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8 May 2024 - 09:55

Kayhan Barzegar is Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the Science and Research Branch of the Islamic Azad University

 

In his last interview with PBS network concerning Iran’s nuclear program on March 30, 2024, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Rafael Grossi stated that Iran’s nuclear program is advanced and complicated and that the Agency’s current monitoring and verification activities do not provide enough evidence to confirm that the program is peaceful. He also emphasizes that the main reason for the differences between the Agency and Iran is the lack of diplomacy between the JCPOA parties. However, the point that the Director General neglects is the need to use the principle of mutual balance in measures to advance nuclear diplomacy between the involved parties, as well as the Director General’s negligence to the facilitating and neutral role to withdraw from the current nuclear negotiations stalemate.

In this context, Iran and the IAEA (read Western powers) have two completely divergent expectations. For Iran, the central issue is to provide the necessary “guarantees” from the Western side to fulfill the obligations presented on the foundation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and for the IAEA, the central issue is to conduct further monitoring and verification activities, including more inspections in order to reach more transparency in Iran’s nuclear program. However, the advancement of nuclear diplomacy in the “Iran-IAEA-5+1” triangle is only possible when the parties could identify the Zone of Possible Agreement (ZOPA), thereby extending a sort of equilibrium between the two above-mentioned issues.

The fact is that the JCPOA was a “road map” to reach a specific goal that was signed with a purposeful modality and with meticulous technical and political details, based on a 20-year process. Iran’s specific objective in the JCPOA was to lift sanctions, along with maintaining its peaceful nuclear program.

The specific objective of the West and other parties to the JCPOA was to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program would not be weaponized. Of course, the Western side also hoped for other settlements in the regional and missile areas after the signing of the JCPOA. However, with the unilateral withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA on May 18, 2018 and the failure to lift the sanctions, the entire foundation of the JCPOA was diverted from its original path. Especially when the EU-3 despite their opposition to the US withdrawal from the deal, were unable to fulfill their JCPOA obligations, including providing a financial transfer mechanism, dubbed as INSTEX, to help lifting sanctions

News ID 197575

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