Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator declared days ago that that the nuclear negotiations will resume on November 29. The attempts to revive the JCPOA occurs more than four months after the latest meeting before Raisi took the power.
This sustained pause has prompted many to wonder if the there is still a possibility for bridging the rifts. Different perceptions of both US and Iran‘s negotiation stances further complicated the condition. While diplomatic attempts are gaining traction, diplomacy, through nuclear negotiations, remains the only realistic option for resolving conflicts, and restoring trust.
Tehran has used delay tactic in recent months, ascribed to the new government’s reconfiguration of its nuclear policy. These include the hiring of conservatives to key diplomatic roles and the incessant acceleration of the nuclear ambitions.
These actions have scared and upset the US, European signatories of JCPOA, and the United Kingdom. The 5+1 group had anticipated that the JCPOA discussions would resume in a reasonable timeframe. Because of the lack of clarity, US Secretary of State expressed his displeasure with Tehran’s delaying tactics. Anthony Blinken declared that time is finishing and that he is considering plan B possibilities.
Order of action, lifting of sanctions, surveillance, long-term pledges to safeguard the deal, and follow-on discussions to resolve lingering regional concerns remain key divisions between the two sides. On the order of action, Iran’s stance is unwavering in nuclear negotiations. Tehran wants the US to start the moves toward lifting the sanctions that have been in place since 2018.
Only after the verification of the removal of sanctions will Iran launch its own commitment procedure. Iran ‘s stance is roots in experiences it had from the developments after the original JCPOA. Tehran enacted the agreement only to discover that the economic advantages of sanctions removal were more impossible to accomplish.
Nuclear Negotiations; Iran’s Curious Patience
Following the takeover of power by Ebrahim Raisi, Iran has silently enacted steps to reinforce its leverage in nuclear negotiations. These include nuclear and non-nuclear moves by Tehran that started form a curious patience. Tehran faced with recurrent western urge to turn back to the table inducing an air of vitality for western side.
Besides, Iranian nuclear ambitions have progressed in a serious and alarming way through the past months. The country launched 20% Uranium enrichment less than a year ago after the assassination of a famous Iranian nuclear scientist, seemingly by Israel. Tehran launched enriching at 60 percent level after a security assault at its Natanz enrichment plant three months later. Iran has stockpiled 2,441 kg of uranium, in a latest report, 7 times more than the commitment limit.
Another Iranian curious move occurred when the country’s last inspection arrangement with the IAEA ended three months ago. Iran cut the inspectors’ access and further tensions erupted. Iran, nevertheless announced recommitment to the earlier arrangement enabling access to service surveillance cameras at the surveillance sites.
This was viewed as a significant concession then, but Iran denied IAEA auditors from entry to Karaj centrifuge assembly plant. This was a further indication showing Iran’s coherent plan to proceed with pre-negotiation preparations.
Far from nuclear steps, Iran has enacted some battlefield steps to indicate its preparedness for non-agreement alternatives. In a recent attempt, Tehran thwarted an American attempt in Oman sea to seize an Iranian Tanker. IRGC’s action was announced 10 days later with the announcement of the restarting of nuclear negotiations on November 29.
Iran went even further to launch a large-scale sea, land and air military drill only few days after negotiation announcement. Tehran is piling up all leverages weeks before turning back to negotiation table.