Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Nuclear deal. US and Iran issue ultimatums


Washington announced its readiness to begin negotiations with Tehran on the nuclear program. However, the parties demand concessions from each other.

The European Union began preparations for an informal meeting of the participants in the nuclear deal against the background of US statements about its readiness to negotiate with Iran. Despite the mutually exclusive conditions that the parties set each other, there is hope for success. Correspondent.net tells the details.

To ensure that Iran never gets nuclear weapons

The crisis around Iran’s nuclear program has been going on for almost 20 years. Iran claims its nuclear program is peaceful, but the United States and other countries suspect Tehran is secretly seeking opportunities to develop nuclear weapons.

At the Munich Security Conference, US President Joe Biden announced his readiness to resume his participation in the talks on the Iranian nuclear program in the “five plus one” format. He also added that the United States must engage in destabilizing Iranian activities in the Middle East.

The day before, Washington decided to abandon its demands to restore international sanctions against Tehran.

Since the end of the last century, Iran has been under US, EU and UN sanctions, but most of the restrictions were lifted in 2015 in exchange for a commitment to end its nuclear program.

On July 15, 2015, Iran and the “six” of international mediators (five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) reached a historic agreement to resolve the long-standing problem of the Iranian atom.

The most difficult negotiations ended with the adoption of a joint action plan, in the event of which Iran was promised to lift economic and financial sanctions

Key points:

  • most of Iran’s enriched uranium will be exported abroad;
  • none of the nuclear facilities in Iran will be dismantled;
  • Fordow’s fuel enrichment plant will become a nuclear physics research center without uranium enrichment facilities;
  • The IAEA will gain access to all nuclear facilities in the country for a period of 20 years.

However, US President Donald Trump decided to withdraw from the deal and renew sanctions against Iran. His administration has accused Tehran of terrorist financing. The sanctions, which were repeatedly expanded, led to another fall in the country’s economy.

After that, conflicts with the use of weapons repeatedly broke out between the United States and Iran, but it did not come to a full-scale war.

In February of this year, Reuters reported that the Biden administration had notified the UN of the withdrawal of Trump’s petition, which referred to the renewal of sanctions against Iran.

The Democrat said during the election campaign that he would reconsider Trump’s decision. As a condition for Washington’s return to the deal, he called Tehran’s cessation of uranium enrichment activities.

At the beginning of the year, Iran announced that it was abandoning another limitation in the nuclear deal on the number of centrifuges and increased the level of uranium enrichment at the Fordow facility.

On February 21, Jake Sullivan, Assistant to the Head of State for National Security, said Biden intends to contain Iran in obtaining nuclear weapons and believes that the best way to do this is “diligent, shrewd diplomacy.”

“He is ready to sit down at the negotiating table with Iran to discuss how we can return to restrictions on the Iranian nuclear program. This proposal is valid,” Sullivan said.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on February 22 that Washington would work to ensure that “Iran never received nuclear weapons.”

“Diplomacy is the best way to achieve this goal,” Blinken said.

Tehran welcomed Washington’s move towards a return to the deal, but believes that is not enough.

“In accordance with Resolution 2231, the United States must and indeed must lift all sanctions imposed, reintroduced or announced by Trump. Then we will immediately reverse all corrective measures,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said.

However, the new administration in the White House, despite initial statements about their readiness to return to the nuclear deal, insists that it is the Iranians who should be the first to make concessions, namely, to return to the implementation of all points of the agreement.

The European Union is preparing for the negotiations. At the end of last week, the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Great Britain held talks with their American counterpart on this issue.

Iranian officials say they have not yet made a decision to participate in these negotiations. At the same time, they noted that Washington is not a party to the deal, and therefore cannot take part in the negotiations. For this, Tehran stressed, the United States needs to lift sanctions.

At the same time, all members of the international community are concerned about the forthcoming suspension by Iran of the additional protocol of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

On February 22, it became known that Tehran and the IAEA reached a temporary technical agreement to continue monitoring Iran’s nuclear facilities.

In a joint statement, Iran and the IAEA explained that, according to the agreement reached, the agency will continue such monitoring for a maximum of three months.

At the same time, Tehran restricts access of inspectors to its nuclear facilities and deprives them of the right to conduct unscheduled inspections.

Tehran explained that the measure to restrict access is reversible if the countries that signed the nuclear deal six years ago comply with Iran’s demands.

In addition, Iranian leaders say they do not refuse to cooperate with the IAEA and did not intend to cancel all inspections. However, there are concerns about the emergence of “knowledge gaps” about the Iranian nuclear program.

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