The deal to scale back and rein in Iran’s nuclear program is in danger of collapse, western sources said.
“The deal is not totally dead, but it’s on life support,” The Independent newspaper quoted an official of a government involved in the talks.
The diplomatic envoys of nations party to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) are scrambling to come up with a formula to resume talks that halted earlier this year.
Officials tasked to work on reviving the deal are awaiting any positive signals or moves by Iran, which has been steadily ramping its program well beyond the limits of the nuclear deal and complicating access for inspectors seeking clarity on its program.
“They are struggling to build a strategy and build consensus,” said Sanam Vakil, an Iran expert at Chatham House.
“Their foot-dragging can be seen as a leverage-building exercise, but it’s also a reflection of internal paralysis.”
US envoy to Iran Robert Malley joined counterparts from France, Britain and Germany at the meetings in Paris to discuss efforts aimed at reviving the troubled 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
According to US sources, Malley provided them with guarantees and assurances and stressed Washington’s intolerance to any “beyond normal” role for Iran in the region, in exchange for its return to the nuclear agreement.
Tehran’s “nuclear escalation” does not reflect the reality on the ground, the sources stressed.
Iran’s main goal was - and still is - to recognize its rights in the countries in which it exercises its control.
Even its ballistic missile program does not raise many concerns, especially since the future of its nuclear program will certainly end due to the objections of its “allies.”
Tehran’s rulers seem to be concerned about the consequences of returning to the nuclear agreement without receiving “written consolation prizes,” even if it recovers some of its frozen funds.
The recent developments in Iraq where pro-Iran factions suffered a resounding defeat in parliamentary elections, the tension in Lebanon between Tehran-backed Hezbollah and other Lebanese parties, the stagnation of its war in Yemen and its concerns over losing gains to Russia in Syria have put Iran in a constant state of fear that it may lose everything it has built and claimed to have achieved.
State Department spokesman Ned Price had told reporters the US and its partners are “united in the belief that diplomacy continues to provide the most effective pathway to verifiably and permanently preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”
“We are united in the belief that negotiations should resume in Vienna as soon as possible and that they should resume precisely where they left off in June,” he said.