Is Iran paving the way for ‘Iran deal’ talks failure? - analysis

By Iran saying that it won’t accept any kind of interim deal or a “step-by-step” process, it is setting the negotiations up to fail.

 An Iranian protester holds the picture of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as she attends an anti US demonstration, marking the 40th anniversary of the US embassy takeover, near the old US embassy in Tehran, Iran, November 4, 2019.  (photo credit: NAZANIN TABATABAEE/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY) VIA REUTERS)
An Iranian protester holds the picture of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as she attends an anti US demonstration, marking the 40th anniversary of the US embassy takeover, near the old US embassy in Tehran, Iran, November 4, 2019.
(photo credit: NAZANIN TABATABAEE/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY) VIA REUTERS)

Iran’s pro-government Tasnim News Agency thinks the Iran deal talks have been largely unproductive. Its conclusion is that Iran can’t accept any kind of step-by-step return to a deal or an interim deal, a view echoed by Iran’s foreign ministry.

Iran’s foreign minister has said that the new government’s goal is to get sanctions lifted.

“Immediately after the end of the first round of talks on lifting the sanctions in Vienna, the European parties began to play the blame game and tried to make the demands made by Iran during the talks seem extravagant and outside the framework of the UN Security Council,” Tasnim says.

This report is an important document because it is a window into the regime’s thinking. It reflects its analysis of the Western media and Western mindset.

It thinks that Western parties have “tried to pretend that Iran has made new demands beyond the [2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action], regardless of the issues raised in the previous six rounds of talks, through psychological operations and media atmosphere.”

 Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi meets with UAE's top national security adviser Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Tehran, Iran, December 6, 2021. (credit: MAJID ASGARIPOUR/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY) VIA REUTERS) Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi meets with UAE's top national security adviser Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Tehran, Iran, December 6, 2021. (credit: MAJID ASGARIPOUR/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY) VIA REUTERS)

Indeed, Iran accuses Western media of being affiliated with the governments of the West that held talks in Vienna with Iran.

Iran claims its proposals “are naturally not maximalist and extravagant, because they are presented in full compliance with the UN Security Council.”

Iran slams the “Europeans” even more than the US in this report. “They have sought to impose maximum obligations on Iran with minimal adherence to the UN Security Council. It is clear that the Western parties, who came to Vienna with the idea of granting small concessions and receiving maximum concessions, were not completely satisfied with the texts and clear demands of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Iran says it won’t accept any kind of interim deal or a “step-by-step” process. This is setting up the negotiations to fail.

Indeed, Iran has walked away. Rumors are it may continue enrichment and seek to use that as blackmail, as it has done for years.

“The United States has effectively violated the UN Security Council, while Iran, after a year of full implementation of the UN Security Council and an opportunity for the West to fulfill its promises, has only reduced its obligations under the provisions of the UN Security Council. Given that Iran’s action was taken in response to the violation of the American Covenant, the verdict of any common sense will be that the violating party first compensates its damage, and then the other side wants to go back,” the report says.

Here again, the failure is predicated on a self-fulfilling prophecy. Iran wants the US to pay some kind of reparations for the last several years. That won’t happen. So talks will likely fail.

Iran has given the US an out. Perhaps the US could still come back to the deal without begging and without paying.

But the report has a message: “As it is clear from the implementation of [the deal] in the last five years, Iran’s obligations in this agreement are quite tangible and measurable, while the other side’s obligations are interpretable and it is itself a fallacy and sophistry.”

“Fallacy,” “sophistry” – these are not terms one uses when close to a deal.

Lastly, the Iranians say that there is no trust between Tehran and Washington. “Based on Iran’s past behavior, the American side can expect that Tehran, if it declares compliance with its obligations, will implement all the provisions of the UN Security Council as in the past. But if we ignore the US record in breaking international agreements and only talk about [the deal], naturally Iran cannot be a government that tried to get sanctions lifted only on paper from the first day of [the deal] implementation and then follow the same policy.”

Iran’s point is that the West is lying. The West won’t lift sanctions anyway, and the US can’t be trusted.

Iran’s media say that a “temporary” agreement is also a boondoggle. “According to the Islamic Republic of Iran, given the history of the Western side in non-fulfillment of [the deal’s] obligations, only an agreement can be considered a ‘good agreement’ that not only compensates for the effects of violations of the Western parties in the past, but also prevents future violations.”

So how will the West promise that? It can’t. That leaves the ball in Tehran’s court.

Iran then details other problems it has with Western banks that fear doing business with Iran due to US sanctions. This could imply Turkish and other banks as well.

The conclusion of the report is that any return to a deal requires that Iran benefit economically and not have to wait through an interim deal.

Iran won’t allow the West to think it has backed down from its demands. It wants all sanctions lifted. This comes “at a time when sanctions are waning and the Iranian economy is finding ways to breathe and return to normal life.”

If Iran accepts an interim agreement, it will send a message to the West that pressure has worked.