Dec 13, 2022, 10:30 AM
US Iran policy: Now what?

TEHRAN, Dec. 13 (MNA) – The end of the months-long unrest in Iran has once again brought to the surface the Biden administration’s dithering on Iran, particularly regarding the stalled talks in Vienna over the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

After two months of continued unrest, calm and order have been restored in Iran. What French President Emanuel Macron called a “revolution” turned out to be a little more than a hitch.  The Europeans and their American allies threw their full weight behind the fleeting wave of unrest that erupted in the wake of the death of Mahsa Amini in September. 

The West’s support for the unrest has escalated tensions between Iran on the one hand and the US and its European allies on the other. Iran and some European countries summoned each other’s ambassadors several times in protest. The talks over the Iran deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), fell victim in the process. The Europeans and Americans heaped human rights sanctions on Iran instead of engaging in the nuclear talks that were meant to lift the very US sanctions on Iran. 

The latest Western batch of sanctions against Iran was expected to be levied on Monday. Iran beat them to the punch and slapped new sanctions on a number of British and European Union individuals and entities. 

In the last two months, Biden officials have slowly moved from blaming the hiatus in the Vienna talks over the nuclear deal on Iran to openly saying that the pact is no longer on their agenda. And most recently, Biden officials have resorted to military threats against Iran to revive a deal they say is no longer on their agenda. Secretary of State Tony Blinken has hinted that the US is ready to use the military option against Iran. Addressing the J Street National Conference, Blinken went over the history of US non-compliance with the JCPOA.

However, he threatened Iran for the current state of play between Tehran and Washington. “We continue to believe that diplomacy is the best way to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. But should the Iranian regime reject that path, its leaders should make no mistake that all options are on the table to ensure that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon,” he said.

This highly charged atmosphere appeared to have been created in the wake of unrest in Iran, which now has gone. 

The JCPOA issue, however, remains unresolved. Pundits believe that the West might have miscalculated the situation in Iran on the unrest and, accordingly, destroyed the prospects for a deal, believing that Iran will either succumb to unrest or come willing to give away the store.

But none has happened. 

Iran has said that it will not make concessions under threat.  After a recent phone conversation with the EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Twitter, “Talked to @JosepBorrellF following his call. I said, if the US & the E3 think, via pressure, they generate leverage in the negotiations, they are wrong! We respond to sanctions & interference. Concurrently, we are on the way to the final stage of a good, strong & durable agreement.”

By Mehran Shamsuddin

First published in Tehran Times

News Code 194870


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