Oct 11, 2021
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“Europe is powerless”: why Germany blamed Russia and China for Iran’s return to the JCPOA

The coming weeks will be critical to the future nuclear deal with Iran. This was announced by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. According to her, the situation is critical and each new day of delay in the start of negotiations on the program gives Tehran an opportunity to enrich more uranium. In addition, she blamed Russia and China for the return of the Islamic republic to dialogue, recalling that the new US administration had previously promised to also join the negotiations. Experts believe that with such statements the Chancellor is trying to delegate responsibility for the rather difficult process of reaching a deal to those countries that have real influence on Iran.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the coming weeks decisive in the situation with the nuclear deal with Iran. She stated this at a press conference following talks with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

“Today we are in a very difficult situation, because the new US administration has promised to return to the deal, but day after day passes, and Iran does not give signs to resume negotiations. Every such day, Iran’s uranium enrichment is increasing. This is a critical situation … We are facing decisive weeks in this matter, ”the politician emphasized.

Calling the situation with Iran’s nuclear program critical, Merkel added that she never considered the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan (JCPOA) on the deal to be ideal, but there is no alternative to it.

“And I see the responsibility of Russia and China here, because if the JCPOA is no longer a goal, it will be difficult,” Merkel said, pointing out that Moscow and Beijing should influence Tehran in deciding to return to negotiations as soon as possible.

According to the Chancellor, she continues to negotiate with Russia and China, because “the greater the unity among the countries of the“ three plus three ”format (Germany, France, Great Britain and the Russian Federation, USA, China. – RT), the easier it is to put pressure on Iran ”.

In turn, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that it was his country that was responsible for ensuring that Tehran could never develop nuclear weapons. At the same time, he noted that Tehran’s nuclear program is currently at the most advanced stage in history, in connection with which there remains a threat not only to the region, but to the whole world.

“There is no point in trying to smooth over the conflict with the Iranians: they interpret attempts at reconciliation as weakness … Agreeing to turn Iran into a threshold nuclear state will be a stain on the conscience of the free world and a threat to world peace,” Bennett quoted TASS as saying.

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett
  • AP
  • © Menachem Kahana

Readiness for dialogue

Earlier, US President Joe Biden, speaking at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, said that Washington remains committed to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

“We are working with a five plus one format to engage with Iran through diplomatic channels and are committed to renewing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. We are ready to return to full compliance with (agreements – RT) if Iran does the same, ”Biden said.

On October 6, the Iranian Foreign Ministry confirmed that representatives of the American administration conveyed messages to Tehran about the intentions of the head of the United States.

“The essence of these messages was that the Americans tried to emphasize that respected Mr. Biden has serious intentions to implement the JCPOA, as well as to pay special attention to the implementation of the rights and interests of the people of Iran within the framework of these agreements,” said the head of the Iranian Foreign Ministry Hossein Amir Abdollahiyan at a news conference following talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

However, as Hossein Amir Abdollahian emphasized, first it is necessary to be convinced of the seriousness of Washington’s intentions. For example, according to the Iranian Foreign Minister, the United States could “unblock $ 10 billion of Iranian assets in foreign banks.” According to the minister, Iran is ready to return to the negotiating table if its partners take “reciprocal steps and demonstrate their readiness to respect the rights and interests of the Iranian people in the implementation of the JCPOA.”

At the same time, at the end of August, at a press conference with Naftali Bennett, Joe Biden said that in case of failure of diplomatic methods to convince Tehran of the need to conclude a new deal, the United States is ready to use “other options.” However, what these “options” could be, Biden did not specify.

At the same time, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken previously stated that, most likely, Washington will maintain anti-Iranian sanctions even if Tehran returns to compliance with the treaty.

“I would expect that even if the JCPOA returns to compliance, hundreds of sanctions will remain. Including sanctions imposed by the Donald Trump administration. If they do not contradict the JCPOA, they will remain in effect until Iran’s behavior changes, ”Blinken said at a hearing before the US Senate Appropriations Committee.

