Iran accuses Western powers of ‘blame game’ over 2015 deal
By Parisa Hafezi and John Irish
VIENNA – Iran on Tuesday accused the Western parties of its 2015 nuclear deal of “persisting in their blame game,” a day after European diplomats warned the pact would soon lapse if efforts to revive it fail.
In a pessimistic assessment of talks between Iran and the great powers in Vienna, British, French and German diplomats warned on Monday that “time is running out” to save the pact, which they say will very soon become “an empty shell. “without progress. in negotiations.
Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani responded on Twitter, saying: “Some actors persist in their habit of blaming, instead of true diplomacy. We came up with our ideas early on and worked constructively and flexibly to narrow the gaps. “
Referring to the United States and its withdrawal from the nuclear pact in 2018, Kani wrote: “Diplomacy is a two-way street. If there is a real will to remedy the wrongdoing of the culprit, the way to a quick good deal will be cleared. “
However, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday that Washington was continuing to pursue diplomacy with Iran because “it remains, for now, the best option”, but added that it “is actively engaging with allies and partners on alternatives ”.
The stakes are high. Failure to negotiate would carry the risk of yet another regional war, with Israel pushing for a tough policy if diplomacy fails to curb Iran’s nuclear work.
Indirect talks between sworn enemies of Iran and the United States began in April, but ended in June after the election of radical cleric Ebrahim Raisi, whose negotiating team returned to Vienna after five months. with an uncompromising stance.
In 2019, Iran began violating nuclear restrictions under the pact in response to the US withdrawal and the decision to reimpose tough sanctions that have devastated the Iranian economy.
“Who violated the agreement? Americans. Who should compensate for this and be flexible? The Americans of course, ”said a senior Iranian official.
Iranian religious leaders believe that a harsh approach, led by their strongly anti-Western Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, may force Washington to accept Tehran’s “maximalist demands”, analysts and diplomats have said.
“But it could backfire on us. This is a very dangerous and sensitive issue. The failure of diplomacy will have consequences for everyone, ”a Middle East diplomat said on condition of anonymity.
In the seventh round of talks, which began on November 29, Iran abandoned all the compromises it had made in the previous six and demanded more, a senior U.S. official said.
With wide gaps between Iran and the United States on some key issues – such as the speed and scope of the sanctions lifting and how and when Iran will reverse its nuclear milestones – the odds of a deal appear slim .
Iran insists on the immediate removal of all sanctions according to a verifiable process. Washington said it would remove restrictions “inconsistent” with the nuclear pact if Iran returned to compliance, implying it would leave other restrictions such as those imposed under terrorism or human rights measures. the man.
Iran is also seeking to ensure that “no US administration” will back down on the pact again. But Biden can’t promise it because the nuclear deal is a non-binding political agreement, not a legally binding treaty.
“How can we trust the Americans again? What if they drop the case again? Therefore, the party that violated the agreement must provide guarantees that this will never happen again, ”the Iranian official said.
“It’s their problem, not ours to solve … They can find a solution and give us guarantees.”
By dramatically increasing the stake, Iran has also limited the access granted to UN nuclear oversight inspectors under the nuclear deal, limiting their visits to only declared nuclear sites.
Although essential for restoring the nuclear pact, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said last month that he did not have access to relocating surveillance cameras to the TESA The Karaj centrifuge parts workshop in Iran, which was hit by apparent sabotage in June in which one of the agency’s four cameras was destroyed.
“Our interviews with the IAEA on the Karaj complex are continuing, ”senior Iranian nuclear official Mohammad Eslami said, according to Iranian media.