The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran), reported that the delegates from the nations currently involved in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal soon started offering positive statements after the latest talks in Vienna ended on Wednesday. The German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass seemed to acknowledge the situation, telling reporters that the US has expressed “fundamental willingness” to return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA. “But, of course,” Mass added, “it all depends on Iran honouring the commitments that it is clearly breaking.”
When the Mullahs declared early last year that they would no longer cooperate with even the most basic provisions of the JCPOA, European policymakers undertook a dispute resolution process that might have resulted in the immediate re-imposition of all UN sanctions that had been frozen until then.
Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy leader, quickly disrupted the process by announcing that the EU was willing to extend it well beyond its existing limits, perhaps permanently.
Several Iranian regime officials have said that before the regime will comply with any of the agreement’s nuclear-related limitations, the US must first lift all economic sanctions, including those regarding the Iranian regime actions outside of the nuclear context.
Heiko Mass’s statement suggests that, no matter how much European representatives want to believe they are close to reaching a compromise deal, Iranian regime officials will never willingly embrace such an outcome. The aim of these talks has simply been to compel the United States to capitulate.
Tehran’s nuclear development had already returned to its previous high point of uranium enrichment: 20% fissile purity by the time it revealed it would be leaving the JCPOA in its entirety. The rate at which that development occurred raised serious doubt on the JCPOA’s capacity to restrict Iran’s nuclear programme in the first place.
Although the 20% level was already commonly known as being just a short technical step away from the 90% level that is considered weapons-grade, it is now even shorter as Iran enriches uranium beyond 60%.
Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi stated clearly that if “pushed” by foreign adversaries, the regime will work towards development.
That statement, made in February through state media, was indeed a confirmation that compromise is nowhere near in the regime plans.
The Mullahs only want to issue more and more explicit threats in the hope of persuading Western powers to comply with its demands.
As early as January 2019, Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, acknowledged this fact. Despite the fact that the nuclear negotiations agreed that the Arak heavy water facility was to be deactivated and filled with concrete, Salehi said in an interview with state media that the facility remained fully operational.
The regime got around this requirement, according to Salehi, by acquiring duplicate tubing that was similar to the tubing that led into the facility’s centre and providing faked images to the IAEA after pouring cement through the decoy device.
The West must learn from Iran’s previous actions, if sanctions are restored without any new concessions from Iran, the regime would be emboldened to break the rules even more openly, placing itself in a position to achieve weapons-grade enrichment using funds generated by the sanction’s relief.