Back in June, when the Americans were so confident that another round of Vienna talks to revive the Iranian nuclear deal was imminent, New York Times reports that a top American negotiator has deposited his clothes in a hotel in Vienna. Negotiations between the two sides have now stalled, and his clothes have remained in Vienna after more than eighty days.
Former President of Iran, Hassan Rohani, has been banned from the process of resuming nuclear talks to revive the deal in the final days of his presidency by the Iranian regime. Since then, the Vienna talks have been postponed in anticipation of a new government in Tehran.
The new Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, a deeply conservative supporter of the Iranian Supreme Leader, was elected the eighth President of Iran in June with 61.95 percent of the vote and was sworn in on August 3, 2021.
“The sanctions against the Iranian nation must be lifted and we support any diplomatic plan to make this happen,” said Raisi. called at its inauguration ceremony in August.
While American diplomats prepared to resume talks more than forty days after Raisi took office, Iranian officials broke off negotiations while the new administration in Tehran occupied its cabinet and determined its policy.
Iran needs negotiations with the West to ease the onerous sanctions that have hampered its economy, which Raisi has put at the heart of its agenda. But Iran is in no hurry to resume the Vienna talks, and analysts have little idea of â€‹â€‹Iran’s desire to negotiate quickly with the major world powers.
Recently the new Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian called that it will take two to three months for the new government to take office and plan a decision
Some observers believe Iran is profiting from the waste of time and continuing to exert influence at the negotiating table by increasing its uranium enrichment and restricting the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) access.
In addition, some experts claim that the Iranian nuclear program has come to an end at the most advanced point ever for nuclear weapons capability, and the regime plans to return to the deal with further delay, more bargaining power and an upper hand.
In contrast to the previous government in Iran, Raisi’s foreign policy advisors are strong opponents of rapprochement with the West in the sense of Tehran’s anti-American ideology, which was formed after the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
The government’s foreign policy does not begin with JCPOA, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and will not be limited to the Agreement. After the Iranian presidential election in June, Raisi called in his first press conference that “we do not tie economic conditions to negotiations”.
It appears that Raisi’s administration is trying to show that negotiations with the West are not a priority on Iran’s foreign policy agenda. But Iran’s refusal to resume talks has generated reactions from leaders tired of waiting for negotiations to resume
“Iran should quickly resume the Vienna talks in order to come to a conclusion and immediately end all nuclear activities that violate the (2015) agreement,” said French President Emmanuel Macron told Raisi in a phone call on September 5, 2021.
In addition, Israel, Iran’s archenemy, has shaken the global community against further Iranian delays in returning to talks.
Iran “is dragging on, we have to set a clear deadline,” Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett specified at a meeting of the Israeli cabinet on Dec.
In addition, Israel recently accelerated its plans to attack Iran and threatened covert attacks on Iran. In an interview with Walla News website, Lieutenant General of the Israel Defense Forces, Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi called that preparations for possible attacks on Iran are intensified. He added that “a significant part of the defense budget increase as recently agreed” was aimed at minimizing the “Iranian presence in the Middle East”.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken hat stressed that Iran is running out of time to return the deal to save the Iranian nuclear deal with the world powers. In Germany Blinken added, â€œI am not going to put it on a date, but we are nearing the point where a strict return to compliance with the JCPOA (nuclear agreement) does not reproduce the benefits of that agreement. â€
Iran, on the other hand, says it is ready to resume talks, but negotiating under pressure will not succeed. In an interview with Russia Izvestia Newspaper, Iranian Conservative Politician Kazem Jalali affirmed However, Tehran’s determination to continue the Vienna negotiations on the nuclear deal noted that lifting all US sanctions on Tehran remains a priority, rather than â€œnegotiations for the sake of negotiationsâ€.
“With the change of government, the Islamic Republic needs time to conduct the necessary research and make decisions in the new government,” he added
Jalali also stressed that â€œthe other negotiating parties are expected to recognize the complexity of the issue and the need for scrutiny and a decision by the new Iranian government. The US government announced its readiness to negotiate two months after taking office. “
Also the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov called that “Moscow was concerned about signals from western capitals suggesting the need to exert political influence over Tehran to restore the JCPOA, that is the wrong logic.” The Russian news agency Tass also reported that Ryabkov had “stressed the need to treat the internal processes of government reform following the transfer of power in Iran with respect and to wait for a new negotiating team to resume negotiations.” the work on the restoration of the JCPOA in Vienna stopped. “
Based in part on unofficial reports, Iran is working to appoint the head of its negotiating team. There is a possibility that the Iranian Foreign Ministry will be excluded from the talks, as it was before the Rouhani era, and the Iranian Supreme National Security Council resumed negotiations.
Iran Keyhan Conservative newspaper, the director of which was appointed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei responded responding to questions about Iran’s delay in resuming negotiations, confirming that â€œthe Islamic Republic of Iran has not left the negotiating table, but the country is in no hurry to do so. Iran needs to review the negotiating method and strategy for resuming negotiations. The Islamic Republic has already negotiated six rounds in Vienna without achieving concrete results in practice. The review is time consuming. Why should Iran hurry when the negotiations have so far brought nothing to Iran? “
Recently, the IAEA nuclear regulatory agency criticized Tehran for blocking an investigation into Iran’s nuclear activity, and Iran agreed to accept some surveillance work by IAEA inspectors. It is possible that further pressure from the IAEA and ongoing economic problems will force the regime to resume talks in the short term.
Although the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh, announced that Iran will resume the Vienna talks in the near future, the lack of a specific time frame for the resumption of negotiations amounts to another delaying tactic.
For the Islamic Republic, the prolongation of talks and the delay have not led to fears that Tehran is missing out on important concessions from the West. Instead, Raisi’s foreign policy advisors believe that insisting on bailing out the deal quickly would undermine his position in the talks.
Therefore, for the Raisi government, perhaps a late start with a certain degree is better than a quick start without getting the desired outcome. While Iran believes that delaying nuclear talks with major world powers to revive the JCPOA will give it the upper hand, it remains to be seen how long Western countries will wait for Iran to come back to the negotiating table.
Mohammad Javad Mousavizadeh is a journalist and international affairs and foreign policy analyst. He has authored many articles for digital publications worldwide, including The Free Press, Khabar Online News Agency, Foreign Policy News, SNA of Japan, The Levant News, Eastern Herald, Modern Diplomacy, Menafn, MilliChronicle, and South Front. He is also an English translator for Iranian newspapers and news agencies. He has translated dozens of articles from English to Persian for media in Iran such as Shahrvand Newspaper, Mardom Salarine Newspaper, Etemad Newspaper, Hamdeli Newspaper, etc.