Saturday, February 27, 2021

Experts believe Biden can breathe life into nuclear deal with Iran – NRK Urix – Foreign news and documentaries


The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has signed a temporary agreement with Iran. The inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities will now continue for three months.

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi says he got a “reasonable” result in the negotiations with the Iranians.

Photo: ALEX HALADA / AFP

But it is an agreement with limited access. The Atomic Energy Agency is not allowed to see images from the surveillance cameras they have installed on Iranian nuclear facilities.

– We got a reasonable result and retain the necessary degree of monitoring and verification. IAEA leader Rafael Grossi said this after the meetings in Tehran on Sunday.

– The meetings resulted in very significant diplomatic and technical progress, says a spokesman for the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Saeed Khatibzadeh.

This file handout picture released by Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation on December 23, 2019 shows the nuclear water reactor of Arak, south of capital Tehran

One of Iran’s pressurized water reactors at the nuclear power plant in Arak, south of Tehran. The picture is from 2019.

Photo: – / AFP

– Speaks through measures

Hellestveit expresses a certain optimism. She says that the Iranians met the Americans – that they “talk together” again:

– Not directly yet, but they talk together through the measures they take, Hellestveit says to NRK.

Cecilie Hellestveit, Senior Advisor, International Law and Policy Institute

The United States and Iran “talk to each other”, but not directly, says researcher Cecilie Hellestveit

Photo: Gaute Zakariassen / NRK

Former President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement with Iran in 2018. It has received strong support from Israel, which believes that Iran has long developed nuclear weapons in secret.

But the new US President Joe Biden has suggested that the US can return to the agreement.

– If you get to this, the Middle East will face a new era. There is a greater chance of that now than there was five years ago, says Hellestveit.

Many obstacles

The nuclear deal with Iran was negotiated in 2015 by the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and the EU.

It entered into force in 2016. Iran will refrain from developing nuclear weapons and limit its enrichment of uranium for a period of 15 years.

Celebration in the streets of Tehran when the nuclear deal was ready on July 14, 2015.

Celebration in the streets of Tehran when the nuclear deal was ready on July 14, 2015.

Photo: Ebrahim Noroozi / Ap

The other parties to the agreement have tried to keep it alive. But since the US withdrew, Iran has gradually shied away from its commitments.

Iran has stepped up its nuclear program. The United States imposed severe economic sanctions on Iran under Trump.

And Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif remains adamant that the United States must first remove sanctions against Iran in order for the country to fully comply with the agreement.

The Biden adviser believes a new agreement is possible

– It is a difficult situation. That the USA withdrew in 2018 complicates the work of starting it again, says Hellestveit.

Jake Sullivan

Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan believes a new agreement with Iran is possible.

Photo: SAUL LOEB / AFP

But she adds that important people who negotiated the agreement with Iran during Barack Obama’s time as president, are now in Biden’s administration.

One of them is Jake Sullivan. He also took part in the secret negotiations with Iran in 2013, before the nuclear deal came into place.

He is now Biden’s national security adviser. Sullivan believes a deal is possible.

– We are in an early phase. It will take a lot of hard work and a lot of clear-sighted diplomacy to make this happen, Sullivan told CNN.

He added that a precondition must be that Iran assures and proves that the country’s nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.



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