  • Capitol Building in Washington
  • Reuters
  • © Joshua Roberts

Recall that in June, the participants in the negotiations on a new nuclear deal took a break to hold consultations in their capitals and prepare for the final round in Vienna. In addition, on June 18, presidential elections were held in Iran, which was won by the head of the country’s judiciary, Ibrahim Raisi, in connection with which the representatives of Tehran decided to wait for the completion of the transfer of power before returning to the negotiating table.

“We are going through a transitional period because a democratic transfer of power is taking place in our capital. Therefore, the negotiations in Vienna should obviously wait until a new government is formed in our country, ”Abbas Arakchi, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic, wrote on Twitter at the time.

The US State Department expressed dissatisfaction with the Iranian side’s refusal to resume negotiations immediately, calling it an outrageous attempt to shift the blame for the current stalemate in the return of both countries to comply with the JCPOA.

We will remind, negotiations on the restoration of the JCPOA started in Vienna in April 2021. The return to dialogue took place after Iran announced the suspension of some of its obligations under the treaty in 2019. This decision was made by Tehran after the unilateral withdrawal of the United States from the deal in May 2018 and the decision of the administration of the 45th President of the country, Donald Trump, to renew the anti-Iranian sanctions and introduce new restrictions.

The present negotiations are attended by the same delegations that signed the agreement in July 2015 – from the USA, Iran, Russia, Great Britain, Germany, France and China. A total of six rounds of negotiations took place.

American wines

Experts interviewed by RT believe that the United States itself is to blame for the current situation with the lack of progress on the nuclear deal.

“It was the Americans who thwarted the previous agreements that world diplomacy reached with such difficulty in 2015. And now the Iranians are ready to sit down at the negotiating table, but the main obstacle is the sanctions imposed by the United States. They are illegal, illegitimate, voluntaristic. Therefore, the resolution of the issue is being delayed, “explained Alexander Vavilov, professor of the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foreign Ministry, orientalist, in an interview with RT.

According to him, Iran has already proved by its position on negotiations that it cannot be broken by restrictions. Moreover, Tehran morally supports the recognition of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of the fact that the Islamic republic did not violate its obligations.

Irina Fedorova, senior researcher at the Center for the Study of the Near and Middle East of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, also pointed out that the negotiations will not resume due to the extremely tough approach of the United States.

“The United States does not just want to return to this deal, but wants it to be expanded to include both Iran’s ballistic missile program and a program to restrict Iran’s activities in the region,” the expert explained in a commentary on RT.

In addition, Fedorova stressed, Tehran does not trust Washington because of the latter’s tradition of violating agreements.

“Therefore, Iran demands guarantees that this will be a treaty from which it would never be possible to withdraw in the future. And such guarantees, of course, are practically impossible to give. Therefore, it is very difficult for Iran to seek a compromise in such conditions when they cannot fully trust Washington, ”Fedorova said.

At the same time, according to the expert, on the issue of Iran, Israel is exerting significant pressure on the United States, which is categorically against any concessions to the Islamic republic.

In this regard, Fedorova considers it logical that Europe is now pinning great hopes on the efforts of Russia and China on the JCPOA issue, since the same Germany and France understand that their own authority in this matter is much lower.

  • Negotiations on Iranian nuclear deal in Vienna
  • Reuters

“Berlin and Paris understand that they cannot have any influence on Iran. Indeed, after the United States introduced sanctions against Iran, many European private companies began to follow them so as not to fall under restrictions themselves. Therefore, Europe has no levers of pressure on Iran. They stopped fulfilling contracts that were beneficial to both parties, and, in fact, stood on a par with Washington, ”the expert explained.

In turn, China and Russia, without using an ultimatum policy and maintaining working relations with Iran, have the opportunity not only to be mediators, but also to advise any options under which this agreement can be reached, Fedorova added.

“Therefore, since Europe is powerless, it wants to shift the collective responsibility of the signatories to Russia and China,” the expert concluded.

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