Iran strengthens its position in nuclear negotiations with the support of Russia and China Talks are expected on the sidelines of the IAEA conference on September 21 Efforts by the United States and Europe to persuade Iran to return to nuclear negotiations as soon as this month have been dented by the support Iran’s leaders receive from China and Russia, according to Bloomberg News.
Three years after former US President Donald Trump imposed a policy of “maximum pressure”, Iran has expanded uranium enrichment to the point where it is close to the level of manufacturing nuclear weapons, while its economy is showing some signs of stability, also with the help of Beijing and Moscow, despite continuing to impose harsh sanctions on vital oil exports. .
Diplomats and analysts believe that these developments pave the way for the new Iranian government to expand the list of concessions it is requesting from Washington to return to compliance with the 2015 agreement with world powers. This would postpone the talks for next year, bring down the entire process, or result in new turmoil in the Middle East.
Iran’s negotiators see US sanctions as “reducing returns” and are likely to demand relief from sanctions that go beyond Trump’s nuclear sanctions, said Ali Vaez of the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think tank formerly headed by Rob Malley. The current US envoy to Iran. To complicate any return to the deal, which had reined in Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, the Trump administration imposed a package of sanctions described as a response to human rights abuses and the financing of terrorist groups.
While no official date has been set for a seventh round of negotiations aimed at reviving the agreement, talks are expected to take place on the sidelines of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s General Conference on September 21 in Vienna, according to two officials who spoke to Bloomberg and requested anonymity. Their identity is in line with diplomatic rules. Washington says that while it has expressed its willingness to make concessions on some issues, its negotiators will not wait forever, and that Iran’s nuclear program must be reduced to certain limits.
On the other hand, the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Mariano Grossi, is seeking to hold a meeting with the new head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization responsible for the Iranian nuclear program, Mohammad Eslami, before the Vienna conference. Grossi said he wanted to gauge Tehran’s willingness to restore expanded access to the agency’s monitors, which was terminated in protest of US sanctions, and cooperate with international investigators.
Last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with newly elected hard-line Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi about the nuclear deal. China and Russia were signatories to the 2015 agreement, and announced their desire for the two sides to return to its terms. But the Chinese president said his country supports Iran’s legitimate concerns about the deal and pledged continued financial support from the world’s second-largest economy.
The results are clear on the ground in Iran. Its steel production rose at a higher rate than China’s until July, making Iran the tenth largest steel producer in the world, according to the latest figures from the World Steel Association. Iran also continues to build new ports and railways, which were engineered with Chinese assistance. In August, Iran announced plans to establish a new natural gas hub in the Caspian Sea. A senior representative from the China National Petroleum Corporation recently arrived in Tehran to discuss joint projects and expand relations.
On the diplomatic front, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Vienna last week to meet with the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency. While Moscow has made it clear that it expects Iran to resume allowing expanded inspections, it has shown no desire to put new pressure on the Iranian government. China also warned IAEA monitors not to bypass their oversight missions in support of US and EU goals.
According to officials who spoke with Bloomberg News Network in Vienna, European diplomats are awaiting the results of consultations between the IAEA and Iran before deciding whether to draft a resolution condemning Iran for its non-cooperation.
While such a document might eventually result in the Iranian dossier being referred back to the United Nations, they said it was unlikely that Tehran would face additional Security Council action because China and Russia would certainly block an attempt at new sanctions.
“Europe faced an almost impossible dilemma after the imposition of the US maximum pressure policy,” said Tarja Kronberg, a researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute who worked on the Iranian nuclear file while he was a member of the European Union. Europe has lost its credibility with regard to Iran and is heading east towards China.”