US has no intention of fully implementing JCPOA obligations

TEHRAN, Nov. 08 (MNA) – Prof. Entessar says that US views JCPOA as a temporary agreement to pressure Iran to turn into a secondary player in region, adding that Washington has no intention of fully implementing its JCPOA obligations drafted in 2015.

The new top Iranian negotiator Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani said last Wednesday that he had reached an agreement with the EU negotiator Enrique Mora to start the Vienna talks on November 29 a five-month halt amid the change in government in Iran. 

Prior to Iran’s announcement of the date on Wednesday both Iran and the United States had retched up warnings and were flexing their muscles which affected diplomatic efforts. Anyway, now that the date is announced, the parties still appear to be highlighting their leverage before the talks begin.

Accordingly, Western powers are waging psychological warfare on different fronts including Insistence on “military option is still on the table”, highlighting using the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as leverage and smart sanctions.

It is quite well expected that Western powers will continue to adopt their forward-looking policies with the certain assumption that the talks will begin on November 29, some examples of which are as follows:

1. Republican leaders in the US Congress have said that Iran should consider any agreement with the Biden administration dead from the very start.
2. France has sought to highlight the IAEA leverage, claiming that they have the power to pass a resolution against Iran at the upcoming Board of Governors meeting.
3. US diplomats have said they want talks to start from where the sixth round of Vienna talks ended in June.

While observers predict no results in the negotiations in the near future, the agreement of the parties to start the talks would signal a joint effort to handle the situation.

One has to be careful that the Americans' insistence on starting negotiations from where the last round of Vienna talks ended shows that they are concerned about the new negotiating stances of the new administration in Iran, as the Americans see the results of the last six rounds of the Vienna talks as in their own favor.

To know more about the issue, we reached out to Nader Entessar, professor emeritus of political science from the University of South Alabama.

Here is the full text of the interview:

Iran and other sides to the JCPOA have agreed to resume Vienna talks on 29 Nov. How do you assess this?

Iran had already stated that it would restart the Vienna talks when the country's new administration makes the necessary preparation for the resumption of the nuclear talks.  Iran needs to be realistic and have no illusions about the outcome of the upcoming rounds of negotiations with  4+1.

Iran has announced that it will only continue result-oriented negotiations and is not going to continue talks for talks. Why the US has resorted to the talk-for-talk tactic till now? Basically, is the US serious about returning to the JCPOA?

The Biden administration has generally followed the Trump-era policy of "maximum pressure" towards Iran without calling it so.  The US has no intention of fully implementing its obligations under the JCPOA as it was drafted in 2015. The Biden administration has been very clear on this issue. The US has always viewed the JCPOA as a temporary and transitional agreement to pressure Iran to degrade its conventional defense and deterrent capabilities and turn Iran into a secondary or tertiary player in the Persian Gulf.  The US goal will not change if Washington decides to return to the JCPOA.  What the Islamic Republic needs to realize is that Washington's objectives in Iran have been remarkably constant and will not change from one administration to the next; only its tactics may be adjusted to suit a particular administration's overall foreign policy framework.

Biden administration says it is not going to guarantee that the US will not withdraw from the possible future agreement like what Trump did. And even some in Washington are threatening to kill any agreement that Biden may reach. How do you assess the US stance and its effect on the talks’ process?  Why should Iran be optimistic about such a possible agreement if the US is going to behave irresponsibly again?

If Iran agrees to any new terms with the US, it must realize that such agreements will at best have a limited shelf life.  This is a painful lesson that Tehran should have by now learned in the post-JCPOA era. The bottom line is that no agreement with this or any other US president should be viewed as a "guaranteed" agreement.  The Biden administration has been very clear on this.

Under such fragile circumstances threatening any possible agreement, how constructive role can Europe play? Basically, is Europe independent enough to be able to play a constructive role in securing any possible agreement? Or it will behave inactively as it did after Trump's withdrawal?

Europe is not an independent player in the Vienna negotiations.  Again, Iran should have no illusions about Europe's role and its efficacy in this or other similar negotiations.  Under the best conditions, Europe can act as a facilitator but not as an honest broker.  

Interview by Payman Yazdani

News Code 180509


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