In the hours since Ukraine’s invasion by the Russians, the Iran regime’s officials and its media have expressed concern that the crisis could affect the nuclear talks to the regime’s detriment.
For example, the state-run Diplomacy Irani website, in an article titled ‘The revival of the JCPOA was sold to the Ukrainian war’, expressed the Iranian government’s concern about the Ukraine crisis and its impact on the Vienna nuclear talks.
The website, which is affiliated with the regime’s so-called reformist faction, has expressed concern while attacking the regime’s so-called principlist faction with phrases such as ‘The performance of Raisi’s government in Ukraine war is the most uncharacteristic performance of Iranian diplomacy.’
Leaving aside the economic and political aspects of this issue, and if one considers the nuclear talks in Vienna to be the second most sensitive international issue in the world after the Ukrainian crisis, one can say that it will certainly impact the Vienna talks.
In the more than 11 months that have passed from the Vienna nuclear talks in the form of eight rounds of talks, many political analysts and observers believe that the Russian representative in the talks has become the unofficial speaker of the Iranian government and is taking public positions in favor of the regime.
Russia has also shown in practice that it plays on the Iranian regime’s ground about the nuclear case and related negotiations rather than at the ground of the regime’s counterparts, which is making the situation more critical by giving the regime more time to get closer to the nuclear bomb.
Now, after Russia launched a military offensive against Ukraine, and after Russia’s further isolation in the international arena, its role in the Vienna nuclear talks will certainly be greatly diminished.
One could perhaps argue that the regime in Iran is the biggest loser of the conflict in Ukraine because one of its main supporters, i. e., Russia has not been isolated on the world stage.
The Iranian regime believes that because the United States and the Western countries are at a disadvantage in the face of the new global crisis, will have to make more concessions to the Iranian regime over its nuclear program.
But the US State Department spokesman Ned Price said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine should not give Iran the green light to develop nuclear weapons.
In his article in Diplomacy Irani, Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, the ex-chairman of the Parliament’s National Security Committee, wrote that Raisi’s government officials believe that the United States and Europe will eventually reach an agreement with the Iranian regime and offer more concessions
because they do not want to witness more international conflicts. In their thinking, the U.S. and Europe cannot fully focus on the Ukrainian crisis unless and until they resolve the nuclear crisis with Iran.
The reality on the ground, however, shows otherwise. In other words, raising these expectations will, ironically, cause Europe and the United States to react negatively to the regime’s maximalist position. The regime’s media outlets and officials are increasingly concerned about the impact of the Ukrainian crisis on the nuclear talks.
On February 27, 2022, the state-run daily Jomhouri Eslami warned the regime and recalled Russia’s actions against the regime. It wrote, “The Russians voted for UN Security Council resolutions against Iran under Mr. Putin. Even now, the Russians want to oversee the JCPOA talks, as if they had always blocked Iranian gas from reaching Europe, and in Syria, they have adjusted the equation in their own favor. They have benefited the most from the tensions between the regime and the West, and they plan to turn it into a winning card for further speculation in the Iranian nuclear issue by invading Ukraine.”
Expressing the same concern, Parliament Speaker Mohamad Bagher Ghalibaf said the same day, “The question is no longer whether we should stay in the negotiations or not. We should stay in the negotiations and move it forward. In the negotiations, some of our demands have been met, but there are still unresolved issues. Negotiations have not been finalized yet, and the outcome of the negotiations must go through the stages of approval in the structures of the system.”
Following a meeting of the regime’s Supreme National Security Council, state media reported that Ali Bagheri, the head of the regime’s nuclear-negotiating team, was returning on February 27, 2022, to Vienna to resolve the remaining issues that posed significant challenges to reaching an agreement.