Iranian daily Etemad says that even if Iran reaches a nuclear accord with the West, it will be a different deal, with fewer benefits for Tehran than the JCPOA.
According to Etemad, a reformist newspaper, although President Joe Biden had lashed out at his predecessor Donald Trump during the presidential election campaign in 2020 for pulling out of the JCPOA, two years after taking office not only Biden and Iran have not returned to the 2015 deal, but every day they start a new countdown to pronounce the deal’s demise.
Meanwhile, Etemad added that the West is now looking for an agreement that covers both the Iranian nuclear program and the war in Ukraine that threatens Europe’s security. Furthermore, according to Etemad, an agreement with Iran will not necessarily put an end to Iran’s international isolation.
This comes while, EU foreign policy Chief Josep Borrel reiterated his view on February 5, 2023 that a nuclear deal is the only solution that can stop Iran’s ambitious nuclear program. He also told the Wall Street Journal that those who criticize him for insisting on the revival of the JCPOA have not fully realized the dangers of a nuclear Iran.
According to Etemad, it was precisely this threat that turned Iran’s nuclear program into a security matter and as a result the West pushed all-out sanctions on Tehran more than a decade ago. Furthermore, nearly all those involved in nuclear talks hoped that resolving the impasse over the nuclear issue would engage Iran in a dialogue with the West that could lead to its return to the international community as a “normal” state.
There is now serious opposition to a deal both in Iran and abroad, particularly in Washington. Some hardliners in Iran have the wrong idea about the negotiation with the West. They believe that Iran’s economy has become immune to the impact of sanctions. Some of them still imagine a hard winter for Europe and Europe’s need for Iranian energy although Iran is certainly more seriously affected by a gas shortage this winter.
Etemad also quoted a former Iranian diplomat as saying, “There are currently no grounds for the talks to go further as Iran has been accused of violations of human rights and cooperation with Russia in the war against Ukraine”.
Some like Alam Saleh, an Iranian academic in Australia believe that the alternative for a deal with Iran is war and an atomic Iran. He told Etemad that any agreement is better than no agreement, although even in case of reaching an deal, major Western companies might hesitate to enter the Iranian market as investment would be a risky proposition.
Saleh also said that “neither Iran, nor the United States have a plan B that would replace an agreement. An all-out war is the only thing that can replace an agreement and a war is most likely to lead to the emergence of a nuclear Iran.” He added that “the United States knows Iran can obtain nuclear weapons with or without an agreement or a war. For that reason, although Washington left the JCPOA in 2018, both Iran and the United States took their next steps cautiously to ensure that the JCPOA framework remains intact”.
Saleh said, “Iran may say that it is not following a nuclear weapons program. But this is not important. What is important is that the US and other Western countries believe that Iran can find access to nuclear weapons if it wishes so”.
An un-named diplomat told Etemad that some might think the JCPOA has no benefit for Iran, but they should realize that with no JCPOA, the trigger mechanism will be activated and all UN resolutions against Tehran will return. This makes the death of the JCPOA more dangerous for Iran than any other scenario”.
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