United States unilateral withdrawal from JCPOA facilitated Iran’s road to become a nuclear threshold state. Iran launched its 60% Uranium enrichment program and has the upper hand in the current nuclear negotiations in Vienna.
The nuclear negotiations to revive the JCPOA continue for a fourth day in Austrian capital. Each side to the talks has its own leverages and priorities. Even the parties outside the game try to play their role.
Like previous rounds, the United States uses sanction in a reward and punishment play. Europeans try to mediate between the main two sides while a third party, Israel, makes war an option on the table. Iran’s main leverage, by the way, is the nuclear capabilities, uranium enrichment and nuclear brinkmanship.
The failure of diplomatic attempts may lead to a series of inappropriate possibilities. Violent hostilities, with less probability, and the strong potential of Iran turning into a nuclear threshold state are alternative choices. Former American and Israeli leaders facilitated the way for Iran.
Biden’s predecessor in US leadership determined to undermine the globally recognized 2015 accord. Trump withdrew the JCPOA a year after taking power after ludicrously reiterating unproven and irrelevant claims about the impacts of deal. He placed further punishing sanctions on Tehran, only to infuriate the latter and prompt strict responses. The Assassination of Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani, by direct president order, was the final nail on the coffin.
Tehran retaliated in a variety of ways. Most crucially, Iran resumed its uranium enrichment activities, pushing it further to approach weapons-grade levels. US President Joe Biden’s takeover of power this year also lagged to take advantage of the brief number of opportunities to renounce his predecessor’s actions. His efforts to utilize sanctions to get Iran back to the fresh terms also backfired.
Is Iran a Nuclear Threshold State?
With the election of Ebrahim Raisi as president, Iran started a fresh way towards becoming a nuclear threshold state. The country has the option now to use the capability as a diplomatic leverage or a nuclear brinkmanship.
Iran argues in the current round of talks that it would return to the pact only after US government lifts “all sanctions”. Tehran also called for evident guarantees that the United States will not repeat its violation as it did in 2018. Tehran also declared that the process of its getting back to commitments starts once it received verification of sanctions lifted completely and permanently.
Iran’s conditions in the new round indicated the high level of confidence it has about its leverages and capabilities. Evidently, Iran doesn’t see the fresh nuclear capability as only diplomatic leverages, but also field arms. Iran has signaled the enrichment program far beyond 60%, a step that puts Iran right close to the “Japan Option”.
On the other side, the United State wants Iran to revert its violations and discard its rich uranium reservoir. Iranian powerful IR-6 centrifuges shul also stop working, according to Washington. The US also relates sanctions relief, in part, to Iranian missile program and regional conduct. The deep rift instigated Washington to prepare for a Plan B.
Though still unknown, the Plan B could entail harder economic pressure, more diplomatic leverages, and using Israeli regional hound role. Former vice president, Joe Biden, clearly knows that all these plan have failed recurrently on Iran and makes Iran more of a Nuclear Threshold State.
Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu are the architects of the current status quo over Iran. Tehran has to accessible options, while the other side of the table has no desirable option, but inaccessible demands.