The result of the war in Ukraine

Europe and America rush to reach an agreement with Iran

  • Borrell's contact with Tehran shows how concerned the European Union is.

    Father

  • Breakthrough time is the time required to produce weapons-grade uranium.

    AFP

  • Abdollahian said last Monday that about 97-98% of the draft agreements were ready.

    AFP

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It appears that the war in Ukraine could derail the Iranian nuclear negotiations.

It is clear that the issue of negotiations with Iran is no longer in the center of the world's attention now, and the United States seems very keen to make it clear to Moscow and Tehran that it will communicate with Moscow on issues that are "essential to our national security interests", such as the Iranian nuclear agreement.

"The fact that Russia is now invading Ukraine should not give Iran the green light to develop nuclear weapons," State Department spokesman Ned Price said last weekend.

Heading east raises tension

Price's remarks came after Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi called his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, where he told the Russian leader that "the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) towards the east is causing tension," stressing that the alliance's continued expansion to the east would pose a threat to the stability of the country. and the security of independent states in various regions.

Raisi expressed his support for Russia, saying, "I hope that what happens will be in the interests of the countries of the region."

The Russian statement indicated that Putin spoke of "difficulties" in reaching a settlement in the Middle East.

Regarding the nuclear negotiations, Putin stressed the importance of continued consultations between Russia and Iran.

The Russian position seems very supportive of Iran, but Moscow has shown its willingness, in a constructive spirit, to be a mediator in the absence of any contact between the Iranians and the American side in the Vienna negotiations.

Washington realizes that it is appropriate to take advantage of Moscow's influence in Tehran.

On the one hand, Moscow is well aware of the priority that Tehran attaches to its strategic independence, and secondly, that this is a critical national security issue for Iran, where there is little room for maneuver for negotiators.

Penetration time approaching

There is a palpable sense of urgency in Washington for a deal in Vienna, given that advanced centrifuges at Iran's nuclear facilities are very close to the so-called "breakout time" (the time required to produce weapons-grade uranium) these days.

Last weekend, the Secretary-General of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, spoke with his British counterpart, Stephen Lovegrove, on the issue of the need to conclude the agreement, and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian received a call from the foreign policy coordinator on the same issue.

Some Western parties involved in the Iranian negotiations said that the negotiations would end this week.

We can quote what the French negotiator Philip Era said: “We will continue the negotiations until we reach an agreement, or announce the failure of the negotiations next week.” In other words, it seems that all parties have come very close to a solution, but there is nothing final until everything is agreed upon. Thing.

Last Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Abdollahian said that about 97-98% of the draft agreements are ready, but there are three basic issues that the West has not yet agreed upon.

It is clear that the sticking points include Iran's demand to lift more US sanctions than Washington accepts, which includes what could spoil the agreement, which is basically the designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is led by Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, as a terrorist group, by The administration of former President Donald Trump.

The Revolutionary Guards enjoy significant influence in the Iranian economy and politics, in addition to the armed forces and intelligence services as well, and its leaders enjoy high positions in Raisi's government.

Another crucial issue is Iran's demand for a strong guarantee from Washington that the next US government will not pervert the agreement.

The Biden government says that constitutionally it cannot provide guarantees on behalf of a future president, since the nuclear agreement is not a treaty to be approved by Congress.

time is running out

This week will be crucial, given the return of Iranian negotiators to Vienna, after consultations in Tehran.

It can go both ways.

Iran is unlikely to budge an inch over its basic demands, while the Biden administration does not appear to have the courage to make decisions that would involve high domestic policy costs.

Here, Russian mediation can help.

The fact that the Europeans communicated frantically with Tehran at the end of last week shows that their lines of communication with Moscow have stopped.

The big question posed is: Can the crisis between East and West derail the Iranian negotiations?

The fact that the European Union's foreign policy chief, Borrell, frantically communicated with Tehran, last weekend, shows the extent of the European Union's concern, that despite the media attack against Russia and Putin by the European Union High Commissioner, Ursula von der Leyen, the countries of The union lacked the active and active role of the Russian mediator.

repeating pattern

This will be a recurring pattern in the global system, and it will not be limited to North Korea, Syria or Afghanistan.

In much of the world, on all continents, except perhaps Europe, the dissolution of the Soviet Union was an unfortunate event, because they felt they had lost a buffer against bullying by Western countries, many of them former colonial powers.

Iran's concern, as a stakeholder, over the outcome of the conflict in Ukraine is understandable now in the midst of negotiations with European powers, at a time when things seem to have reached a decision point in Vienna.

• There is a tangible feeling of an urgent need in Washington to conclude a deal in Vienna, given that advanced centrifuges in Iranian nuclear facilities are very close to the so-called “breakout time.”


• The Russian position seems very supportive of Iran, but Moscow has shown its willingness, in a constructive spirit, to be a mediator in the absence of any contact between the Iranians and the American side in the Vienna negotiations.


• Iran is not likely to budge one iota over its basic demands, while the Biden administration does not appear to have the courage to make decisions that may involve high domestic policy costs.

M.K.

Padrakumar ■ Former Indian diplomat

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