With the nuclear talks reaching their final hours, and the Iranian regime remaining steadfast in promoting positive progress, Iran’s state media are now expressing scepticism and despair. They have stated that the negotiations, at its ‘final turn’, have reached a ‘dangerous, sharp and bumpy turn.’ A turn that has increased the possibility of the regime’s demise.
The media outlets are now speaking about the failure of the Vienna talks. In an interview with the state-run daily Jahan-e Sanat on March 3, Ali Bigdeli, one of the regime’s international affairs experts, said: “The status of the talks has changed slightly since Tuesday afternoon. The reason for this change may be partly due to our comments and positions on Russia. In other words, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine greatly affected the negotiating environment, which is why Mr. Ulyanov has left the negotiating path. On the other hand, the Westerners have said because of the positions and statements of our senior officials in support of Russia that they may leave the negotiating table by the end of the week if the talks do not reach the desired result.”
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has also called for inspections of undisclosed sites with their own inspectors. If the agency does not report positively on the inspections, the negotiation process will be greatly affected.
The result of this critical situation has put the Iranian regime in a strange position. This coupled with the prospects of European and American sides withdrawing from the negotiation process, we will get a clearer picture of the regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei’s weakness.
Bigdeli has also admitted that the regime’s efforts to lift all sanctions have completely failed. He said, “The Americans have separated the four areas of the (nuclear) sanctions, human rights, missiles, and regional issues, and are now ready to lift the sanctions (related to the JCPOA), but in three other areas, they suggest that negotiations continue after the JCPOA. But Iran does not want to accept this. Given that by no means it is possible that the Americans close their eyes on none JCPOA sanctions, the situation has become increasingly difficult in many ways.”
The state-run daily, Javan, affiliated with the regime’s Revolutionary Guards, also expressed the same frustration. It wrote, “Evidence shows that the US-based mafia has not responded positively to any of Iran’s legal demands and continues to beat the drum with its arrogant and mafia-style bullying and refuses to be flexible and give Iran the slightest concessions.”
The dailywarned of the regime’s ‘sheer loss’ and ‘chain JCPOAs until the complete erosion of (the regime’s) power’, noting that that it would have to address the missile, regional, and human rights issues In the next phase of negotiations.
As such, it can be said that with the start of the current war in Ukraine, the regime mistakenly thought it could play an offensive role in the nuclear talks by supporting Russia and changing the situation in its own favor. However, now it is worried that Russia will use the regime as its card in the negotiations to strike a balance with the West.
As it stands right now, the regime is on a deadly path. Either it chooses to accept the current situation and makes ‘tough decisions’ under the threat of its western counterparts leaving the negotiations, or it will leave the talks itself and accepts the danger awaiting them.
The last scenario, as Bigdeli said, is equivalent to the regime’s confrontation with the IAEA, which would likely lead to the IAEA’s Board of Governors urging the adoption of a resolution by the UN Security Council, as well as the return of all six previous sanction resolutions.
If the regime does not comply with the demands of its western interlocutors will be crushed under the weight of increasing social crises and protests, and the hammer of international political and economic pressures. The accelerating developments will not just stop here, and the situation will change from bad to worse. It is apparent that the newly created parameters show us that time is against the regime.