Closing Iran’s Nuclear File as the US Achieves Regional Objectives

The White House and the US Department of State are still reviewing the Iranian response to the proposals of the European Union (EU) regarding the nuclear agreement; a senior State Department official told CNN “We’ve closed some gaps, but some still remain” (22/08/22). This indicates the presence of some obstacles such as the lifting of US sanctions and Iran’s stipulation that any agreement should become binding on subsequent US administrations. It is not yet clear when the United States will put forward her response, especially since there are some domestic American objections dominated by the assault on Salman Rushdie because of the fatwa making his blood violable issued by Iran, which makes the timing of the “aggression” dubious as it falls within the framework of hampering the Biden administration’s bid to conclude the agreement.

Moreover, the Biden administration has also charted a path back to the agreement which includes the issue of Iran’s ballistic missiles and her political and military actions in the region. Nevertheless, regional and international facts indicate a drive towards settling the Iranian nuclear file; these facts are reflected in the continuous activity of the European Union, which has been suffering from the pressure of the energy crisis due to the Ukrainian war and trying to exploit the situation to get the United States to accept its proposals it has recently presented to solve the problem of the agreement with Iran, and thus fill a gap equal to Russia’s oil and gas production.

The dynamism taking place regarding the nuclear agreement is still at the stage of preparation, which means it can still be reversed and postponed, especially since the positive statements by the United States,Iranians and European officials have in the past indicated a détente in the crisis of the Iranian nuclear file. Previous statements by the Biden administration indicated a breakthrough but later faded. What complicates matters further is that the Obama administration had ratified the “Iran Nuclear Agreement Monitoring Act”, and given Congress veto power over any president’s decision, something the President’s negotiator Robert O’Malley acknowledged in his hearing with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is chaired by Senator Bob Mendes, a Democrat who is known for his negative stance vis-à-vis the agreement.

Therefore, the timing would not allow for a long enough period to implement the articles of the act before the upcoming US midterm elections, unless the matter is considered a priority and of paramount importance dictated by international data and American interests, foremost of which is reassuring the European Union about energy and preserving its alliance in the Ukrainian crisis by settling the nuclear agreement with Iran.

In the context of the dynamism pertinent to the nuclear file in a manner expressing a more serious attempt to settle it is Israel’s discontent with the international dynamism in this regard, as Israeli officials told media outlets that the Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid had sent a message to the White House warning them that the draft agreement “goes beyond the parameters of the 2015 nuclear deal and isn’t in line with the Biden administration’s own red lines”, and that “it is time to leave the negotiating table … and it is time to discuss what we are going to do to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,”(Jerusalem Post 24/08/22), in addition to the Israeli government’s announcement of its intention to send Israeli National Security Adviser Eyal Hulata to Washington for talks with His counterpart, Jake Sullivan, to discuss developments in the nuclear deal, which led a US National Security Council spokesperson to say: “Reports that we have accepted or are considering new concessions to Iran as part of re-entering the 2015 nuclear deal are categorically false” ( 24/08/22).

By revisiting the withdrawal of the United States from the Iranian nuclear agreement in 2018, we conclude that it was not a rash act by a contentious president. On the contrary, it unfettered Iran from the consequences of the agreement and enabled her to accelerate the pace of uranium enrichment, increased the panic of the Gulf states and deepened Israel’s need for America. It provided Iran with the pretext to maintain the gains she achieved through the chaos of the Arab Spring which made her a major player in the region, despite the sanctions and blockade that caused economic turmoil and social discontent in Iran. However, the latter was able to overcome most of these problems through twisted means and was able to export large quantities of her oil to the global market and adopt certain approaches that allowed her to preserve her entity and part of her gains, and open useful lines of communication with China, Russia and Europe, while maintaining her channels open with the United States.

Moreover, the return to the agreement by the Biden administration was not a reaction from a president at the head of his work nor to the behaviour of an outgoing president; it was rather a deliberate return by the American administration, supported by the Europeans in their quality as sponsors of the agreement and because they have been affected by its crisis. By passing European proposals, the United States could strengthen its alliance with the European Union in her policies towards China and Russia while containing Israeli behaviour and any aberrant Iranian behaviour.

