An Iranian woman walks past a mural of the Iranian national flag in Tehran, Iran. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Abedin Taherkenareh)
It seemed as if the Six Power Agreement on Iran’s Nuclear Developments was an extraordinary event from another time. Despite around 35 years of mutual hostility and distrust between Iran and the US, Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia – and the US – had forged a limited, negotiated partnership with Iran to curb its nuclear developments in 2015. </ For many Iranians, this distrust began in 1953 with the violent overthrow of the government of the left-wing but democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh at the encouragement or instigation of the Americans. From the American point of view, the 1979 revolution, after what appeared to be a close alliance with Iran under Shah Reza Pahlavi, led to growing suspicion that became open hostility after the occupation of the US embassy in Tehran and the hostage-taking by dozens of diplomats the Shah's regime had fallen. The concern increased as the Iranian government began to push its revolutionary agenda more broadly across the region.
The 2015 agreement had limited the number and effectiveness of these important uranium separation centrifuges. This was supposed to include the issuance of fissile materials (i.e. the all-important level of U-235 concentration), blocking the ability to convert such materials into nuclear devices for a decade in the future.
This agreement was viewed by many (if not all) Americans as a great achievement for diplomacy under President Barack Obama. While many Republicans strongly criticized the deal for its apparent restrictions on other Iranian activities and technological developments, as well as for the release of a significant amount of Iranian funds that have long been held in escrow by the US, deeply seasoned individuals like Brent Scowcroft, the Citizen’s Security Advisor, were under President George HW Bush, publicly endorsed it.
And for many at the international level, the agreement could also be understood as a signal from Iran that the Iranian leadership had some kind of leniency towards these previous annoyances, to the economic ties, Reopen investment and financial flows for the country. Furthermore, this could also be understood as an attempt to limit the possibilities of direct, open warfare in the region of the Middle East, thus slightly reducing the chances of hostilities between Iran and an ever cautious Israel. (Many Israelis, to be fair, were not convinced of the reality of such a motive or its regional geopolitical implications.) Given the neighborhood they live in, it was not surprising that this latter nation was always on the Hats off to the actions of an enemy or enemies that might lead the Israelis to consider circumstances that could become their national existential moment, and thus encourage the precautionary use of their own military – and possibly even in extreme cases – leads to the fact that the use of undeclared – but generally considered available – nuclear weapons is being considered. Above all, however, after the preliminary beginnings of regional rapprochement with several neighboring Arab nations, the Israelis – after the Iranian revolution of 1979 – see this nation as the one most likely to set off an open conflict. Unsurprisingly, the Israelis have paid close attention to Iran’s nuclear potential, particularly in the context of the development of its increasingly long-range missiles.
Given all of these tensions and tripwires, the Iranian six-party nuclear deal should also affect states Persian Gulf like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates can give modest assurances – their fear of and hostility towards Iran also represented a potential flashpoint. (The Saudis and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ended up embroiled in hostilities in a civil war in Yemen, with Iranian-backed and resupplied forces on the other side of that conflict.)
This Six Power Agreement should also have some sort of Be a signal to the world that the oil flow that flows from the Persian Gulf to supply the globe with electricity is under less precarious circumstances and is subject to disruption, once at least one international agreement has been reached, the Iranians have been bound by international standards. </ For the remainder of the Obama administration, the Iranians continued to adhere to the restrictions of the six-party agreement, although they continued to provide military material to groups in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. In addition, they continued to strive to develop and test long-range missiles – the supposed delivery vehicles for a future nuclear device – if they were ultimately to be developed or even used.
When Donald Trump launched his presidential campaign in 2015, the nuclear deal was between Obama and Iran is a key foreign policy problem for him, an agreement he repeatedly called the worst deal ever. He kept bringing it up, pounding over the obvious facts that did not limit the development of Iranian missiles, that did not prevent Iranian support for various revolutionary groups in the region, even if certain economic sanctions were eased and the repatriation of funds provided for that was Has been deposited by the US government for many years.
Given this hostility to Iran among many in the US, the Six-Party Agreement became a key argument put forward by Trump that the Obama administration was targeting Iran and the Treats Revolution gently and carelessly sacrifices the security of America’s allies and partners in the region. including the UAE, the Saudis and the Israelis – for the chimerical benefits of the deal.
When Trump won the 2016 election, one of his early decisions was to withdraw from the Six Nations Accord, despite the government also insisting that Iran must continue to comply with the agreement regardless. In response to this challenge, the Iranians slowly began to ramp up their production of increasingly enriched uranium, despite publicly insisting that they had no intention of building nuclear equipment. In response, the Trump administration’s plan to pressurize the Iranians increased economic pressure with new and tougher sanctions. The theory that the economic desperation among ordinary Iranians would put sufficient pressure on the government to either change its behavior or to fall and be replaced by a government more amenable to American goals.
