President Joe Biden has indicated that he plans to resurrect the Iran nuclear deal formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that had been established in 2015 by then-President Barack Obama. Former President Donald Trump subsequently withdrew from the agreement.
Despite Biden’s apparent willingness to appease Iran with a renegotiated deal, Iranian leaders have played hardball and talks have reportedly been at a stalemate in recent weeks.
Reasons for the stalemate
One reason for the stalled debate is the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has expressed concerns about the lack of access it has been granted by the Islamic Republic of Iran to inspect and monitor known and suspected nuclear program sites.
Furthermore, the IAEA has expressed doubts about Iran’s commitment to allowing the agency to effectively monitor its uranium enrichment program or the advanced centrifuges it uses to enrich the radioactive material.
Another significant problem is Iran’s election of Ebrahim Raisi, a regime hardliner closely aligned with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, who has dismissed any prospect of a formal meeting with Biden.
The Gatestone Institute surmised that Iran seemed content for the time being to continue operating in the absence of the joint agreement and is suspected of pushing forward with its nuclear development to a point that could render the prior deal completely obsolete.
Raisi’s opposition to expanded negotiations appears to be in line with remarks made last month by Khamenei.
Results of stalled negotiations
Iran’s supreme ruler denounced Western nations as untrustworthy “enemies” and Iranian negotiators have reportedly pressed to have all economic sanctions against the country lifted — including for human rights abuses — instead of only those related to the nuclear program.
Earlier this month, CNBC reported that an unnamed German official who was part of the negotiations in Vienna, Austria, lamented that “substantial” progress had been made prior to a stalemate that arose in late June.
That official noted that the more “complicated” aspects of a new deal had been postponed in favor of finding agreement on simpler matters. Unfortunately, Iran’s regime appears to be refusing to cede any ground on such issues, threatening the prospect of any deal being reached at all.
A recent report by the Times of Israel determined that U.S. officials grew skeptical of any further cooperation by Iran.
For its part, the Israeli government is not a party to the negotiations but has been watching developments closely. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has suggested that Western allies should not even bother trying to reach a deal and made it clear that Israel will, if necessary, take action on its own to disrupt or demolish Iran’s nuclear program that threatens the Jewish nation’s very existence.