The JCPOA continues to be elusive:
The Vienna talks aimed at reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, have slowed down.
- Russia has sought written guarantees from the U.S. that the economic sanctions imposed on it for its attack on Ukraine would not affect its role under the JCPOA or will not in any way harm its future trade and defence ties with Iran.
- Russia, an original signatory of the JCPOA, is a member of the joint commission that supervises Iran’s compliance with the provisions of the deal.
- Russia would help Iran to downgrade its Fordow enrichment plant into an isotope manufacturing centre to be utilised for medicinal purposes.
- Western commentators claim the Russians are deliberately trying to delay the finalisation of the agreement to thwart the U.S. attempts to relax sanctions on Iranian oil exports which would help in turn tame the soaring crude oil prices.
- Iran has been insisting on the removal of all sanctions imposed on it during the previous Donald Trump administration, including the removal of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO).
- Notably, the JCPOA carries much less significance for Iran now than it did in 2015.
- Iran has been able to sell a substantial amount of its crude in the international market and has also been able to withstand the adverse economic impact of the U.S. sanctions on it.
- It has also achieved technological achievements in the nuclear enrichment cycle.
- The growing nuclear capability of Iran and the delay in concluding a new deal to curb its nuclear programme threatens to deepen the security crisis in West Asia
Iran uses its nuclear activities as a bargaining counter to seek an agreement that will best serve its interests. So, the early conclusion of the deal is important to turn the clock back on Iran’s nuclear activities.
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