Despite dozens of meetings, the prospects for a nuclear agreement between world powers and Iran’s regime remain dim. Iranian observers believe Tehran is squandering time in its efforts to either extract a further concession from its western allies or develop a nuclear weapon because obtaining a nuclear weapon is critical to the country’s long-term survival.
The regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei appointed Ebrahim Raisi as president in June 2021. Raisi is best known as the henchman of the 1988 massacre. Raisi was hailed by Khamenei and his allies in various ministries, including the “Islamic Republic of Iran’s” Broadcasting Organization (IRIB) and other media outlets, as the answer to the country’s inexorable crises.
Raisi appoints a cabinet of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commanders and mullahs loyal to Khamenei under Khamenei’s supervision. Raisi has made numerous empty promises since his inauguration in the hopes of assuaging public resentment of the regime. Simultaneously, he has raised the cost of basic services to cover the regime’s costs of terrorism, warmongering, and support for Houthi rebels in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Shiite militias in Iraq.
Raisi and his supporters have been blaming his predecessor, Hassan Rouhani, and his Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, for failing to extract permanent concessions from the West and signing a flawed deal with world powers for years. Raisi’s negotiators, on the other hand, have achieved very little in the ten months since he became president, frustrating Khamenei and the IRGC loyalists. The Jomhuri Eslami daily mocked Raisi’s government for failing to reach an agreement with the P4+1 and the US, blaming Raisi’s government for failing to resolve the JCPOA stalemate.
“The X newspaper writes, the Y social media platform promotes, and the Z official makes comments about the nuclear talks as if not only our negotiators have resolved the JCPOA stalemate and forced the US to succumb to our demands, but also succeeded in setting in motion for [the US] to eliminate [Israel] soon,” the daily wrote on April 19 in an article titled “JCPOA Fundamental Privileges Became Our Friends’ Maximum Demand.” It was added. “However, it appears that the developments are going in another direction.”
“One of the obstacles to reviving the JCPOA is said to be the US opposition to removing the IRGC from the Foreign Terrorist Organizations List (FTO) list, while the US had agreed to lift the sanctions imposed on the Leader [Khamenei] and affiliated institutions, and remove the IRGC from the FTO list as a precondition for any negotiations with the Rouhani government,” the daily added, expressing dissatisfaction with the regime’s weak negotiating.
Indeed, American officials have rejected the regime’s ambitious request for delisting the IRGC, citing the mullahs’ nuclear extortion and constant warnings about the IRGC’s terrorist nature inside the US and around the world.
“Concerning the IRGC, it is probably the most designated organization in one way or another in the world among organizations that we designated, including the foreign terrorist organization designation,” US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said at a press conference last month.
According to the AFP, Biden was hesitant to remove Iran’s Revolutionary Guards from the terror list on April 20. “US President Joe Biden appears increasingly determined to keep the ‘terrorist’ designation on Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, which Tehran is demanding be removed before it returns to a deal on curbing its nuclear program,” the report stated.
In these circumstances, Iran’s regime appears to have lost interest in JCPOA concessions. In order to be recognized as a nuclear power, it has attempted to blackmail the international community by threatening global peace and security. Rather than continuing the futile talks in Vienna, the international community should take a firm stance against Iran’s regime.