The Iranian regime expected that they would be able to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) after a two-month deadlock, but with the decision of the US president Joe Biden to keep the regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) on the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list, their hopes were dashed.
Before this decision was made, a draft agreement had been reached, and the only obstacle to finalizing it was the regime’s demand to pull out the IRGC from the US government’s FTO list.
While facing many financial problems, the regime had hoped that this progress would allow it to gain access to its frozen money and assets in many overseas accounts blocked due to the US sanctions.
During European Union official Enrique Mora’s visit to Tehran, Josep Borrell, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, announced that the EU had prepared a package of proposals under which the United States would remove the Revolutionary Guards from the FTO list but would maintain the sanctions against the organization.
At the same time, Western media outlets had claimed that during Mora’s visit, the regime had agreed to resume talks on issues other than the removal of the IRGC from the US list of terrorist organizations, which was the focus of the last round of Vienna talks.
Concurrent with this news, which shows clearly the regime’s weakness exacerbated in the aftermath of the recent protests, regime president Ebrahim Raisi made the groundless claim that “we will not postpone the progress of the country until the lifting of sanctions so that others can decide for us, and we have shown this in practice and announced in the official forums that our strategy is the strategy of the leadership, but at the same time, we pursue the issue of lifting sanctions.”
US State Department Spokesman Ned Price stated that the Vienna talks are only focused on nuclear issues and if the regime wants to discuss issues that are outside the JCPOA, the US government is more than ready to participate in these talks, provided that the regime is prepared to make concessions.
Mehdi Zakerian, the regime’s international law expert, gave an interview with ISNA about the regime’s refusal to back down and its costs. He said, “Unfortunately, it seems that the other side, the United States, has long been reluctant to resolve the issue. In the US view, it has been able to manage its other issues and problems in the region and other parts of the world with the presence of other countries. And this is not good for Iran’s reputation and future, especially at the regional level. Unfortunately, in the analysis, news, and reports, the disagreement with Iran and the revival of the JCPOA do not do much harm to the international community.”
The situation has become so difficult for the regime that its Foreign Minister and his political deputy chose not to discuss the JCPOA in public and took the matter behind closed doors in the regime’s parliament. As for the news media, they only made some general remarks. Since the last deadlock, regime officials have avoided attending any live programs.
This reaction shows that the regime is terrified of the exposure of its weakness and the Iranian people’s reaction.
In recent months, the regime had hoped to gain concessions from the Ukrainian war, which explains why many officials and media outlets started to support Russia’s invasion. But as always, the developments did not turn out as the regime had wished.
In an interview with ILNA, Sasan Karimi, one of the regime’s experts, said, “When we reached the end of 2021 after Russia delayed the invasion of Ukraine, there were changes in Iran’s policy, and some analysis was that our oil would be sold to energy carriers in the world at a higher price. Russia will not pay attention to sanctions against us.”
He added, “The second issue was that the West would refrain from dealing harshly with Iran because of the protracted JCPOA process and would try not to push Iran further toward Russia in the context of Russia’s war with Ukraine. As a result, Iran’s case was unlikely to go to the Security Council. Regardless of the support or non-support of Russia and China, the return of UN Security Council sanctions against Iran does not require the vote of these two countries.”
Karimi further stated, “These two points caused Iran to slow down the pace of the negotiation and ultimately stop it. I called this process of reviving the JCPOA ‘a small victory, but the prelude to a great defeat.’ We missed the chance of reviving the JCPOA. That is, we missed the opening that was created to provide the opportunity to invest and sell oil in the world, and on the other hand, we were able to sell 800,000 barrels of oil.”