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Tuesday, 29 November 2022
The Iran nuclear deal ... What else?
Saad Al Hamid

The goal of the negotiations on the Iran nuclear deal, which began 18 months ago and was suspended and then resumed in August, was to revive the 2015 deal between Iran and the five permanent UNSC members (China, the USA, France, the UK and Russia) in addition to Germany.

Iran and the six countries (China, Russia, the USA, France, Germany and the UK) held prolonged negotiations from March 26 to April 2015 in the Swiss city of Lausanne to reach a comprehensive deal that guarantees the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme and to lift sanctions on Iran completely.

The deal was seriously made, and after long negotiations, Iran and the six countries made a joint statement, in April 2015, in which they announced understandings about Iran's nuclear programme to be completed in June 2015. Tehran considered this agreement as great progress that serves everyone and Washington called it historic. Internationally, some countries considered it historical and others saw it as very dangerous. The USA withdrew from it in 2018 after several reports of the Atomic Energy Agency that warned the nuclear programme is not peaceful because of violating the uranium enrichment, preventing the agency's inspectors from inspecting and verifying the nuclear programme is peaceful.

Former US President Donald Trump said that after the sanctions were lifted, the dictatorship used its new funds to build nuclear-capable missiles, support terrorism, and cause havoc throughout the Middle East and beyond. Currently, supporters of the resumption of the Iran nuclear deal believe that deal will freeze Tehran's nuclear programme and open the way for Washington and its allies to confront China's increasingly aggressive activities in the Indo-Pacific and Russia's ones in Crimea, but some believe that it may backfire if the parties reached a weak and short-term deal which may enhance Iran's nuclear power i.e. more instability in the Middle East and the Indo-Pacific. Some observers believe that it may also make China extend its influence in the Middle East where Iran has suffered from diplomatic and economic isolation due to Western international sanctions for many years and has sought support from some countries to break its isolation, including China, which has become for years the first trading partner and an important destination for its energy exports and a major investor in the Iranian industrial sector.

Iran exports all of its oil to Chinese companies which buy it violating international sanctions. This partnership will get China unlimited exports of massive Iranian gas and oil reserves, which will meet China's large needs for nuclear energy,  The Iranian regime is in an embarrassing situation in front of its citizens due to the deteriorating Iranian economy and inflation, the repercussions of the COVID-19 epidemic & the Russian-Ukrainian war which has affected energy prices. The failure of OPEC producers to increase oil production to ensure the stability of the global market causes concern for Washington and Europe and this was directly reflected on the American people's living standards, the upcoming American mid-term elections, the popularity of US President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party. Perhaps the levels of inflation that have impacted the US stock market clearly show the increasingly high standards of living that Americans are putting up with now. The global economic inflation along with the approaching winter tell why Berlin, Paris and London want the efforts of the nuclear deal and the Comprehensive Plan of Action between Tehran and Washington to succeed so that the Iranian oil and gas replace the Russian ones the thing that will reduce globally the oil prices and put more pressure on the Russian economy.

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said Russia will not be happy about the Iran nuclear deal because it poses a danger to its oil. Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper quoted the Mossad chief who said that Washington is rushing to sign the nuclear deal and it knows that it is an absolute lie and goes against reason and that any agreement will not retard Iran's capabilities and will not leave it restrained for several years to come; that would harm the global and regional security.

Perhaps Washington's interest to achieve greater stability in the Gulf region for its allies against the Iranian threats is another aspect that makes it difficult for Washington to conclude this deal with the ceiling of Iran's increasing demands during the rounds of negotiations with Washington. For Tehran, having a nuclear programme is something irreversible and decisive and that stance is shown through its defence of the peacefulness of this programme, its unwillingness to discuss its missile programme, accept listing the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a terrorist organisation and discuss the existence of any evidence the Atomic Energy Agency has on uranium enrichment during the inspection of the Iranian nuclear facility. All this makes everyone concerned about Tehran's honesty about its nuclear programme. There is no doubt that the return of frozen assets to Tehran after the conclusion of the deal is also concerning because it will support even more its militias in Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and Syria and continue its aggressive behaviour against its neighbouring countries.

I believe that Tehran wants to make greater gains and obtain greater concessions from Washington and the West before concluding the deal and plays with time so that its interests with Russia are not harmed in case the nuclear deal is fully concluded and therefore the negotiation rounds will continue.

By: Saad al-Hamid