Amjad Ismail Agha
The years 2013-2015 witnessed strenuous rounds of negotiations between Iran and the major powers, in order to reach a nuclear agreement, which was concluded on July 14, 2015. But before the signing of the agreement, international concerns escalated, and the level of Western concern about what Iran is doing has risen. from nuclear activities, especially with the latter reaching enrichment capabilities of up to 20%. This prompted the international community, led by the United States, under the administration of former President Barack Obama, to sit at the negotiating table because of the fear that Iran would reach a nuclear weapon, and even make concessions to it represented in the release of billions of dollars abroad.
But within that, and on the other hand, Western and UN sanctions in general constituted the main pressure card for the participants in the negotiations at the time, to push Iran forward to engage in negotiations that lead to a nuclear agreement, which bore fruit, through Iran’s signing of the 2015 nuclear agreement.
At a later stage, with the departure of former US President Donald Trump from the nuclear agreement in 2018, Iran was shocked, but at the same time, Tehran extracted from the international community an international proof paper, which focused on the possibility of reaching worrying levels of enrichment, and over time, especially After Washington’s exit from the nuclear agreement in 2018, the nuclear pressure equation changed, and some pieces of the chess game held by the Iranians and the Western powers involved in the negotiations moved, which cast a shadow over the negotiations that took place during the past year 2021, with its seven rounds in Vienna.
In fact, there are undeclared agreements between Washington and Tehran regarding the continuation of the negotiation rounds, which reveals the conviction of the two parties, as well as the international parties participating in the negotiations, on the need to speed up reaching final results that reproduce the nuclear agreement, and limit the upward path that Tehran started it in uranium enrichment, and is practically blocking the way to approaching the nuclear threshold, after it was able, by moving to the 60 percent enrichment step, to theoretically reach this threshold.
In the same context, there have been repeated signals sent by the United States, regarding its willingness and desire to negotiate directly with Iran, during the past month, but they did not receive a response from the Iranian side, despite the fact that the Supreme Leader gave the green light for such a step if necessary, When he stressed that Iran will not waste any opportunity to negotiate an exit from the stifling economic sanctions, but the political prices remain what worries Tehran, which is governed by the imperative to sit face to face with the Americans, whether in the framework of the international six-party system, or directly and bilaterally.
The position announced by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian about the serious possibility of negotiations with Washington, whether through its return to normal negotiations within the framework of the “5 + 1” group, or direct negotiations on the sidelines of this group, bears a clear indication of the progress it has achieved. The Vienna negotiations to revive the nuclear agreement, however, Tehran is aware that the American desires do not stop at the limits of reviving the nuclear agreement. Rather, those desires are linked, with a purely political nature, related to the Iranian role in the West Asia region.
All of this leads us directly to conclusions confirming Iran’s endeavor to frame the nuclear negotiations at the level of assistant foreign ministers and legal and technical experts, but this will not achieve the Iranian goal of reaching a new nuclear agreement, so that the scene of direct negotiations with Washington remains strong before the Iranian decision-maker, and without Therefore, the possibility of failure or collapse of the negotiations will remain more real, and these concerns are what help to understand Abdullahian’s words when he said, “The hope is that we will move to the implementation stage through this negotiating level, and there will be no need for meetings at high levels, but we will take Decision to take any step in proportion to the progress of the negotiations.”
All of the above confirms that Tehran will have two options, either to go to direct political negotiations with Washington, or to gamble with the entire negotiating track in Vienna, and to topple the possibility of lifting US sanctions completely on Tehran, which means that Tehran continues to adhere to the policy of procrastination in going To the option of direct negotiations with Washington will have implications for the course of the nuclear talks.
From the foregoing, it is clear that Tehran, due to the complexities of the nuclear track, is trying to hold the stick from the middle and progress in the nuclear track, relying on the two parts of political negotiation and linking it to nuclear negotiations, but despite this, the nuclear track may not be passable, especially since Washington’s showing of negotiating flexibility, It does not mean making political concessions by the US administration. The political path that Washington worships is framed by clear American signs related to direct negotiations. Therefore, any Iranian rejection of this path may put negotiations on sanctions and the revival of the nuclear agreement in the wind, as the Iranian profit At the very least, represented in the abolition of economic sanctions and the revival of the agreement, it will not be at the expense of the American loss in opening the path of political negotiation on various regional files.