to be the precipice of a return to the Iran nuclear deal, talks resumed last month in Qatar but made no real progress. Meanwhile, Washington has imposed new sanctions on Iran while sending signals suggesting that the window for a deal is closing rapidly.
Iran won't be rushed into a "quick" deal to revive the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but if the US has the goodwill Iran does, then a return is close, a government spokesperson said on Monday.
"They demand that Iran makes a quick decision, (insisting that) time is limited and Iran must respond quickly," foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani told reporters at a press conference. He said the Islamic Republic will "not sacrifice the country's fundamental interests... with a rushed process."
"If the US acts constructively and positively, an agreement is close," Kanani added.
The 2015 deal provided for the removal of US and UN sanctions against Iran in exchange for Iran accepting strict limitations on the purity of uranium-235 it could refine and the volume it could store, as well as giving up any pursuit of nuclear weapons. However, three years later, the Trump administration unilaterally pulled out of the agreement, accusing Iran of secretly violating the deal, and reimposing harsh sanctions that damaged Iran's economy and frustrated its response to the COVID-19 pandemic that struck in early 2020.
Then-US President Donald Trump's move was part of a "maximum pressure" campaign aimed at toppling the Iranian government and included attacks on Shiite militias in Iraq and Syria allegedly backed by Iran, as well as the positioning of extensive US forces in the Persian Gulf region, the adding of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to the US' list of foreign terrorist groups, and the assassination of the IRGC Quds Force's commander, Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, during a January 2020 trip to Iraq.
Talks to revive the deal began in 2021, after US President Joe Biden took office, with Biden saying he believes the JCPOA is the best way to stop Iran from getting a nuclear bomb. Although by early 2022 they had nearly reached a deal, a number of obstacles have remained, including Biden's refusal to take the IRGC off the list or to provide guarantees to Tehran that a future administration won't back out again, as Trump did.
In addition, Biden's CIA director, William Burns, has twice stated since then that US intelligence doesn't believe Iran ever restarted its nuclear weapons program after abandoning it in 2004, meaning that all US and Israeli posturing about an imminent Iranian nuclear weapon were lies.
According to a recent publication in the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, a US think tank, Iranian leaders fear that without securing the removal of the IRGC from the US' terrorist list, they will lack sufficient domestic support for accepting the deal already arrived at in the Vienna talks.
On Monday, Mohammad Eslami, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, told reporters that the cameras at Iranian nuclear facilities that are owned by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) but which exceed the deal made in March, would remain off until a new JCPOA was signed. Iran turned those cameras off last month after IAEA chief Rafael Grossi stopped in Israel to meet with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett ahead of the IAEA meeting. Tehran cried foul, as the cameras at its nuclear facilities were installed after a deal to strengthen the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), and Israel both possesses nuclear weapons and is not party to the NPT, but has faced no similar sanction.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|