Nuclear Issue

  • 2020-08-14

    The United States suffered an embarrassing diplomatic defeat on Friday when the United Nations Security Council rejected a proposal to indefinitely extend an arms embargo on Iran, with even America’s strongest allies refusing to buckle under pressure from the Trump administration to take a harder line.

  • 2020-08-11

    Biden’s foreign policy team appears united in calling for a return to the JCPOA, although several advisors have talked of the need for a broader follow-on agreement that includes ballistic missiles and ending regional conflicts, among other things. It is noteworthy that even if Biden wins, he will only have a short window to deal with Iran while President Hassan Rouhani remains in office, as the next Iranian presidential elections are in mid-2021. US sanctions and the Rouhani government’s poor economic record have already cost Iranian moderates control over parliament and the next president is likely to be a hardliner. Given that hardliners in Iran have long expressed their opposition to the JCPOA, Biden cannot gamble on a favorable outcome in Iran’s presidential elections. If he wants to revive the agreement upon assuming office, he needs to act quickly.

  • 2020-07-31

    The report calls for narrowly defining U.S. interest in the Middle East. A policy in the region must focus on safeguarding the United States from attack and ensuring the free flow of global commerce. The authors contend that these goals could be accomplished by reducing the U.S. military presence, extending diplomatic efforts to secure human rights, and setting up a regional security architecture modeled after the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. […] Yet the Quincy Report, while vivid and well-framed, is highly ambitious. The authors’ aims are sure to be tempered by circumstance outside of U.S. control, as well as the limitations imposed by current and past policy. This is particularly true in the report’s call for normalized relations between the United States and its historical bête noire, the Islamic Republic of Iran. […] Yet if Biden triumphs, the goals of the Quincy Report will continue to face considerable obstacles. The barriers to improving relations between the United States and Iran may not be insurmountable, but they are certainly more considerable now than they were five years ago. The JCPOA may not rise from the ashes. And the current fraught state of U.S.-Iranian relations may endure even if Donald Trump exits the White House in January 2021.

  • 2020-07-23

    Even compared to the party's own platform in 2016, the new draft marks a shift in attitudes toward Iran. Democratic Party platform maintains that "Democrats believe the United States should not impose regime change on other countries and reject that as the goal of U.S. policy toward Iran”. […] The final draft of the Democratic Party platform also calls for returning to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran also called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). President Donald Trump pulled out of the deal in 2018 and subsequently the United States imposed new sanctions on Iran and called for a new agreement that would also constrain Iran's ballistic missile program, its military ambitions in the Middle East, its violation of human rights as well as its controversial nuclear program.

  • 2020-07-22

    Two issues have dominated relations between the EU and Iran in recent years: the nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – including efforts to conclude it, followed by efforts to save it – and human rights concerns. Even though the European Union (EU) and Iran have worked together over the past two years to save the JCPOA, relations between the two have deteriorated. Iran accuses EU Member States of not standing up to pressure from the United States of America (USA) to isolate Iran and of not doing enough to save the JCPOA.

    The EU, for its part, is concerned about Iran's enrichment activities; growing tensions in the region and Iran's role in this context, including the provision of military, financial and political support to non-state actors in countries such as Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen; and its ballistic missile programme. In 2011, the EU put restrictive measures in place to react to serious human rights violations in Iran. These remain in force. Nevertheless, the EU has continued to engage with Iran, in marked contrast to the USA. Following the US withdrawal from the JCPOA in May 2018, the Trump administration re-imposed wide-ranging sanctions on Iran and has since then pursued a policy of 'maximum pressure'. The declared goal of the maximum pressure campaign is to push Iran to negotiate a new agreement that would also address Iran's ballistic missile programme, end its support of militant groups in the region, and curb its foreign policy ambitions in western Asia. Instead, the US policy of maximum pressure on Tehran has led to an escalation of tensions in the Persian Gulf region, with potentially direct consequences for Europe. With Iran continuing uranium enrichment to levels far exceeding the levels permitted under the JCPOA, and with the USA threatening to trigger the re-imposition of United Nations (UN) sanctions against Iran, further escalation is likely. Security in the EU is linked to the security situation in western Asia. For that reason, Europe should maintain efforts to preserve the JCPOA and seek to reduce tension between Iran and the USA.

  • 2020-07-15

    Sabotage attacks can at best delay—but not halt—Iran’s nuclear program. Worse, they could tip the political balance in favor of going for broke. The US intelligence community judges that whether or not Iran acquires a nuclear weapon is a matter of political will. If anything, it would seem Iran’s will is growing. Natanz is a declared site that is subject to frequent IAEA inspections. The destruction of the advanced centrifuge assembly workshop may tarnish Iran’s trust for inspections and push it to harden its sensitive sites or advance its nuclear program covertly. Acts of sabotage jeopardize transparency—and the prospect of keeping the nuclear deal alive and improving upon it in any future nuclear agreement. Seeking short-term tactical gains that undermine trust and hinder the long-term strategic goal of containing Iran’s nuclear program is dangerous and shortsighted.  Diplomacy is the best sustainable and effective means of reaching a solution.

  • 2020-07-14

    China’s Ambassador to Iran Chang Hua described the JCPOA as “an important positive factor in maintaining regional and global peace and stability” and urged the international community to oppose US unilateralism and its attempts to extend or reinstate sanctions against Iran.

  • 2020-07-14

    I firmly believe that the JCPOA has become a key component of the global non-proliferation architecture, which is why I continue to call for all parties to remain committed to its full implementation. Iran, for its part, must return to full compliance with its nuclear obligations; but it also needs to be able to reap the economic benefits envisioned in the agreement. Having already established measures to protect our companies against extraterritorial US sanctions, we in Europe can do more to satisfy Iranian expectations for legitimate trade. 

  • 2020-07-11

    The Iranian parliament has prepared a plan to stop the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol to the NPT in Iran by the International Atomic Energy Agency, Tasnim reported on Saturday. “This plan has been prepared in the format of urgency based on which voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol will be stopped and the government is obliged to observe it,” said Abbas Moghtadaei, the deputy chairman of the Parliament National Security and Foreign Policy Committee. Moghtadaei said that the plan has been drawn up in response to the United States and Europe’s excessive demands. Iran’s parliament issued a statement in June strongly condemning an anti-Iran resolution by the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors, asking the government to stop implementing the Additional Protocol, which allows surprise inspections of nuclear sites.

  • 2020-07-09

    If the event was associated with a natural gas line explosion, then the possibilities for causation have expanded from our earlier analysis to include: Purely accidental; An explosive device was planted that triggered an explosion and fire; or Some cyber-based attack could have led to a leak that later ignited.