Maandag, world powers met in Vienna for the sixth round of talks this year to discuss how to revive the deeply flawed nuclear deal with Iran, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Dit is, all major powers except for the United States because Iran refuses to meet face-to-face with U.S. diplomats. As gevolg daarvan, the American delegation participated “indirek” from a nearby hotel.
After the Monday meeting, Enrique Mora, the European Union official who chairs the talks, tried to put a good face on the session, noem dit “extremely positive” with all participants showing “a sense of urgency” aan revive the JCPOA.
But in fact, the Monday talks were a catastrophe for diplomatic efforts to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Iran demanded that all U.S. sanctions imposed since 2017 be lifted, including on non-nuclear issues like terrorism, and made no commitment to halting the huge surge in its nuclear weapons program this year.
Iran also demanded that if the JCPOA is revived and the U.S. rejoins it, the United States must pledge that it will never withdraw from this agreement again, a commitment that is politically impossible for any U.S. president to make.
And just prior to the talks, Iranian Brig. Genl. Abolfazl Shekarchi, the spokesman for Iran’s armed forces, reiterated Iran’s determination to wipe Israel off the map when he said: “We will not back off from the annihilation of Israel, even one millimeter. We want to destroy Zionism in the world.”
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett expressed Israel’s grave concerns about this round of the Vienna talks in a video statement to the participants in which he warned that Iran is seeking “to end sanctions in exchange for almost nothing” and keep its nuclear program intact while receiving hundreds of billions of dollars once sanctions are lifted. Bennet added that if JCPOA parties agree to this, “Iran won’t just keep its nuclear program; from today, they’ll be getting paid for it.”
Bennett has good reason to be concerned since Biden officials are actively considering a partial, temporary nuclear deal that would give Iran some sanctions relief in exchange for Iran freezing or rolling back parts of its nuclear program. Israel and many members of the U.S. Congress have rejected this approach as giving into Iranian blackmail.
Biden officials appear to have raised a partial nuclear deal with Iran in response to the surge in its nuclear program and defiance of IAEA inspectors since the start of the Biden presidency. Since January, Iran has denied the IAEA access to uranium mines and a plant that makes nuclear centrifuge parts. Iran also refuses to cooperate with the agency’s investigations into enriched uranium traces found at three undeclared nuclear sites.
Daarbenewens, the IAEA recently berig that Iran physically harassed female inspectors.