For the Iranian government and its officials, the Vienna negotiations about a new Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known commonly as the 2015 Iran nuclear deal or Iran deal, seem to have no result other than more disputes among officials.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said about the negotiations: “You see, in the nuclear issue, he (Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei) has announced the framework. He has specified it, and we are acting according to the same framework.” (State TV, April 28, 2021)
Abbas Araghchi, political deputy at Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, expressed optimism about the talks without saying what they have achieved so far, but others mainly the principlists within the clerical establishment, have contradicted him, saying that the government has achieved nothing.
Rouhani sees the JCPOA negotiations as the only solution to escape from all the regime’s crises, so he and his government are doing anything to revive the JCPOA: “Everyone should know that without a relationship with the world, progress cannot be made, and a country cannot be built.” (President.ir, April 26, 2021)
Angry about the government’s ‘begging’, one of the regime’s MPs Mahmoud Nabavian said: “Mr. Rouhani and Mr. [Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad] Zarif, answer this logical question, you honestly tell the people of Iran how many times you have brought the step-by-step plan to the Supreme National Security Council and it has been rejected. Why do you bring the step-by-step plan?” (State TV Ofogh channel, April 22, 2021)
A member of Khamenei’s faction expressed his pessimism about the lifting of all the sanctions and said: “I do not see the sanctions being lifted, and if the nuclear-related are lifted, the same issues will continue with another label, including the missile debate, including the Yemen debate.” (Jam-e-Jam, April 22, 2021)
And the state-run website Rahbord-e-Moaser desperate about the result of the JCPOA’s negotiations said: “The fact of the matter is that the United States has very little legal maneuvering power in the process of returning to the JPCOA.
“The White House, on the other hand, clearly knows that ‘reviving the JCPOA’ and ‘retaining some of the sanctions’ are not legally and technically compatible. White House officials have therefore sought to ‘segregate sanctions’ with the aim of achieving a ‘useless return to JCPOA’ feature.
“Obviously, the claim of the US State Department officials has no legal basis. The Democrats now have a relative majority in the US Congress (Senate and House of Representatives), and beyond that, Biden himself can lift sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran, citing his special powers.
“However, Robert Malley and other US officials now based in Vienna have sent a message to Iran and the P4 + 1 that the new US president must be accountable to Republicans and even some of his democratic party members in the process of returning to the JCPOA. Biden cannot therefore put on the agenda an ‘absolute return to the JCPOA,’ but Iran must return to its ‘full commitments’ in the nuclear deal.
“Undoubtedly, what is happening in Vienna today is the revealing point of the ‘Western instrumental view to the JCPOA’. This instrumental view has shown itself in various titles and excuses since 2016 (when the JCPOA was implemented). It is not clear why some currents insist that Washington is seeking to ‘repent of its past’ and ‘return to the JCPOA which is deformed’!
“The segregation of sanctions against Iran by US State Department officials is the first broken brick in the formal process of ‘reviving the JCPOA’, which makes the future of the nuclear deal a hundred times more ambiguous than it already is. This ‘ridiculous and illegal division’ should not be accepted by our country, because it will leave the United States free to ‘play with the titles of sanctions’ now and in the future. This is exactly what the United States and the European Troika have been looking for, for months.” (State-run website Rahbord-e-Moaser, April 30, 2021)
This short text shows that many inside the regime are desperate and see no bright future with or without the JCPOA.
Fearing the consequences of the upcoming presidential election which by the regime’s bad luck coincides with the window of opportunity to revive the nuclear deal, a state-run daily said:
“In the run-up to Iran’s presidential election, the United States is trying to manage the psychological climate in such a way that it can impose a bad deal on Iran while interfering and influencing the election results. The US targeting is due to the fact that it is likely that some in Iran, due to the short-term need and in the run-up to the elections, will again make decisions based on the dangerous rule of ‘any agreement is better than no agreement’.
“Such a view of negotiation and haste in concluding it, due to neglection of the important dimensions and details of the lifting of sanctions, will narrow the window of Iran’s economic benefit from any outcome.” (Resalat, April 28, 2021)
It is very clear that Rouhani’s efforts for a hasty agreement are due to the deadlock and the incurable situation in the illusion that this agreement can save the entire regime from the blade of public hatred.