Iran and the "nuclear games" of American presidents
Is the nuclear deal with Iran "reanimated" separately?
Negotiations with Iran are conducted by the White House of Joe Biden and as Maria Zakharova said answering a question from The Moscow Post correspondent, they do not see the end. The review conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) will be held, and the "nuclear deal" will hopefully be reanimated separately.
Our interest in the topic of the "nuclear deal" with Iran is nevertheless connected with both the fate of the NPT and the attitude of the United States towards issues of global stability. This is a kind of test of the predictability of US and European foreign policy in the face of cross-party competition for the White House. Washington withdrew from the Iran nuclear program treaty on May 8, 2018. Broke the agreement approved by the UN Security Council.
From the history of the question
Having decided to break the deal, Republican President Donald Trump renewed a number of previously lifted anti-Iran sanctions and, as it were, "threw" both his predecessor Barack Obama and his NATO allies, as well as Russia and China. It should be added that Tehran went to sign the agreement in 2015 with the most active participation of Moscow and Beijing. Iran agreed to its terms. As a result, the "Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action" on Iran's nuclear program was obtained.
Before that, the "six" countries (including Russia, China, the USA, France, Germany and Great Britain) had been negotiating with Iran for ten years, trying to put a barrier on its path, as the West believed, to atomic weapons. Iran, denying such intentions, confirmed the fulfillment of obligations to place nuclear activities under IAEA control on January 16, 2016.
The fate of this deal after Trump, who called it "the worst in US history," has become a matter of concern for Biden. Democrats now have to save face and again try to "protect" Tehran from a nuclear choice. It should be noted that after six rounds of "indirect" negotiations held in Vienna in April-June 2021 with the participation of Russia, Great Britain, China, France and Germany, who signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the fate of the nuclear agreement with Iran hung in the air. The direct participation of the two main parties is lacking.
"The lifting of US sanctions is the first and most necessary step for the restoration of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Iran is fully ready to stop its corrective measures, returning to the full implementation of the JCPOA as soon as the sanctions are lifted and this will be verified, "said Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Arakchi during a meeting in Vienna.
The restoration of the JCPOA under the conditions of a change of government and the coming to power of President Ibrahim Raisi at the initiative of Tehran was suspended in June. Iranian politicians, "raised" by energetic Trump, are in no hurry to trust the United States again, are not inclined to show former flexibility.
At the end of 2020, Iran adopted the law "Strategic Measure to Lift Sanctions," which deals with intensifying nuclear activities. In accordance with the law, Iranian nuclear engineers brought uranium enrichment to 20% (the nuclear deal involves enrichment at 3.67%), and also limited the inspection capabilities of the IAEA. In February of this year, Iran began the process of producing enriched metallic uranium, which, according to IAEA inspectors, can be used to create nuclear weapons. It became known about the beginning of tests of new improved centrifuges IR-9 for uranium enrichment.
And for Washington by this time, North Korea with its nuclear missile program managed to become a serious headache. Trump's theater summits did not lead to anything. Pyongyang announced its withdrawal from the NPT.
Iran also threatened
Biden cannot afford to appear weak, to resume the IJDP in its original form. Tehran called the deadlines for breaking the negotiation impasse, threatened to block the access of IAEA observers to their nuclear facilities. One of the previously named dates is February 21, already in the past. Fortunately, in the past and January 20, when the previous Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced that Iran would withdraw from the NPT if Europe sent a case about Tehran's violation of the JCPOA to the UN Security Council.
A week before, on January 14, the Foreign Ministers of Germany, France and the UK announced the launch of a dispute settlement mechanism as part of the implementation of the JCPOA. A step that could lead to the restoration of UN sanctions. The reason for this, according to Europeans, was Iran's failure to fulfill its obligations. The withdrawal of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) from the NPT would mean the end of negotiations on a nuclear deal. The draft law on withdrawal from the NPT was indeed prepared and sent on January 28 to the Majlis (parliament) of the Islamic Republic. This was reported by IRNA.
The Russian Foreign Ministry then, in response to the initiative of the Euro-troika, said that it saw no reason to launch a dispute resolution mechanism and warned that the activation of this mechanism could make it impossible to return to the implementation of the SVDP. China also regretted the decision of the Europeans, saying that the United States unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA, ignoring international law and obligations, putting pressure on Iran.
