Following a five-month delay, negotiations over the 2015 Iran nuclear deal resumed on December 6 in Vienna. Many participants held an optimistic outlook on the proceedings but no points of progress have been made thus far. All that has emerged is high criticism of the Iranian regime’s extortion tactics and their attempts to reverse the compromises that had been made during the previous sessions of negotiations.
The current round of talks is being chaired by European Union diplomat Enrique Mora, who claimed he has recognized a ‘renewed sense of purpose’ among the member states negotiating and highlighted the need for a resolution to revive the agreement, formerly known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said, “Of course, commitment to that outcome has never truly been in doubt. The core problem is that the Iranian regime continues demanding the complete, up-front removal of all sanctions imposed or re-imposed after the US pulled out of the JCPOA in 2018.”
The EU remain optimistic about the proceedings of the talks but there is no sign that the regime will step back from their demands or offer anything in return. They have consistently maintained that they would only discuss the reversal of the JCPOA’s terms violations after the sanction relief has been verified.
In the event that the regime continues to stall the negotiating process, France, Germany, the UK and the U.S. have all publicly expressed the need to find alternative measures to hold the regime accountable for their violations.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, the spokesperson for the US State Department Ned Price stated that the regime will be unable to ‘play for time’ while they advance their nuclear program. He also added that the regime’s strategy of using their nuclear activities for ‘additional leverage’ would depend on them ‘gambling on American weakness’ which they would lose.
The NCRI said, “Yet, Western powers have not stopped appeasing mullahs and giving the regime more time to advance its nuclear program.”
Last month, the US Department of Defense gave a briefing to President Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan of a range of military options, and the Director of the CIA, Bill Burns, has recently hinted that the US may demand more than a simple revival of the JCPOA.
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi has previously declared that under current circumstances, it is ‘not possible’ for the JCPOA revival alone to ‘realize its original intent’.
While he did not put forward any recommendations of how to exert pressure on the regime, he did agree to the suggestion of the IAEA Board of Governors formally censuring them for their refusal to cooperate and their consistent violations of the terms of the nuclear deal.
The NCRI said, “The Iranian regime has indeed shown it is only willing to kill time to continue its clandestine nuclear program and acquire a nuclear bomb. Western powers’ insistence on continuing these futile talks would only embolden Tehran to continue its nuclear extortion.”