April 1, 2023

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3 factors behind the return of Iran and the West to negotiations

The United States, the European Union, and Iran said on Wednesday that they had sent representatives to Vienna, in a move that analysts considered the “last chance” for the two sides, in light of Western concern over Tehran’s continued nuclear activities and economic pressure on the West that requires resolving the file.

Direct nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group with the participation of America to revive the nuclear agreement stopped last March after 8 rounds, without progress. Indirect negotiations between Tehran and Washington also failed in late June in the Qatari capital, Doha.

Iran has reduced cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency to monitor nuclear activities and limit access to the agency’s inspectors, and has also raised the rate of uranium enrichment to 60%, close to 90%, which is the percentage needed to manufacture a bomb, after the withdrawal of the administration of former US President Donald Trump from the nuclear agreement. mid 2018.

And the European Union’s foreign policy coordinator, Josep Borrell, announced last Tuesday, in an article published by the British Financial Times, that he had “developed a new text that takes into account the concerns of both sides in the nuclear negotiations.”

It was not immediately clear what the EU was proposing, but one of Iran’s main demands was that the Biden administration provide guarantees that the United States would not be able to unilaterally abandon the deal in the future. Iran also wants greater sanctions relief to ensure it gets the full economic benefits of the agreement.

3 factors behind the return of negotiations

On the reasons for the return of negotiations, Iranian analyst Omid Shoukry told Sky News Arabia, “The global energy crisis is one of the factors that led to the start of nuclear negotiations again. It should also be taken into account that last week, some officials in Tehran confirmed This will affect Iran’s ability to produce an atomic bomb, and this will also affect the resumption of nuclear negotiations.”

Shoukry, senior adviser for foreign policy and energy security at the Center for “Gulf States Analytics” (based in Washington), added that “it is not possible to set a specific date for the new round of nuclear negotiations because Iran does not want to make concessions and Tehran wants to remove the Iranian Revolutionary Guard from the list of terrorism and lift all sanctions that it imposes on Iran.” The United States opposes it.

He explained that, “In the Doha negotiations, Iran presented issues that did not exist in the previous JCPOA, and these new issues will not be accepted in any way. These cases gave a negative signal to Europe that either Iran is buying time or it has brought Moscow’s demands into the negotiations. “.

He pointed out that there are 3 factors behind the start of this round with great energy and hope, the first of which is the great economic pressure that has been imposed on the countries of the world. On the other hand, Europeans have repeatedly stressed that the United States should lift energy sanctions on Iran and Venezuela.”

He explained, “The second point is that European and Western countries have come to the conclusion that Iran is practically in the last stage of nuclear armament, and if this happens, the nuclear race will begin in the region, and it is impossible to imagine an end to that. The arms race.”

He pointed out that “the third point is that the government in Iran has become one-handed, and as in previous periods, there are no two different factions operating in Iran, so it may be possible to reach an agreement with the government that no one in Tehran opposes.”

He stressed that “Europe wants the nuclear negotiations to end as soon as possible, but until Iran does that, it cannot hope to revive the nuclear deal. Tehran knows that the concerns of the United States and Europe are different issues, and it is making the best use of the opportunity.”

More than a year ago, Iran and the powers that are still included in the 2015 agreement (France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China) began talks in Vienna in which the United States, which unilaterally withdrew from the agreement in 2018 under its former president, Donald Trump, indirectly participates.