Iran nuclear deal near death, but West not ready to pull plug
May 2, 2022 at 3:33 pm
Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani speaks to the press in front of the Palais Coburg, venue of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) meeting that aims at reviving the Iran nuclear deal, in Vienna on December 27, 2021 [ALEX HALADA/AFP via Getty Images]May 2, 2022 at 3:33 pm
Western officials have largely lost hope the Iran nuclear deal can be resurrected, sources familiar with the matter said, forcing them to weigh how to limit Iran’s atomic program even as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has divided the big powers, reports Reuters.
While they have not completely given up on the pact, under which Iran restrained its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions, there is a growing belief it may be beyond salvation.
“They are not yanking the IV out of the patient’s arm … but I sense little expectation that there is a positive way forward,” said one source, who like others quoted spoke on condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity.
Four Western diplomats echoed the sentiment that the deal – which Iran struck with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States in 2015 but which then-US President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018 – is withering away.
Cartoon of President Trump ripping Iran’s Nuclear deal [Twitter]
The pact appeared on the brink of revival in early March when the European Union, which coordinates the talks, invited ministers to Vienna to seal the deal. But talks were thrown into disarray over last-minute Russian demands and whether Washington might remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from its Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list.
The IRGC controls elite armed and intelligence forces that Washington accuses of a global terrorist campaign.
Tehran’s demand to remove it from the list is opposed by many US lawmakers, who see it as a terrorist entity despite Iranian denials.
The Russian demands appear to have been finessed but the IRGC designation has not, with the impending November 8 US mid-term elections making it hard for US President Joe Biden to buck domestic opposition to remove it.