The Iranian government is however did not like it. And while ordinary Iranian citizens were seriously upset about their growing economic troubles, as demonstrated by large demonstrations during the elections, they ultimately did not demand sufficient economic changes that the government would bow to American demands in order to achieve self-preservation.In January 2020 there was massive Iranian anger over the murder of Revolutionary Guard general Qassem Soleimani in a (presumably) remotely triggered American or Israeli attack. The outrage over the massive demonstrations at his funeral was quickly overcome after the Revolutionary Guard shot down an overcrowded Ukraine International airliner on January 8, shortly after it took off from Tehran airport.
At the end of the Trump administration the stalemate between the two nations in a stalemate. This was true despite the fact that late in the day the previous administration may have changed the larger regional geopolitical landscape in brokering diplomatic relations agreements between Israel and Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Sudan, known as the Abraham Accords. Although the Saudis were not involved in such agreements, they are now allowing Israeli planes to fly over their territory.
But then the former Vice President Joe Biden won the presidential elections in November 2020, among other things with his promise to establish a six-power nuclear deal to return with Iran. Perhaps easier said than done.
Still, as the AP reported, “The Biden government says it is ready to join talks with Iran and world powers to discuss a return to the 2015 nuclear deal, in a sharp rejection of former President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure campaign” that sought to isolate the Islamic Republic.
“The government has also taken two steps at the United Nations to bring politics back to what it was before Trump left the deal in 2018. The combined actions were immediately criticized by Iranian hawks and aroused concern with Israel, which said it was obliged to keep Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. « The government on Thursday not only signaled a readiness to agree with Iran It also reversed Trump’s determination to re-establish all UN sanctions against Iran. And it eased tough restrictions on domestic travel by Iranian diplomats posted to the United Nations.
« The State Department canceled the move after talks between Foreign Secretary Antony Blinken and his British, French and German counterparts at and as Biden prepares to attend his first major international events with world leaders, albeit virtually. «
The two nations – the US and Iran – are now positioning themselves around the landscape in a kind of competitive scene in public to rearrange the possibility of the prerequisites for the actual negotiations. On the Iranian side, the country’s chief diplomat has insisted that the US must reverse the US-imposed economic sanctions before any movement occurs, and the US is saying that the Iranians must abandon any nuclear device efforts.Yet there seems to be a subtle movement forward. The New York Times reported on Monday: “Iran appears to have partially lifted its threat to severely curtail international inspections of its nuclear facilities from Tuesday. Western nations have three months to consider whether a new diplomatic initiative will begin with the United States and Europe will restore the 2015 nuclear deal. “
The Times of Israel (citing various reports) stated that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has urged US President Joe Biden to act quickly and Washington to act because of Iran’s parliamentary legislation and the upcoming elections on Saturday 2015 nuclear deal to return and end sanctions by February 21 over the country, after which the Iranian government’s stance will tighten. «
» The Trump administration imposed sanctions on Iran again in 2018 after pulling the US out of an international deal aimed at restricting Tehran’s nuclear program.
« In an interview with the Iranian newspaper Hamshahri Zarif said the latest legislation in parliament will force the government to tighten its stance on the US if sanctions are not eased in two weeks, « Reuters reported on Saturday.
» In December, the Iranian parliament passed under the leadership by hardliners banning laws that set a two-month deadline for sanctions easing. « ‘Americans are running out of time, both because of the parliamentary bill and because of the electoral atmosphere that will follow the Iranian New Year, » said Tariff. The Iranian New Year begins on March 21st. Zarif also pointed to the upcoming presidential election in Iran in June. If a hardline president is elected, it can jeopardize the deal further, he seemed to have suggested in the interview.
« » The more America hesitates, the more it will lose … it seems that the government of Mr. Biden doesn’t want to get rid of Trump’s failed legacy, « Zarif said in the interview quoted by Reuters. » We don’t have to go back to the negotiating table. « It’s America that has to find the ticket to get to the table, » he added . «
So far, jockeying has taken place outdoors and not through silent diplomacy in a well-guarded conference room of a hotel in a spa town in a monastery in Switzerland. In the meantime, the Biden government has had the overwhelmingly close embrace of Saudi Arabia changed by the US and its efforts in Yemen (no more sword dances by the president or a mysterious glowing ball) that marked the previous administration as well as the setbacks that overwhelming love showed the government of Netanyahu.
