۱۹ فروردین ۱۴۰۰ - ۱۷:۰۴
کد خبر: . ۸۲٬۴۲۵

TEHRAN(Bazaar) – Tariq Raouf, former Director General of the Atomic Energy Agency says "step-by-step" plan by the United States to lift sanctions and reverse Iran's enrichment process will not be easy.

Following is the text of the interview with Tariq Raouf

Bazaar: Abbas Araghchi, the head of the Iranian negotiating team, said after today's meeting in Vienna that the first round of JCPOA talks in Vienna was constructive. Do you think that these negotiations will lead to the desired result of Iran in terms of lifting all sanctions imposed by Trump on Iran (under any label)?

Raouf: The start of the Vienna "proximity talks" seems be have been a success with agreement reached on setting up two expert level working groups: one on lifting of sanctions and the other on nuclear issues with the mandate to  concrete measures to be undertaken by the US and Iran to restore full compliance with the JCPOA work already has started. No further information on time lines.

Bazaar: After today's meeting in Vienna, France 24 announced that Tehran welcomed the promising US stance on removing Iran’s sanctions following the Vienna meeting. What is the possible scenario for this meeting? Is it possible that a significant part of the sanctions will be lifted before the Iranian presidential election?

Raouf: It is not clear which sanctions the US is prepared to lift >> Trump imposed sanctions under both nuclear sanctions and duplicated under terrorism sanctions to make it nearly impossible to be removed >> in effect, Trump advised by anti-Iran elements in Congress imposed sanctions that a pro-JCPOA successor could not easily dismantle. These sanctions were directed not only against the nuclear programme but also against Iran's role as the "leading state sponsor of terrorism”, ballistic missile programme and its human rights issues. The explicit purpose of these sanctions was to prevent a return to the JCPOA. Biden faces stiff opposition to sanctions relief from both Democrats and Republicans, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Gulf States >> also his own team is divided with Iran envoy Bob Malley recommending removal of sanctions, return to 2015 JCPOA, leaving out missiles, human rights and terrorism >> while Secretary of State Blinken and National Security Advisor Sullivan having a tougher position and recommending that Iran first make concessions.

Bazaar: Iran's position in the current negotiations is lifting all sanctions by the U.S. at first, and then Iran will comply with the JCPOA. The issue for the United States is to advance the “step by step” plan. How do you think the two sides will reach a balanced position?

Raouf: A "balanced"step by step removal of sanctions by the US, and reversal of enrichment by Iran, is not going to be easy >> at one level it is simpler for Iran to return to JCPOA limits by stopping centrifuges and reducing enriched uranium above JCPOA limits > by disconnecting the centrifuges and shipping out more than 2600 kg of enriched uranium to return to 300 kg limit of JCPOA. On the US side, some sanctions could be reversed by simple order by Biden but others will require dealing with Congress though Biden can suspend some such sanctions.

Bazaar: The negotiators will stay in Vienna until another meeting on Friday regarding the JCPOA. What do you think will be the outcome of Friday's meeting?

Raouf: On Thursday, likely the US and Iran will carry out further discussions through the E3/EU and then report on progress on Friday and agree on next steps for the next round of meetings and their dates.

Bazaar: One day before the Vienna talks (Monday), a news was published by an Israeli media outlet and then removed from the media outlet. The news claimed that Iran would stop 20% enrichment in exchange for the release of $ 1 billion of its blocked money. But Abbas Araghchi has denied this. Basically, will Iran be willing to give up 20% enrichment, which is an important winning card for Iran, in exchange for such a small concession?

Raouf: Suspending 20% enrichment by Iran and shipping out of Iran the nearly 20 kg of 20% enriched uranium could carry a high price for the US set by Iran > such as release of Iranian funds in South Korea and some held by the US > other limitations on the nuclear programme could be reimposed by Iran to return to JCPOA limits for release of other Iranian funds held by the US and others >> but the key question for Iran is removal of sanctions PLUS assurance by the US to other countries and companies that the US would not penalize / fine them for doing business with Iran.

Time is running fast >> end date of Grossi's technical deal with AEOI, and Iran's presidential elections. The ball is in Biden's court to quickly solve the JCPOA problem and return to his domestic political agenda of fighting coronavirus and economic recovery.It is encouraging that last week Robert Malley said that his aim is to try to agree on a "road map" for both Iran and the US to return to the JCPOA and for the US to lift sanctions inconsistent with the JCPOA in order to agree on a road-map >> whether he can deliver is an open question.

۱۹ فروردین ۱۴۰۰ - ۱۷:۰۴
کد خبر: ۸۲٬۴۲۵

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