This is because the US administration has maliciously sought to bypass some of its previous policies concerning the Palestinian issue and has tended to the path of liquidating it through a regional solution after it had wanted the usurping entity to make concessions and compelled the Arab countries to make those concessions, abandoning their initiative approved by the 2002 Beirut Summit which stipulated a complete Israeli withdrawal from the Arab territories occupied in 1967, including the Golan, in exchange for the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement between Arab countries and Israel. However, it replaced this agreement with the deal of the century which provides for comprehensive normalisation, in exchange for a permanent peace agreement with Israel for free, and referring the files of the Palestine issue and the remnants of the occupation’s fallouts to what results from the restructuring of the Jordanian, Lebanese and Syrian regimes, and ensuring that the issues of the permanent settlement regarding al-Quds, the refugees and “Israeli” public opinion are addressed, and the Palestinian resistance factions, led by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, are controlled in accordance with the regional solution.

Accordingly, America withdrew from the Iranian nuclear agreement and sought to limit Iran’s influence in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, in parallel with the high pace of normalisation and progress in the regional solution, including besieging Hezbollah, cutting off its supply in Syria, undermining its influence at home, and weakening its influence on the Lebanese decision-making through Lebanon’s burning issues from all sides, in addition to increasing the pressure on the Houthis to ease the burden on bin Salman and enable him to take treacherous steps regarding normalisation and alliance with Israel, after she had succeeded in deepening the animosity between the Arabs and Iran and highlighting the latter’s crimes against the “Sunni” Arabs in Iraq and Syria, and her support for the Houthis, who turned against the “legitimacy”. From all of that, America generated an atmosphere of hostility and hatred for Iran and turned her into an enemy of the people of the region and provided the pretexts for the Arab countries to hasten to sign peace agreements with Israel and normalise relations with it, in preparation for the inclusion of other countries in the club of normalisers and allies.

Hence, America has achieved what she has been seeking concerning the regional solution, liquidating the Palestine issue and integrating the Israel into the region by harnessing the Iranian scarecrow and its nuclear file as a lever for a regional solution. Consequently, the possibility of America returning to the Iranian nuclear agreement is a culmination of what has been achieved in merging Israel at economic, military and security levels with the Arab countries through military agreements and alliances under the pretext of the common enemy.

The Russo-Ukrainian war helped accelerate the path back to the potential agreement, especially in the aftermath of Western sanctions on Russia and Europe’s acquiescence to the dictates of the United States to reduce dependence on Russian oil and gas and diversify her sources to alternative countries in the world. It is common knowledge that Iran can ramp up oil production to 4 million barrels per day plus one billion cubic meters of gas in a short period, especially since it is in the interest of the United States to attract China to Iran and Saudi Arabia and keep her away from Russia as this will also ease the crisis of high energy prices globally and dispel the concerns of the European Union, which proposed on 11 August to make major concessions to Iran to revive the nuclear agreement.

Moreover, American apprehensions about the growing Russian understanding with Iran following the Tehran summit, in which Russia concluded massive energy agreements, contributed to accelerating the expected agreement between the United States and Iran. As for Russia, she is not expected to object to the possible Iranian-American agreement, as she did in the previous dynamism, having secured contracts worth 40 billion dollars in the Iranian energy sector and concluded a host of understandings with Iran in Syria and granted her facilities for military activity through corridors close to Russian military bases in Latakia and Tartus, especially after the war on Ukraine put a strain in her relationship with Israel which targeted the new Iranian supply lines in coordination with the United States, after which Iran targeted the Maghawir al-Thawra faction linked to the American al-Tanf base.

Based on these facts and in addition to the factors related to the Iranian nuclear file such as the impossibility of the Republicans returning to the agreement, and in light of the sharp polarisation between Russia and the United States concerning Iran and Turkey, and in light of the fears of Netanyahu’s return in the upcoming elections, in addition to taking advantage of the tenure of the Lapid government one of whose officials said “Our policy is not to reach a public confrontation with the United States like the one that occurred in 2015. We will not destroy the relationship with the Biden administration, as Netanyahu did with Obama,” (NYT 15/07/21), in light of all this, we may witness progress in resolving the Iranian nuclear issue and addressing the global energy crisis with the approaching winter in which demand will rise, especially since the political data indicates that the United States is pushing to prolong the Ukrainian war and escalate tension with China ahead of the Communist Party conference scheduled in the coming weeks.

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