In Vienna, negotiations on the viability of the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, are still ongoing. However, they are now ready to move forward without the modest assurances provided by an interim deal between Iran’s authorities and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran), reported that on Monday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Saeed Khatibzadeh, asserted that the regime has taken no formal decision about the prospective restoration of that deal, which simply gave the hazy promise of future access to important data if the Vienna talks were successful.
The IAEA has effectively undermined the relaxation that some Western negotiators felt when the first three-month deal between Tehran and the UN agency was extended for another month in May by revealing the severe constraints that Iran imposed on its authority.
That extension came out to be little more than another month of nuclear inspectors being kept off the sidelines of the Vienna talks on the dubious assurance that they would be able to retrospectively fill up the gaps.
However, how can western policymakers of such negotiations be expected to accept any kind of result if it requires them to stay blind to the advancement of Iran’s nuclear program and simply take the regime’s word for it?
This is the deal Tehran has offered since the current talks began in April, but as IAEA Secretary General Rafael Grossi pointed out, it makes no sense in light of 60 percent enrichment, systematic obstruction of the agency’s mandate, and an ongoing refusal to explain the purpose of undisclosed nuclear sites discovered since the JCPOA was implemented.
Prior to the release of the latest IAEA assessment, Grossi warned that it was “impossible” to just return to the JCPOA on its current conditions.
“Iran has accumulated knowledge, centrifuges, and material,” Grossi told media before implying that a secondary agreement or deal-within-a-deal would be required if the JCPOA parties were to have any chance of reaching a mutually acceptable resolution.
The problem with this attitude is that it was rejected by Iran before and by the Foreign Ministry again during Khatibzadeh’s Monday press conference.
Iran has already made up its decision about the future of the 2015 agreement, according to the Ministry’s representative, and the weight for its restoration falls completely on the other side.
The loss of data, as bad as it is, comes nowhere close to the repercussions of rewarding the Iranian regime’s continuous malicious activities with sanctions relief and the satisfaction of knowing that it would outlast far powerful nations.
Doing so will just encourage the government to carry out more of the same nefarious operations in response to more of the same ultimatums in the hopes of gaining more concessions.
Furthermore, in the Vienna negotiations and any other engagements with Iran’s nuclear program, the goal must be to not just restore but also to increase access and information that was previously available.