Jerusalem – Is it possible to restore the groundbreaking 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and the world’s major powers? The answer seems no as Iran and the six world powers meet in Vienna on Monday to discuss the tattered treaty.
Since then, President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement in 2018 and Iran has been pushing for a nuclear program. Therefore, it is almost impossible to simply put the watch back. The election of hardline leaders in Iran, coupled with the US administration, which is seen as weak in the region, further weakens the prospect of a breakthrough.
The outlook seems so harsh that Israel’s prominent voice withdrawing Trump from the deal says the move was a big mistake.
Former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who strongly opposed the initial agreement, was one of the rare Israeli voices against the withdrawal at the time. He now states that the withdrawal of the United States has turned out to be a “major mistake” in the region over the last decade.
“Perhaps there was no agreement and it was better than allowing Iranians to use the withdrawal as an excuse to proceed with the project,” he said at a security council last week about the flawed deal.
“Now they are at the closest stage ever to reach the (nuclear) threshold,” he said.
The details of the contract and the schedule for this week are as follows.
Why did the original transaction collapse?
The 2015 agreement between Iran and the world powers (led by President Barack Obama) aimed to prevent Iran from producing nuclear bombs. It bailed out Iran from the impact of economic sanctions in exchange for a decade- to fifteen-year restraint on nuclear activity. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.
Critics, then led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, assassinated the deal because of temporary restrictions on Iran. They also complained that they were not dealing with Iran’s non-nuclear military operations, such as supporting hostile militant groups and developing long-range missiles.
When Trump withdrew at the strong request of Netanyahu, he promised a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran. However, this approach seems to have backfired. Despite the tightening of US sanctions, the Iranian government remains in power and Iran has promoted nuclear research banned by the original agreement.
Is it possible to resume trading?
After the withdrawal of the United States, Iran began to exceed the limits of the agreement and is now concentrating small amounts of uranium to a purity of 60%. This is a short step from 90% of the weapons grade level. Iran has also spun an advanced centrifuge that was once banned by the Accord, and its uranium stockpile is now far beyond the limits of the Accord.
Experts say that even if Iran abandons its uranium stockpile or discontinues its research, it cannot take away the expertise it has gained.
What is the outlook for this week’s talk?
In the short term, it doesn’t seem to be encouraging. Iran’s hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi, has made the biggest demands for negotiations, including asking the United States to unfreeze $ 10 billion in assets as the first good faith gesture.
The tough line may be the first gambit. European negotiators are confident that an agreement will be reached in the short to medium term.
But US authorities don’t seem optimistic. President Joe Biden and his chief adviser have held a series of meetings with major allies and negotiating partners in recent weeks to prepare for possible negotiation failures.
Due to Trump’s withdrawal, Americans aren’t even in the bargaining room. Instead, they are close and work through an intermediary.
In an interview broadcast on Friday, US chief negotiator Rob Murray said the signs from Iran were “not particularly encouraging.”
Talking to NPR, he said the United States prefers diplomatic solutions. But if that is not possible, he said the United States would respond accordingly. “America’s free options are, as you know, well known to everyone,” he said.
Given the slow response of the United States to Iran’s military activities in the region, such as attacks on civilian shipping in the Persian Gulf and attacks on U.S. military bases in Syria, U.S. military actions do not appear to be a serious threat. is. The turmoil withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan has further eroded US confidence in the region.
“I am very pessimistic,” said Joel Guzanski, a former employee of the Prime Minister’s Office of Israel, who is now a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. “Iran shows patience, resilience and determination. I’m sorry to say that Americans don’t show that, and we don’t have much time.”
What can Israel do?
Israel is not a party to the negotiations, but it has a major stake in the outcome.
It sees Iran as its greatest enemy and nuclear-armed Iran as an existential threat. Israel does not publicly recognize its weapons, but is believed to be the only nuclear-armed country in the region.
Naftali Bennett, the successor to Netanyahu, has been careful not to collide with Biden in public. But his position is similar to Netanyahu’s. He expressed hope that negotiations would result in improved deals, but repeated Israel’s long-standing threat of unilateral action as needed.
“We maintain our freedom to act,” he said last week. On Sunday, he said he was “extremely confused” by Israel’s willingness to lift sanctions and reinstate “insufficient restrictions in the nuclear field” and what he sees. rice field. He said Israel is delivering this message to all parties.
Despite such threats, Israel may hesitate. Iran has scattered nuclear sites and hid them deep underground for the past decade. Moreover, Israel may be reluctant to disrupt global diplomatic efforts.
Does Iran overestimate that hand?
China and Russia are two important Iranian exits for trade and trading parties, and Tehran can be impatient, especially if the current volatile system of international nuclear inspections collapses. Economic pressure continues to weigh on Iranians who have seen savings evaporate in the free fall of national currencies.
Prolonged negotiations could turn the United States into new sanctions and military action. There is also the risk of Israeli military intervention.
“We’ll see exactly what Iran’s approach will be in the next few days,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said last week. “But it’s also very clear that this is not a process that can last indefinitely.”
Associated Press writer Ellen Nickmeier of Washington and John Gambrel of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Ilan Ben Zion in Jerusalem and Lorne Cook in Brussels contributed to the report.
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Can the world’s great powers curb Iran with new nuclear negotiations?
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