Will Iran Emerge the Winner in Vienna Nuclear Talks?

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Assessment: Jerusalem readies itself for western surrender when talks begin again on Thursday Dec. 9 …

On Monday, November 29, 2021 the five powers (Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia) and Iran assembled in Vienna, Austria to resume talks on returning to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) after a five-month gap. Iran broke those talks in June, 2021. In Vienna, President Joe Biden’s special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, will not be sitting with the six negotiating delegations, but will be staying at a nearby hotel. He will be briefed on the talks by the diplomats from the five participating powers.

The states engaged in the negotiations have their own agendas. For Iran, their single objective is to lift the sanctions. From statements made by Iranian leaders, it is clear that they will object to dealing with issues of concern to the US, or the Israelis, who are not participants, but are facing an existential threat from a nuclear Iran.

“I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army—your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords.” Ez. 38:4 NIV

These issues include Iran’s development of ballistic missiles, and their nefarious regional activities. Iran demands assurances that the new JCPOA will bind future US administrations. It is not easy to predict whether the Iranian negotiating team will stick to its maximalist demands, or show some flexibility. It is clear, however, that Iran’s new president, Ebrahim Raisi, will seek a tough stand against the US. With the Chinese and Russian delegations at Iran’s side both in and out of the negotiation room, Tehran is unlikely to budge.

The first day of the negotiations is perhaps indicative of what is to come. The Iranian top negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister, dictated the agenda, and the western powers dutifully complied. The topic was the lifting of the sanctions against Iran, and not returning the Islamic Republic to its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA.

Another early piece of evidence of Iran’s dictating the agenda came from Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh. He stated that, “The US could receive a ticket for returning to the room if it agrees to the real lifting of sanctions.” The arrogance of the Iranians is apparent, and meant as an insult to the US.

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