Jcpoa – The Iranian nuclear agreement is between yes and but
Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – Iran’s nuclear deal with the capital Tehran for a nuclear arsenal is one of those complicated issues and a futile exercise for many observers who have always questioned its effectiveness, to begin with . The confidence deficit is endemic and none of the opponents have tried to fill it.
In any negotiation, both parties want to extract the maximum mileage until it becomes a zero-sum game. Face-saving and some kind of victory for all parties, at least perceived, is often the result. In addition, third parties who are likely to be indirectly and directly affected need consolation and clarity.
Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – Iran’s nuclear deal with the capital Tehran for a nuclear arsenal is one such complicated issue and a futile exercise for many observers who have always questioned its effectiveness in departure. The confidence deficit is endemic and none of the opponents have tried to fill it.
Since 1979, when the Khomeini regime took control of Tehran, Tel Aviv and to some extent Riyadh and other Sunni states have been stuck in a mutually destructive syndrome of existential threats and crises. Both sides used overt and covert means to undermine each other’s abilities and capabilities.
Israel wants to decimate Iran’s ability to enrich uranium and delay the acquisition of an “Islamic bomb” it may already have. Israel is also a nuclear state and parity in deterrence can mean losing the edge.
But Comrade Trump reneged on the deal in 2018 and, through his “maximum pressure tactics” and tougher sanctions regime, tried to push Iran into a corner. But the result was the exact opposite as Tehran continued to advance its centrifuges and enhance its enrichment capabilities and came even closer to the abhorred goal. And the already unstable region was close to boiling.
Jake Sullivan NSA warned Tehran: “If Iran attacks any of our citizens, including those who continue to serve the United States or those who served previously, Iran will face serious consequences.”
“Do we have to be able to carry out military operations to prevent it
Tehran condemned the US decision. “Iran strongly warns against any action against Iranian citizens under the guise of these ridiculous and baseless accusations,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said.
This hyperactivity in messaging could be a pressure tactic and could even be a disruptive cause for any chance of the deal coming to fruition as both sides take standing positions.
Recently, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell visited Tehran to relaunch the stalled talks and finally, according to them, the two sides tentatively agreed on a draft deal. All returned to their capitals. The Iranians admitted that the agreement was close but with a “big but”.
While Americans are trying, they seem to be losing hope and Iranians are feeling emboldened by the ongoing global crisis that could pay them some dividends. Therefore, Tehran could seek to extract as much as possible before being bracketed into the outlines of the deal. Although Iran will surely benefit economically from the revival of the JCPOA, they have no doubt learned to live with and circumvent Western sanctions for decades.
Iranian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf reiterated that there are two views on how to approach the negotiations. One is that Iran must submit and the other is that Iran must “resist and stand up.” But experience has shown that with resistance, relying on the people and careful economic planning is the only way to save”.
The trust deficit is profound. Tehran wants American guarantees that in the event of another Republican presidency, the agreement will remain intact. Biden or for that matter any American president after what happened in the Trump era could not give such a guarantee and Iranians should not be naive to even ask and accept one. But a quick resolution of the JCPOA is indeed desirable.
— The author, Anil Trigunayat, is a former Indian ambassador and heads the West Asia Expert Group at the Vivekananda International Foundation. The opinions expressed are personal.
(Edited by : Ajay Vaishnav)