范鸿达:“Can the Seventh Vienna Negotiation Bring Good Luck to JCPOA”,Tehran Times
发布时间: 2021-11-25 浏览次数: 10

20211125日,上外中东研究所范鸿达教授在伊朗《德黑兰时报》发表评论文章“Can the Seventh Vienna Negotiation Bring Good Luck to JCPOA?”(见Tehran Times 20211125日第5),全文如下:

Can the Seventh Vienna Negotiation Bring Good Luck to JCPOA?

On November 29th, the seventh round of the Vienna negotiations on JCPOA will begin. Can the United States and Iran reach an agreement on revival of JCPOA? This has once again become a focus issue.

Since President Raisi took office in early August 2021, the new Iranian administration has not been very active in the Vienna JCPOA negotiations. After winning the presidential election in June, President-elect Raisi made it clear that the foreign policy of the new Iranian government will not be limited to the nuclear agreement.

However, Iran has also repeatedly stated that it does not oppose returning to the JCPOA negotiations. Raisi administration has insisted that the United States must lift its unjust sanctions against Iran first, and that there is no point in continuing the previous negotiations that will not yield positive results. Iran also believes that future JCPOA negotiations in Vienna cannot involve Iran’s missile development and regional policy.

In the past few months, in order to push Iran to return to the negotiating table in Vienna, the United States has continued to communicate with Russia, Britain, France, Germany, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, and China. On August 24, the U.S. special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, said in an interview that the United States “is prepared to make compromises ‘on difficult issues ’if Tehran does the same”.

In fact, both the United States and Iran do not want to give up the revival of the JCPOA. Without the constraint of the JCPOA, Iran’s nuclear project will be more difficult to control. This is certainly not what The United States expects to see. Meanwhile, it seems that if Tehran does not return to full compliance of the JCPOA the US sanctions on Iran will continue.

For the time being, I think Washington’s demand for JCPOA is more urgent than that of Tehran. America's “Maximum Pressure” has indeed had a serious impact on Iran, and Iran used to be more eager than the United States to revive JCPOA. However, the successive rounds of the Vienna negotiations failed to achieve the desired results. This disappointed the Iranian side. In addition, the US failure in Afghanistan not only further eases the external pressure on Iran, but also shows that US interest in the Middle East is declining.

Also, according to the relevant provisions of the JCPOA, Iran has the right to redevelop its nuclear program if other signatories fail to perform the JCPOA. In fact, Iran has already done so and has made major advances in its nuclear program. Moreover, in recent years Iran has increasingly emphasized eastward diplomacy and Iran's relations with China and Russia are deepening.

These new trends make the United States and its allies hope to resume the JCPOA as soon as possible, so as to eliminate the challenges posed by Iran’s nuclear development. And, considering Iran's Geostrategic position that can’t be ignored, these countries also hope to establish normal or good relations with Iran.

However, there is still a seemingly insurmountable gap between ideal and reality. Many sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran are supported by law and cannot be lifted quickly through executive orders. Moreover, there are still strong anti-Iran and anti-JCPOA voices in the United States. The internal politics of the United States has determined that the sanctions against Iran are difficult to lift in a short time.

On the other hand, it is also difficult for Iran to agree to include missile and regional policy issues in the JCPOA negotiations. And, there are also strong anti-American and anti-JCPOA feelings in Iran. Iran's internal politics has also determined that it is difficult to compromise in the struggle against the United States.

In other words, it seems that neither Washington nor Tehran can meet each other's public demands. Will the seventh round of talks end in fruitless, or will a major breakthrough be made? This mainly depends on the actual attitude of the United States and Iran in the next negotiations.

Once bitten, twice shy. Iran requires the United States to promise not to withdraw once it returns to the JCPOA. Compared with other controversial issues, I think it is possible for the United States and Iran to reach a consensus on this issue. Also, the United States has room for lifting some sanctions against Iran and helping Iran take back some assets that have been frozen abroad.

As for the issues of Iran’s missile and regional policies, the United States can’t expect to solve new problems within the old framework. Although Iran does not agree to discuss these two issues in the JCPOA negotiations, can new negotiations be opened outside the JCPOA negotiations to deal with these two issues? If it can get something to make its regime more stable and its country better, is it sure that Iran will not consider discussing missile and regional policy issues?

It is foreseeable that if this upcoming round of negotiations is still as fruitless as the previous rounds, Iran will be more passive towards such negotiations in the future. Moreover, because of the increasingly urgent domestic need for nuclear energy, Iran will almost certainly continue to strengthen its nuclear program. Of course, if this is the case, the United States will not lift sanctions on Iran. In this way, all stories will return to the beginning.

In my opinion, in the current background of competition among major powers, the United States will not spend too much resources in Iran. Iran, whose people are increasingly dissatisfied, also needs a better international environment for development. The United States and Iran have a common need to ease tensions. So, the upcoming JCPOA negotiations in Vienna can be given some cautious optimism.

来源:Tehran Times

(本文观点仅为作者或被访者个人观点,不代表本研究机构立场)