Agreement or No Deal on Iran’s Nuclear Program?

The last row: After a break of several days due to a now-withdrawn Russian demand for relief from the newly imposed Western sanctions, the JCPOA seems ready to resume talks in Vienna. The Wall Street Journal The report says the talks are facing a residual hurdle that could derail the talks. There is talk of lifting US sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. The Wall Street Journal The report called it perhaps the “most politically sensitive” issue, with US allies such as Israel vehemently opposing the lifting of sanctions. Some U.S. officials say failure to compromise on this point could lead to a breakdown in talks. What does this mean for future agreements and how is Russia’s role in negotiations going?

Background:

  • Iranian Foreign Minister Hussein Amir-Abdulahian concluded his talks with his Russian counterpart by saying, “If we reach an agreement with the United States on the remaining issues related to some of Iran’s major red lines, based on my discussions with Mr. Lavrov today, Russia will be Islamic until a good and lasting agreement is reached.” The Republic will stand by Iran, continuing the constructive role it has played from the beginning. “
  • For his part, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, “We have received written guarantees – they are included in the text of the agreement to revive the JCPOA and contain a reliable defense of all projects provided by Russia.” . “
  • Meanwhile, a senior US State Department official said, “We will continue to work with Russia to return to full implementation of the JCPOA,” adding that “we must not allow Russia’s participation in nuclear projects that are part of a full implementation resumption.” JCPOA. “

Cipher spoke to Brief Ambassador Gary GrappoHe is a former US ambassador to Oman Heather WilliamsThe former Iran’s National Intelligence Officer in charge of negotiations at the National Intelligence Council.

Cipher Short: What was Russia’s intention in raising sanctions on Ukraine in the context of the JCPOA talks?

Ambassador Gary GrappoFormer US ambassador to Iran

It is difficult to see through the smoke of the Ukraine attack what the Russian government is thinking about other urgent foreign policies like the JCPOA. The Russian Foreign Ministry is unaware of the war and what their bosses are now looking for after the tragedy of their experience. Nonetheless, their keynote speakers at JCPOA continue to play a seemingly constructive role to this day. So, it was strange that after the statement made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the Russians pulled this eleven-hour stunt that threw the Americans and Iranians in the same direction, shocked. Apparently, the Russian gambit has broken down to somehow free itself from the sanctions imposed recently using JCPOA, and Lavrov has to come up with an excuse / justification. His explanation is entirely his own. I suspect that the U.S. team may leave comments until the renewed JCPOA is signed and sealed, if indeed this happens. The Russians will not be exempt from sanctions and will not get any concessions … and they know it. If the agreement failed because of Russia’s conspiracy, all parties, including Iran, would blame them. It was a rock-and-roll strategy that was never prayed for.

Heather WilliamsFormer National Intelligence Manager of Iran, National Intelligence Council

I would assume that Russia has backtracked on its demands for clear, unambiguous guarantees, and that the United States or the EU 3 (France, Germany, the UK) have re-interpreted the language of the treaty in a face-to-face manner, rather than exempting Russia from sanctions. Because of his actions in Ukraine. Nothing about Lavrov’s statement indicates to me that the proposed language being worked out has necessarily changed due to Russia’s recent move. Since it seemed to have reached an agreement on language before Russia’s attempt to play the spoiler game, I don’t think Iran – or we – would be interested in reconsidering that language if we could avoid it. It’s a carefully balanced apple cart – no one wants to scratch it.


Read more JCPOA: If we get a deal, what does it mean? Norman Raoul exclusively in The Cipher Brief, with insights from the former National Intelligence Manager of Iran.


Cipher Short: How do you expect JCPOA to move forward? Will the Russian-imposed temporary stalemate be a continuation of negotiations, or will it be another obstacle to a deal?

Grappo Ambassador: No one in the US administration is talking too much about the status quo, let alone close. Discipline of Americans is both necessary and commendable because of the sensitivity of this issue to many interests in the United States and abroad. Without knowing the US redline, it is very difficult to know where we can stay. My own view is that this administration does not want to suffer the same consequences as the Obama administration, that is, many Democrats, along with Republicans, and many of our allies in the Middle East, especially Israel, are negotiating for compromise. , And then reversed by the next Republican administration. Thus, it has to look at the time horizon when it comes to various sanctions, missiles and the capture of Americans by the Iranian government. I would be very surprised if these three issues do not appear in any form in the newly discussed JCPOA.

Williams: At the moment, it seems that the resumption of the agreement is imminent, despite Russia’s failed attempts to suppress self-service facilities in these final hours of negotiations. I do not anticipate that those diplomatic games will have a lasting effect on the agreement, but they এবং and the Irbil attack একটি are a reminder that the nuclear deal will be pushed by many other controversial issues in the region. I believe that the JCPOA has the potential to make significant progress in limiting Iran’s nuclear program and its ability to develop nuclear weapons – even if it does not address Iran’s missile capabilities and its hateful regional influence – as a strength rather than a weakness. Nuclear deal Trying to resolve every controversial issue in the game with Iran through negotiations is an impossible task, but resolving this critical issue allows us to focus on using other tools of national power in the interests of our national security as opposed to Iran.


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Cipher Short: Of course, there are other interests and agendas related to the JCPOA in addition to the agreement. Concerns about the impact of domestic and regional politics, proxy and insurgent attacks, and concerns about Iran’s nuclear future, near and far, on debate, stability, and conflict?

Ambassador Grappo: My own very personal opinion is that this is a problem [the Biden] The administration seems to have followed with fidelity and fidelity. The return without a deal, while frustrating for some party leaders, can be easily explained by the short-lived internal political collapse. (However, we should expect the Middle East tensions to escalate as Israelis and Saudis take action to address Iran’s nuclear threat.) And not “caving” as it was. Whereas, a new agreement must meet some pretty high bar, of which the administration and the negotiating team must be very aware.

For Iran’s support of various vulnerable groups in the region, this is one Strategic Problems for Iranians. Moving forward will require the direct involvement of multiple parties in the region, many of whom do not speak to each other. But in the end setting up some process to deal with it, or at least appearing, would be a significant achievement. But to date, we have not heard from any of the negotiators on this subject, which, as expected, is due to its enormous sensitivity. In P5 + 1, the United States and our allies (including China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany) can finally make a kind of joint statement, and the Iranians can do something different, without any clear solution, without continuing efforts. I am less optimistic about this than anyone else.

The section includes research, analysis and reports by Cipher Brief analyst Ken Hughes.

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