Editorial of the “World”. Each day that passes in Vienna brings additional pessimism about the negotiations undertaken to save a crucial agreement aimed at preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. The interminable negotiations which had made it possible to reach the 2015 compromise (a freeze of the program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions) had already taken tortuous paths, but major differences explain the alarmism currently in force.
The bloc of six negotiators (Germany, China, United States, France, United Kingdom and Russia) facing the Iranian regime initially appears less united than in the past. Since 2015, Iran and China have thus deepened their strategic and economic ties. Tehran’s expectations are undoubtedly disproportionate compared to Beijing’s calculations, but they fuel Iran’s conviction that the country could come to terms with Western sanctions by relying on its Chinese partner.
Iranian representatives are no longer those of 2015. President Hassan Rohani and his foreign minister, Mohammad Zarif, who had made the lifting of sanctions one of their main foreign policy objectives, have been replaced in following the presidential election in June by Ebrahim Raïssi and Hossein Amir Abdollahian. Unlike their predecessors, the latter do not seem to regard a new compromise as a top priority, which also reduces the room for maneuver of their interlocutors.
The explosion produced in 2018 by the unilateral exit from the United States agreement at the initiative of Donald Trump is finally continuing to produce its effects. This precedent shattered the minimum confidence necessary to reach a new compromise. The Iranians have a good time arguing that the American word, now, is worth little more than a presidential mandate. And that no one will risk investing in Iran when the country’s reintegration into the world economy was the counterpart of the supervision of the controversial nuclear program.
When he had withdrawn the United States from the 2015 compromise and reinstated American sanctions, pushed by all that the federal capital has of ideologists in the strong way, Donald Trump made a point of bringing the Iranian regime to his knees. The latter would quickly be forced, he assured, to accept both a hardening of the measures framing his program (the now bloodless agreement ends in 2025), and simultaneously restrain his ballistic program as his regional influence, two other points of contention.
Everyone can now measure the foresight of the former President of the United States. Iran has not broken off, despite a considerably deteriorated internal situation. The regime has hardened and it even took advantage of this American breach to relaunch its program just as unilaterally. This last tangent more than ever the point of no return, while the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency are now regularly kept at bay.
This spectacular fiasco now apparently only allows bad solutions: a renegotiation at least to save appearances, without the slightest progress on nuclear power as on the two other issues which preoccupy the West; or the military escalation that the 2015 agreement had prevented. Everything must be tried to escape such an alternative.
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Preserving the Iran nuclear deal is a necessity