On April 1, European External Action Service announced a virtual meeting would take place on Friday, April 2, among JCPOA participants. China, Russia, Britain, France, Germany and Islamic Republic representative took part in the meeting chaired by Deputy Secretary General and Political Director of EEAS, Enrique Mora. The meeting was to see how and when US could return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Iran Nuclear Deal.
Immediately after the meeting, Lauren Norman from Wall Street Journal tweeted about US attending next week’s meeting. A report that Islamic Republic media reacted to quickly and demanded answer. Abbas Araghchi, Deputy Foreign Minister and regime’s representative in the meeting, claimed US will not be attending any session that Islamic Republic participates. He affirmed Khamenei’s previous rhetoric that all sanctions must be lifted and verified by Islamic Republic before regime scales back its JCPOA violations!
The EU officials were unison in saying the meeting was about how US could rejoin the JCPOA. They published a statement:
“Participants also emphasized their commitment to preserve the JCPOA and discussed modalities to ensure the return to its full and effective implementation. Participants agreed to resume this session of the Joint Commission in Vienna next week, in order to clearly identify sanctions lifting and nuclear implementation measures, including through convening meetings of the relevant expert groups. In this context, the coordinator will also intensify separate contacts in Vienna with all JCPOA participants and the United States.”
They clearly mention US being part of the discussions on the April 6 meeting, at least indirectly in regards to Islamic Republic! The regime officials, on the other hand, began their disinformation campaign and chaotic responses to muddle the atmosphere for both Iranians and the media!
Mohammad Javad Zarif, Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic, tweeted the aim for next week’s meeting is to “rapidly finalize sanction-lifting” measures, implying all details have been worked out and they are meeting in person to finalize the details!
In the meantime, Russian’s representative put it differently, announcing a long difficult way ahead!
A few hours later, Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, attended a “Clubhouse” room, which has become a new propaganda platform for the regime allowing one way talks just like their IRIB networks, claiming the negotiations have reached “technical stage” and sanctions would be lifted soon.
Robert Malley, one of the original US team members in negotiating the Iran Deal described the meeting as the “first step,” adding “difficult discussions ahead.”
Later that night, Malley appeared on PBS and explained US’s position once more! He said, “US knows it must lift sanctions inconsistent with the JCPOA in order for Iran to enjoy the benefits of the deal.” The full interview:
Islamic Republic was quick to respond to Malley. Saeed Khatibzadeh, Foreign Ministry Spokesman, reiterated Khamenei’s points: “US must life ALL sanctions that were imposed by Trump after withdrawal from JCPOA and all other sanctions that are there for any reason, in order for Islamic Republic to reverse its nuclear steps.” He added, the US proposal for “step-by-step” process is “unacceptable” emphasizing this is Islamic Republic’s “definite policy.” This happens despite Rouhani suggesting the regime was ready for “step-by-step” protocols. His statement was faced with wrath from other elements in the regime, accusing him of “giving hope to the enemy,” “inciting division,” and “elections hopes.” Another proof that foreign policy, like many other aspects of regime’s decisions, is decided by one man and his minions: Seyed Ali Khamenei!
These back and forth messaging shows an evolution, yet a regression, in Islamic Republic tactics for negotiations. A “proxy dialogue” between regime and US through EU and these meetings. They even have started prior to the in-person meeting to make sure the other side knows where they stand. However, it also has an internal use for the regime, showing Iranians that the regime have not backed off from its stance. While this tactic may be new, it’s familiar to everybody. It resonates the “proxy militia groups” which fight the regime fights in the region in order for the Ayatollahs to extort the West, help them reach their ideological “Shia Empire” and preparing the world to receive their “Imam Zaman.”
EU, Russia and US keep talking about the revival of JCPOA, talks, negotiations, first step in a long and difficult path, Islamic Republic keeps repeating “US must lift ALL sanctions.” It’s because the regime’s life depends on the money they receive from the deal. Iran’s economy has shattered under the maximum pressure policy and it is about to implode. They are spending all they have to expand the nuclear program (even after Natanz was sabotaged), IRGC’s ballistic missile program and UAVs! Their pipe to Hezbollah, Iraq, Syria and Yemen has been narrower but still ongoing.
Since 2018 that Trump pulled out of the JCPOA and imposed crushing sanctions on IRGC, Khamenei and their affiliates, regime officials admit damages amount to billions of dollars every year. Javad Zarif claimed $1trillion must be paid by Biden administration as compensation to Islamic Republic! That’s how much less Islamic Republic proxies receive. That’s how more secure the region is. The recent increase in Ansarallah attacks is nothing but an embolden terrorist group after they are taken off from Foreign Terrorist Organization list by the new Biden administration. Islamic Republic uses its proxies to leverage its talking points during “negotiations.”
A tactic which seems to be working again. EU and US are about to give in to empty threats of a regime which has been suffocating its own people. A regime that wants to conquer the Middle East, destabilize the region and wipe Israel off the map. A regime which has tricked the world to believe there is democracy and “elections” in Iran. A mafia which has made the world think “hardliners” and “reformists” are two different political parties with any say in major strategic policies in the country.
JCPOA participants are about to rush and be fooled again by Zarif’s smile and soft voice that “the window is closing on them,” because “hardliners” may win the next elections so “you better deal with us, the lesser of two evils.” The lame duck administration of Rouhani administration is in office until June 18, and whatever deal is made with them would be null because nothing can stand in the way of an ideological regime! Iranians have figured out this rhetoric and loudly dismissed the totality of the regime with their #No2IR and #نه_به_جمهوری_اسلامی campaign.
Cover: Parastoo Maleki – A graffiti in Tehran, illustrating “Republic of Execution, Anti-human Rights, and “Reformists” hand in hand with “Hardliners.”