Biden internal weakness impedes JCPOA revival

TEHRAN, Apr. 25 (MNA) – Despite some European efforts to get the stalled talks in Vienna restarted, chances of resuming the talks remain low due to never-ending political bickering in the United States.

The talks over reviving a 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), came to a standstill in early March after all technical issues were addressed. Enrique Mora, the EU coordinator of the talks, said at the time that there would be no expert-level and formal meeting and that it was time to make political decisions to conclude the talks. 

Since then, the US has neither made political decisions nor has it set any date for resuming the talks. Instead, it continued stonewalling while demanding that Iran back down from its demands. 

Iran made it clear that it wants a good deal and it’s ready for that. Tehran also said it made all the political decisions needed to push the talks forward. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian has recently said that the Iranian government is determined to reach a good and strong agreement.

Speaking on the phone with EU foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell on Friday evening, Amir Abdollahian pointed out that there is no doubt about the determination of the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to reach a “good, strong, and lasting agreement”.

He also signaled that the US is still pursuing demands that are unacceptable to Iran. “The White House must put aside excessive demands and hesitation and take a step towards realism and solutions,” the Iranian foreign minister said, according to an Iranian foreign ministry statement.

Amir Abdollahian also dispelled rumors that other parties other than the US may be hindering the conclusion of the talks. “Three European countries [France, Germany, and the UK], Russia and China, are now ready to finalize the agreement,” Amir Abdollahian asserted, adding that “the current US administration must have the courage to correct the White House’s past wrong policies.”

Borrell, in turn, appeared to be blaming Iran for the delay in the JCPOA talks. The EU foreign policy chief said the prolongation of the break in the talks is not constructive and suggested that talks between the EU envoy and Iran's chief negotiator be resumed closely.

Referring to the war in Ukraine, Borrell described it as a global crisis that could have negative consequences.

This assessment of the status quo seems to contrast the assessment of an expert closely following the Vienna talks. Seyed Mohammad Marandi, a professor of American studies at the University of Tehran who accompanied the Iranian negotiating team during the last few rounds, said US President Joe Biden’s internal problems are standing in the way of reviving the JCPOA. 

Talking to the official news agency IRNA, he said, “According to the Americans, Iran has been able to gain significant concessions in Vienna, so during the talks, some members of the American delegation resigned and left the team in protest.”

Marandi referred to the negative reactions in Congress after US Envoy for Iran Rob Malley briefed the congressmen on the Vienna talks. “When Mr. Malley went to Congress and reported on the negotiation process, the reactions were negative. That is, members of Congress protested, believing that the American team had retreated too much,” he said. 

He added, “In the last days of the negotiations, things were moving fast, but on various issues, including verification, lifting of sanctions, guarantees, as well as the IRGC, the Americans stopped working at once.”

Marandi noted, “The failure to reach an agreement is due to US internal problems, and the growing problems of the Ukraine war for the US are a push for Biden to accept the need for an agreement.”

First published in Tehran Tiems

News Code 186083

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