Amid signs of progress in talks to bring the United States and Iran back to a landmark deal in Vienna on Thursday – but an attack this week on Iran’s main nuclear facility is in the shadows.
In the north Iran has decided to enrich uranium to a new height of ran0 percent purity, citing concerns from European powers and the United States over the attack on the Natanz nuclear facility, for which Tehran blamed Israel.
But Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday sought to allay Western concerns over Tehran’s decision to increase uranium enrichment, saying the nuclear program was “peaceful.”
“We are not trying to get the atomic bomb,” Rouhani said in a televised comment.
Known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (GCPOA), the deal is unveiled after former US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from it in 2011 and imposed sanctions on Iran.
The Agreement Former United States President Barack Obama has agreed to release Iran from sanctions in exchange for a cap on its nuclear program. Iran has violated its nuclear program beyond the limits set in the 2015 agreement.
Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, has promised to restore the deal as part of his election manifesto. Biden was vice president at the time the agreement was formalized.
But his top diplomat, Anthony Blinken, said the deal needed to be renegotiated to address regional influence as part of Iran’s ballistic missile program and support for rebel groups as part of a regional proxy war.
Regional powers and key US allies – Saudi Arabia and Israel – have opposed any deal with Iran, with Israel accusing Tehran of secretly developing nuclear weapons. Iran has denied the allegations, saying it is inspecting the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) nuclear facilities.
What is the agenda?
US President Joe Biden has said he wants to rejoin the deal, but Iran must reverse its violation.
European Union Dr. Discussion Hoping to do just that.
Although a US envoy is in Vienna, they are not meeting directly with Iran. Instead, diplomats from other countries shake hands from behind.
In the headlines of their talks last week, Iran said it was willing to return to full compliance with the deal, but that the United States would first have to lift all sanctions that crippled Iran’s economy.
But it is complicated. The Trump administration added sanctions on Iran outside of those linked to its nuclear program, including terrorism, allegations of human rights abuses, and the country’s ballistic missile program.
Yet there are signs of hope. Aniseh Basiri Tabrizi, an Iranian scholar at Britain’s Royal United Services Institute, said the “who goes first” debate was moving fast and had already begun to address specific issues.
“It’s a very good development that these executive groups are actually talking and looking at Nitai-generosity,” he told the Associated Press.
If uranium is to return to this agreement in Iran 3. More than 3.67 percent should be refined, improved centrifuges should be discontinued and uranium enrichment should be reduced, among other things.
Despite the challenges, Tabrizi said the task facing the group in 2015 is not as complicated as they already have a deal.
Deadline for discussion
There is no deadline. The diplomats involved say the problems are not going to be solved overnight, but they are hoping to be solved in a few weeks rather than a few months for a number of reasons.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, initially seen as a moderate, first agreed to the original deal after taking office.
Due to time constraints, Rouhani will not be able to run again in next June’s elections, and he hopes to be able to sell oil abroad again with Iran and access international financial markets.
Meanwhile, the United States could face tougher negotiations if no agreement is reached before Rouhani leaves. Iran’s hardliners have rejected the nuclear deal, saying it did not provide adequate economic relief and was a slippery slope for further pressure on Iran.
Sanam Vakil, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa program at the Chatham House Policy Institute, said that does not mean they will end the talks if a tough president is elected.
There is another reason for swift action: In February, Iran began restricting IAEA inspections of its nuclear facilities. Instead, it said it would store surveillance footage of the facilities for three months and hand it over to the IAEA if the relief of the ban was granted. Otherwise, Iran said it would delete the recordings.
Over the weekend, Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility was sabotaged. It is not clear exactly what happened, but it is known that a blackout was damaged in the centrifuge there.
The attack was suspected to have been carried out by Israel, which opposes the nuclear deal, although authorities there have not commented.
Iran has said Israel clearly expects to take steps to negotiate sabotage. Rouhani says he still hopes the talks will work – but the attack is complex.
As one, Iran responded by announcing that it would refine uranium enrichment to -0 percent – much higher than before – and install a more advanced centrifuge at the Natanz facility.
And in light of this progress, both sides have been at loggerheads.
On Wednesday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who gave a final speech on all issues related to the Iranian state, dismissed all offers so far in Vienna as “not worth seeing.” Still, he said he had confidence in his negotiators.
Blinken, meanwhile, said Washington had shown its importance in taking part in the indirect talks in Vienna, but with Tehran’s recent announcement, it was not yet clear “how fortunate this importance is for Iran’s purpose.”