The left-wing Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on this course correction: “With the elections on March 23 and the fight against the pandemic in the background, the [Israeli] cabinet and the defense institute are busy with the Iranian nuclear project – amid Israel’s strained relations with the Biden government – and the ping-pong of threats against Hezbollah in the north.
« The longed-for call from Joe Biden finally arrived on Wednesday. The fact that the President kept Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waiting for a month has drawn several lessons. The new government operates in an orderly manner and speaks to executives according to the importance it attaches to each region. Despite the strong bilateral alliance, Washington has no intention of letting Netanyahu cross the line, especially given his deep solidarity with the Republican Party over the past decade. «
The New York Times recently reported on this turnaround: » When the United States last tried to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran, the Israeli government’s reaction was blunt and violent. In the years leading up to the 2015 Iranian deal with Washington and several other leading powers, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly described the negotiations as a « historic mistake ».
« But on Friday the formal announcement that the Biden government was after Seeking a return to the nuclear negotiations with Iran after the collapse of the 2015 agreement under President Trump did not trigger a sharp backlash – not only in Jerusalem, but also in the Gulf Nations of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which are also one too generous Oppose rapprochement with Iran.
« The subdued response from Iran’s regional antagonists could hide a strong undercurrent of pessimism and a behind-the-scenes backlash against the American decision. Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates remain concerned about the intentions of Iran and have signaled that they will only act for ei n agreement would be open if it went well beyond the previous one – Iran’s ballistic missile program, its interference in other countries, and the militias it supports in Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and elsewhere in addition to its nuclear program .
Mr. Netanyahu’s office made a brief statement avoiding directly commenting on American intent to negotiate, but noted that Israel was in contact with the United States.
« Israel is sitting down continues to advocate preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and its position on the nuclear deal has not changed, « the statement said. « Israel believes that a return to the old deal will pave Iran’s path to a nuclear arsenal. »
« Western diplomats and former Israeli officials said the Israelis have accepted the need to work constructively with Washington rather than negotiate to decline immediately. «
Part of this positioning development can also be attributed to respective domestic factors. In the United States, this automatic support for the Saudis met suspicion of Saudi Arabia following the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate general in Istanbul and the widespread recognition of the brutality of the Yemeni conflict with US weapons. There is now more recognition in the US that the current impasse with Iran may not help achieve a less dangerous balance in the Middle East as long as the ultimate solution to the current impasse does not endanger Israeli security.
In Iran, it is also clear that the current economic restrictions imposed by sanctions will not result in the economic benefits that the country’s citizens are clearly hoping for. And in Israel, the country is again in another national election. The current Prime Minister is facing a constituency sick of the harmful effects of Covid lockdowns on education, as well as the ongoing pressures of criminal charges and possible legal proceedings, the Prime Minister said. While maintaining military security is paramount to all politicians and voters, the tenor of Netanyahu’s approach may have deteriorated. Another prime minister could even imagine a different regional political configuration.
Tamara Cofman Wittes, Senior Fellow at the Think Tank of the Brookings Institution, took a holistic view of the region and argued: “The Biden government must re-establish clear boundaries in relationships, deeply unbalanced by President Donald Trump’s negligent approach. Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates all have questions about the scope and durability of America’s security commitments to their neighborhood, and all three prefer to keep the United States close together.
« Washington can do the necessary de-escalation and nuclear diplomacy tracking Iran and informing these key partners of where American interests begin and end, and where the partners’ own preferences and behaviors are real barriers to closer cooperation. As in all healthy relationships, honest communication and clear boundaries are essential to maintain mutual respect and a good feeling. «
Meanwhile, Ali Fathollah-Nejad, a non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Afro-Middle East Center in Johannesburg and a former Iran expert at the Brookings Institution in Doha, argued: » Despite official rhetoric to the contrary, there is no alternative for Tehran on such talks as the vital interests of Iran lies in the relaxation of sanctions that threaten stability. Indeed, Iran may be willing to make more concessions in the future, which could be proportional to US pressure.
However, Iranians expect the pressure to ease as Biden’s government drops the “maximum pressure” doctrine. The aim of Tehran’s current stance is to return to the position Iran held prior to the 2013-2015 JCPOA negotiations when its progressive nuclear program offered the international community a poor choice between a stone (an Iranian atomic bomb) and a hard place had (bombing Iran).… “And maybe again the government strategy.
With all these modest movements and flexibilities that are now possible, it may soon be the time for real movements in what is in the Frozen in amber last four years can now occur. May be. DM
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