In the first day of indirect talks in Vienna between JCPOA nuclear deal partners and the United States Tuesday, Iran’s leaders rejected an offer by the Biden administration to release $1 billion of Iranian oil revenue being held in South Korea in exchange for Iran to stop production of 20 percent enriched uranium.
Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran and lead Iranian negotiator in Vienna Abbas Araghchi called the U.S. proposal “ridiculous,” but overall found the nuclear talks to be “constructive,” according to PressTV.
The Biden administration continues to exhibit its willingness to make concessions to Iran’s regime in order to revive the 2015 JCPOA; however, Tehran remains unmoving in its demand that all sanctions be removed prior to any reversal of its JCPOA violations.
“Team Biden’s approach is based on the fiction that the JCPOA – even if strictly followed – will prevent Iran from manufacturing its own nuclear weapons. It does not do that,” said Senior Fellow at Gold Institute for International Strategy Matthew RJ Brodsky said to The Foreign Desk.
Brodsky believes the U.S. is on track to make an “egregious mistake” if the errors committed during the original negotiation of the 2015 JCPOA are repeated in which “the U.S. gave up its economic leverage to secure a very flawed deal” that fails to address Iran’s ties to terrorism, its ballistic missile program, or its long list of human rights violations.
If the U.S. gives up economic leverage, there will be “no leverage to force a greater deal” as the Biden administration previously promised.
“Most of the sanctions put in place by the Trump administration [were] related to terrorism, human rights, and its ballistic missile program. Obama removed most of America’s non-nuclear related sanctions so that Iran would enjoy the benefits. Biden is poised to do the same. This includes removing sanctions from Iran’s central bank,” said Brodsky.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif solidified Iran’s stance in a Friday tweet, saying a meeting between the U.S. and Iran in Vienna would not be necessary considering that Iran’s aim during the talks is to “rapidly finalize sanction-lifting & nuclear measures for choreographed removal of all sanctions, followed by Iran ceasing remedial measures,” signaling yet again Iran’s refusal to compromise.
Just last week, U.S. Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley told PBS NewsHour “if either side takes a maximalist position and says that the other side has to do everything first before it’s going to move one inch, I think it’s hard to see how this succeeds.”
The next meeting between Iran, Russia, China, European partners and the U.S. is scheduled for Friday.