June 25, 2022, more than 3 months after Vienna talks were paused, Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, traveled to Tehran to meet with the Islamic Republic officials. After his meeting with the regime’s Foreign Minister, he said the negotiations “between US and Iran, facilitated by my team” would resume in the coming days. Borrell met with the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, as well. Shamkhani told Borrell, “US, with continued Trump’s maximum pressure policy, has caused delays in the process!” Abdollahian, regime’s FM, repeated the same claim in his press conference: “We hope US is realistic and fair this time!”
Doha was the new host. Officials from EU, US, China, Russia and the Islamic Republic gathered to, once again, try to “overcome the differences” and revive the JCPOA. The meeting began 3 days later and lasted for 2 days. There was “no progress.” Western diplomats immediately expressed their disappointment. EU representative at the UN Security Council rebuked the Islamic Republic for refusing to accept a “good deal” that’s on the table and said: “I am concerned that we might not make it over the finishing line.” A senior US official said: “The prospects for a deal after Doha are worse than they were before Doha and they will be getting worse by the day.” French Ambassador to the UN criticized the Islamic Republic for adding to the problems: “Not only has Iran not taken up the offer on the table, but it also added yet more issues which fall outside the JCPOA with maximalist and unrealistic demands.” The E3, Britain, France and Germany governments, in a statement, expressed their concern over escalation of the regime’s nuclear program and urged Tehran to “accept the deal” ASAP!
On the other hand, the Islamic Republic officials contradict their Western counterparts! The Foreign Ministry Spokesman claimed “Iran’s suggestions were provided. Mr. Bagheri and Mora will be in touch to schedule future sessions!” Islamic Republic’s UN Ambassador described Doha meeting as “serious and positive.” Takhteravanchi announced Tehran is ready to continue negotiations and will “contact EU mediators for future meetings.”
While Western officials, especially US, continue their efforts to revive the JCPOA and keep saying the window for diplomacy is closing, Islamic Republic strives to stall the talks, no matter where or when they are held. An official of the regime asserted, “Islamic Republic will survive. With or without a deal. Our nuclear program is advancing every day. Time is on our side. We want a good deal.” The regime in Tehran is counting on desperate Westerners who need Iran’s oil and want to avoid an all-out war with the largest state-sponsor of terrorism!
But, time is running out! US has begun new sanctions on Chinese and other third-country oil and military companies helping the regime circumventing sanctions. The Biden administration also announced $15million reward for whoever that can help stopping the money laundering networks of the IRGC. E3, EU and US statements at the UN Security Council signals their seriousness to strengthen sanctions on the regime, to prevent it from ever reaching nuclear weapon.
Meanwhile, Islamic Republic continues its mocking of diplomacy and spreading terrorism in the region. The IRGC supports Houthis in Yemen, Bashar Assad in Syria, and Lebanese Hezbollah, Hamas and PIJ against Israel. Additionally, it has amped up its efforts to dismantle Iraqi government in order to install a Shia PM, a puppet for its orders. Furthermore, the ballistic missile program of the regime is expanded, arousing response from the West. “Zuljanah” was launched as Borrell announced the new round of talks in Doha. US called it “provocative” while the regime signals its stubbornness and its true intentions. The regime also keeps its “hostage taking strategy.” It arbitrarily arrests and imprisons foreigners to extort their governments. As Doha meeting was in the works, the Islamic Revolutionary Court sentenced a French tourist to 8 years and 8 months in prison. Benjamin Brier was charged because “he had more than 1 cellphone and hard drive, France was named as an ‘enemy’ of the Islamic Republic, and he had graduated in informatics!”
Delisting of the IRGC, the terrorist group responsible for the malign activities of the regime, remains the main objective for the regime negotiators, while US considers the matter non-JCPOA related. Russia’s involvement in the process has also complicated the negotiations, as they pursue their own objective: JCPOA must exempt Russia in dealings and trading with Iran, despite being sanctioned by the international community.
A member of National Security Commission at Islamic Republic “Parliament” clarifies the regime’s intentions even further: “We have two options. Either go into a war with the US or negotiate with them! For now, we will negotiate. They need JCPOA more than us. US must give us a guarantee, otherwise, there will be no deal!”
Devastating economic situation in Iran is turning everything against the regime. Islamic Republic officials have claimed the “JCPOA has no impact on the economy”, “80% of our problems is not sanction-related,” and similar rhetoric. The economy in Iran is in its most fragile state in the history. The regime’s corruption and incompetence have caused the IRR to fall to its lowest, a record-breaking value. Raisi administration stopped the “subsidized currency rate” for importing essential items, leading to shortage of basic needs including medicines such as antibiotics. It also rationed the bread and fuel. The prices were unleashed. According to Statistical Center of Iran, year-over-year inflation rate broke records with 52.5% in June. The month-over-month reached 12.2%, with most essentials jumping 80% or more in prices. The poverty is affecting every family in the country and has spread its roots to all walks of life, with people unable to afford a loaf of bread. To control the market, the Islamic Republic oppressive forces have closed down exchange markets, arrested several traders, and continue spreading fake news and narratives about the “negotiations.”
The widespread protests across Iran are additional pressure on the theocratic system. People from all walks of life, from teachers to retirees, from students to laborers gather on a daily basis, protesting the regime. Their slogans have become so radical that the Islamic Republic oppressive forces try to prevent any gathering at all costs. “Our enemy is right here, they lie saying it’s the US”, “We don’t want Islamic Republic,” “Mullahs must get lost,” “Death to dictator,” “Reza Shah, God bless your soul,”… are just a sample of those chants.
Islamic Republic is playing with time, hoping to achieve the nuclear bomb to gain the upper hand. It is on the international community to end the talks and close the “window” before it is too late.