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Iran, the West and Open Negotiations

Iran, the West and Open Negotiations

Sunday, 1 May, 2022 - 08:15
Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

Since the beginning of the Iran nuclear negotiations, we have been hearing US and Western statements warning that time is running out.

However, it’s been a year of talks without the signing a final agreement, and some of the terms of the 2015 deal have even approached their end without extension or renewal in sight.

The Biden administration sought to appear completely different from the former Trump administration, which had withdrawn from the 2015 deal, but a return to an agreement with Iran turned out to be not as easy as it had imagined.

To date, US and Western sources are talking about the possibility of a nuclear agreement taking place, but without specifying a time limit.

All we know is that Iran’s request to remove the Revolutionary Guards from the terrorist list is one of the final obstacles to achieving an agreement.

Delisting the Revolutionary Guards as a terror group is facing opposition in the US, both from Republicans and Democrats, and we have witnessed harsh hearings of US officials regarding the Iranian file.

“I believe the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force to be a terrorist organization and I do not support them being delisted,” US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Moreover, pivotal countries in the region also strongly oppose the delisting. This opposition comes despite European efforts to differentiate between the Revolutionary Guards’ political and military wings, like the distinction they drew for Hamas and Hezbollah.

Despite European efforts, the US administration is in a state of genuine reluctance for fear of the repercussions of removing the Revolutionary Guards from the terrorist lists on the results of upcoming midterm elections.

Media leaks are suggesting that the Biden administration will not remove the Revolutionary Guards from the list.

The funny thing is that the US wants guarantees from Iran on it not attacking in retaliation for the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, a pledge which Iran rejects making, at a time when the terrorist leader of the Iran-aligned Hezbollah threatens to target Israel directly in retaliation for Israel's targeting of Iran in Syria, and others.

It is clear that Iran is reading into US hesitation and European leniency regarding the nuclear file well, especially since a well-informed source has pointed out that the Europeans believe that there is no point in setting a time limit for the nuclear agreement.

This goes to show European weakness, as Europe hopes to get its piece of pie after the lifting of sanctions on Iran in the future, especially with the economic repercussions of the war in Ukraine on Europe. Certainly, Tehran sees this as a vantage point.

So far, nothing is clear about the Iranian nuclear file, and a source familiar with the progress of the negotiations told me that the issue is not only in the lack of clarity in the course of the negotiations, but it also includes other complexities.

“None of the negotiating parties is ready to declare the negotiations collapse because it will bear the consequences of announcing that,” said the source.

The danger in all of this lies in the lack of clarity about a file that would take us to a stage with uncalculated consequences in our region, whether an agreement is reached or not.

*Eid Mubarak everyone. The article stops for the Eid Al-Fitr holiday.

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