Horizons of Iranian Nuclear Deal between Signing & Postponement
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Political Observation - Horizons of Iranian Nuclear Deal between Signing and Postponement
On Monday 12 September, the regular meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) kicked off in Vienna to discuss several files, including the Iranian nuclear program, to which Tehran was invited to give explicit answers, especially about the traces of uranium that were found at undeclared sites. IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said there was currently no progress in the ongoing investigation into Iran's nuclear activities.
For his part, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Iranian response to Europe's proposals to revive the agreement "takes us backwards." He added, “I can’t give you a timeline except to say, again, that Iran seems either unwilling or unable to do what is necessary to reach an agreement and they continue to try to introduce extraneous issues to the negotiation that make an agreement less likely," at a press conference in the Mexican capital.
It is no secret that the world was waiting for the moment of the end of the nuclear agreement crisis with Iran, and Josep Borrell had expressed his hope to sign the agreement within days but America impeded the agreement and the IAEA announced that Iran had exceeded the permitted ceiling in uranium enrichment; thus, the negotiation efforts headed towards the unknown, which raises the question about the motives of the US administration to block the path towards reaching a formula that revives the agreement with Iran.
It seems that America’s motives for disrupting the agreement stem from the issue’s relationship to the regional file, which requires Iran to play the role of a scarecrow to the countries and peoples of the region, and to the Israeli public opinion, pending the caravan of normalisation and alliance making considerable progress. It is also related to the issue of Iranian presence and influence in the files of Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and Iraq.
The negotiations coincided with the crisis of governance in Iraq, in which Iran insisted on interfering in its process, and on confronting Muqtada al-Sadr’s movement with firmness, stubbornness and escalation; this was reflected in the armed clash that the Popular Mobilisation Forces instigated a few days ago, and in the insistence of Al-Maliki’s group to form the government. It was also reflected in the statement of Ibrahim Raisi following the bloody events in the Green Zone, and his saying that Iraq's stability depends on the parties' commitment to the agreement and the political track, which implies a threat that either we will stay in Iraq or hell will break loose.
Muqtada al-Sadr and Mustafa al-Kadhimi realised this and were compelled to retreat "tactically" in order to avoid the chaos that Iran has the skill to orchestrate in her favour. Thus, the position of al-Sadr and al-Kadhimi was inevitable in order to sidestep the manoeuvre of Iran who sought to reshuffle the pack through the threat of civil war that Al-Maliki wielded in the leaked recordings a month ago, especially since Iran’s submission to American dictates in Iraq would impact on her position in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, weaken the positions of her surrogates in those states, and undermine her gains in the region.
As for the Syrian file, there was an agreement in the Tehran summit between Russia, Iran, and Turkey, where the tone of Iran’s media towards Turkey, especially Hezbollah’s media, has changed, and an Iranian insistence on continuing to support Hezbollah through routes close to the Russian bases in Latakia has emerged, in addition to the American and "Israeli" clashes and strikes against Iranian sites in Syria, Russia's threat to activate the S-300 air defence systems to deter "Israeli" attacks, and Hassan Nasrallah's threats to Israel regarding the maritime dispute over gas areas, all of which angers America, who regards Turkey and Iran's rapprochement with Russia as a threat to her interests. Thus, it was not surprising that America cooled off the file of the agreement after it was about to be finalised. However, a sudden solution to this file could not be ruled out if America were to deem it necessary.
The final issue is pertinent to the American domestic political realities. Biden will not take a step towards a solution with Iran unless he is confident that the solution will not be used by his opponents in the upcoming elections, and he must also take into account the repercussions of the agreement on the Lapid government which Netanyahu is targeting. Therefore, despite Lapid’s tough stance towards the US-Iran agreement, as he is courting the Zionist rightwing, his coalition partner, Benny Gantz, stated in a speech before the annual Jerusalem Post conference in New York City, that if any agreement were to be signed with Iran, it should ensure that she did not possess a nuclear weapon.
The Iranian leadership perceives these facts and is keen to conclude the agreement before the US midterm elections and before the “Israeli” elections, as a precaution against Netanyahu’s return and the victory of the Republicans in the US Congress, given that they are the most intransigent vis-à-vis the Iranian file, which they use to woo the rightwing evangelicals and the Zionist lobby in the United States. The Biden administration is also aware of this and is reluctant to agree to the nuclear deal before the midterm elections, lest it should be exploited against the Democrats, but it will not miss the opportunity to conclude the agreement if it manages to impose the conditions that nullify the pretexts of “Israel” and the Republicans at home, such as maintaining sanctions on the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and keeping the justifications that enable her to exert pressure on Iran regarding her regional interference and ballistic missiles, as well as reserving the right to withdraw from the deal in the future, which Iran still refuses, and which makes it possible to defer the crisis until after the US midterm elections and the “Israeli” elections.
As for the standpoints of France, Germany, and Britain, who expressed doubts about Iran's intention to revive the agreement, they come in the shape of pressure on Iran to speed up her response to America's dictates because the three countries have an interest in lifting sanctions on Iran and benefiting from her energy sources under America's insistence on weaning Europe off Russian gas.
24 Safar 1444h hizbuttahrir.org
20 September 2022