The Role of Russia
Iran has traditionally focused on Europe as a source of investment and technology, the main market for oil, a source of political support. The collapse of the "nuclear deal" showed "who-is-who" and who you can rely on. European parties to the agreement were unable to resist the violent Republican president. They wanted to bypass the restrictions imposed by the United States, designed various settlement schemes, but the INSTEX financial transaction mechanism did not work.
It seems that now the main hope for the success of the negotiations is related to the participation of Moscow and Beijing. On October 6, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir Abdollahian. The Ministers discussed the prospects for resuscitation of the ICPD. They confirmed that the restoration of the agreements enshrined in UN Security Council Resolution 2231 will depend on the observance of the "balance of interests" fixed at the time of signing the document.
Iran is ready to resume negotiations in the Vienna format. Sergei Lavrov's colleague said that the Americans during the UN General Assembly transmitted through intermediaries "messages of intent" of Biden, including transparent hints about "the rights and interests of the people of Iran." But while Tehran is waiting for Biden to lift the restrictions imposed on Iran and its partners when the Democratic president returns to the legal field of the "deal." In particular, it will unlock $10 billion of Iranian assets in foreign banks.
Meanwhile, Sergey Lavrov and his Iranian counterpart welcomed the decision of the SCO summit in Dushanbe to begin the procedure for Iran to join the SCO as a full-fledged member. Tehran already, as an observer, has the opportunity to participate in almost all areas of the SCO, including the work of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group.
Tehran also expresses hope for a meeting of the presidents of Russia and Iran in the near future. The Iranian Foreign Minister at a joint press conference following the talks said that "Russia takes a priority place in the foreign policy of the IRI, is perceived as a strategic partner."
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, after a telephone conversation with Sergei Lavrov, said that "both Moscow and Washington are interested in restoring the SVDP." At the same time, he called Russia "an important participant in these efforts," probably wanted to praise! According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the conversation took place on Wednesday at the initiative of the American side. Probably in connection with the visit of the Iranian minister to Russia.
US and Strategic Stability
Anthony Blinken said, however, that Washington intends to expand the framework of the JCPOA to include issues of regional policy and Iran's missile program in the agreement. Maybe this is in addition to the "rights and interests of the people of Iran"?
Following talks with Sergei Lavrov, the Iranian Foreign Minister at a joint press conference said that "the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, can visit Iran at any time to discuss technical issues." But the position of this international controlling organization should not be politicized, attempts by the agency to intervene in issues of a political nature should be excluded.
The United States, the Euro-Troika, as well as Israel, which remains an irreconcilable opponent of the negotiations, continue to suspect Iran of intending to acquire nuclear charges. Russia's position is to adhere to "reasonable sufficiency" in the requirements for Iran and find a way out that will eliminate "proliferation risks." Problems should be dealt with strictly within the framework of the Safeguards Agreement.
In particular, in the report of the IAEA Director General of 2015 on the final settlement of issues related to alleged military nuclear activities in the IRI, it was recorded that Tehran did not carry out any undeclared nuclear activities after 2009. The IAEA Board of Governors agreed. That conclusion should not be reviewed, nor should the Governing Council resolution of 15 December 2015.
At the same time, Tehran also has complaints against the IAEA. Iran did not receive an IAEA response to an accident in April in the electricity grid at the Natanz nuclear facility, which led to the explosion. In July last year, an explosion and fire occurred at the same facility in the building where centrifuges are produced. In both cases, the Iranian side claimed sabotage, followed by Israel.
While in Vienna, experts consisting of three working groups are developing the text of an agreement on the resumption of the JCPOA, including the lifting of sanctions and the return of the United States to the deal, as well as Tehran's fulfillment of "nuclear obligations," from which, as the West tends to believe, Iran "significantly deviates," the White House led by Joe Biden (with the participation of "global" London) blasted news feeds with plans to swing the already precarious state of affairs in the western sector of the Pacific Ocean and East Asia.
It was decided to supply the Royal Navy of the Australian Union with nuclear attack submarines. It is clear to everyone that the goal of the new AUKUS union, created precisely to keep China on the fly. But the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons may also be under attack.