Iran: On Tuesday, Iran accused Western parties to the 2015 nuclear deal of “persisting in their blame game,” a day after European officials warned that if efforts to resurrect the pact fail, it would soon be dead.
Diplomats from the United Kingdom, France, and Germany cautioned on Monday that “time is running out” to save the accord, which they claimed would soon become “an empty shell” if talks between Iran and key nations in Vienna do not continue.
Ali Bagheri Kani, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, responded on Twitter, saying: “Some actors continue to play the blame game instead of engaging in genuine diplomacy. We presented our views early and worked to close gaps in a productive and flexible manner.”
Kani stated on the United States’ exit from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in 2018: “Diplomacy is both a one-way and a two-way path. If there is a genuine desire to correct the wrongdoing of the perpetrator, the way will be created for a swift and satisfactory resolution.”
However, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday that while negotiation with Iran “remains, at this time, the best choice,” Washington is “actively engaged with friends and partners on alternatives.”
The stakes are really high. If the talks fail, a new regional war might erupt, with Israel pushing for tougher sanctions if diplomacy fails to rein in Iran’s nuclear programme.
Indirect discussions between Iran and the US began in April but were suspended in June following the election of hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi, whose negotiating team returned to Vienna after five months with an unyielding attitude.
In response to the US pullout and decision to reimpose punishing sanctions that have devastated Iran’s economy, Iran began violating nuclear limitations under the accord in 2019.
“Who broke the agreement? Americans. Who should make up for it and be adaptable? Of course, Americans are involved “a top Iranian official stated.
Analysts and diplomats say Iran’s clerical rulers hope that a hardline stance, led by their anti-Western Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, will force Washington to meet Tehran’s “maximalist demands.”
“However, it is possible that it will backfire. This is a highly risky and delicate situation. Diplomacy failure will have ramifications for everyone “On the condition of anonymity, a Middle Eastern diplomat remarked.
According to a senior US official, during the seventh round of talks, which began on Nov. 29, Iran abandoned any compromises it had made in the prior six and wanted more.
With major differences between Iran and the US on critical topics such as the timing and extent of sanctions relief, as well as how and when Iran will reverse its nuclear actions, the odds of an agreement appear slim.
Iran demands that the sanctions be lifted immediately and in a transparent manner. If Iran regained compliance with the nuclear programme, Washington has stated it would lift restrictions “incompatible” with the agreement, meaning that it would leave others in place, such as those imposed in response to terrorism or human rights violations.
Iran also wants assurances that “no future US administration” will back out of the agreement. However, Biden is unable to make this commitment because the nuclear deal is a non-binding political agreement rather than a legally binding treaty.
“How can we have faith in Americans once more? What if they back out of the arrangement once more? As a result, the side who broke the agreement should provide assurances that it would never happen again “According to the Iranian official.
“It is not our responsibility to remedy their problem… They have the ability to find a solution and provide us with assurances.”
Iran has also significantly limited the access granted to UN nuclear inspectors under the nuclear deal, limiting their inspections to just disclosed nuclear sites.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported last month that it had not been given access to re-install surveillance cameras at the TESA Karaj centrifuge-parts facility in Iran, which had been damaged by suspected sabotage in June, when one of the agency’s four cameras was destroyed.
According to Iranian media, Iran’s top nuclear official Mohammad Eslami remarked, “Our talks with the IAEA concerning the Karaj complex are still ongoing.”