Dhe talks in Vienna about a return to the nuclear agreement Iran have reached a dead end for the time being. The largely negotiated text, which has been available since the beginning of August, has been provided with new conditions by the Iranian side, which both the United States and Western European negotiators have rejected as unacceptable. There is no way in sight to maneuver out of this muddled situation.
The regime in Tehran showed no sign of giving in over the weekend, quite the opposite. A critical statement by the E-3 group (Germany, France, Great Britain) was dismissed as "unconstructive". In addition, there are America the elections to Congress. This not only deprives the government of President Joe Biden of political leeway for any concessions, but also blocks legislative options, even if an agreement were to be reached in the short term.
However, the statements made by all sides leave open the possibility of making another attempt at a later date to revive the action plan agreed in 2015 (known as the JCPOA). Its purpose was the Iranian nuclear program must be strictly monitored and limited so that military use of the enriched uranium can be ruled out. In exchange, the sanctions imposed on secret and suspicious Iranian nuclear activities from before 2002 should be lifted. Under former American President Donald Trump, however, the United States abandoned the agreements of the JCPOA and its bodies and unilaterally created a dense sanctions network. Iran then resumed its nuclear program with increasing intensity.
Iran wants to cover up earlier work on a nuclear bomb?
According to the latest report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) the country now has large stocks of enriched uranium, including more than 55 kilograms with a purity of around 60 percent. That is more than enough to build an atomic bomb after a further enrichment step to 90 percent. While the regime in Tehran has always maintained that its nuclear program is for purely peaceful purposes, such high levels of enrichment and quantity are not required for energy or other civilian purposes. In addition, Iran has significantly restricted cooperation with the IAEA. According to the report, the Vienna-based organization, which is part of the UN family, has had no insight into the production of new centrifuges used to enrich uranium for three months.
However, Iran is not only restricting the close monitoring of its nuclear program agreed in the JCPOA. For months it has also been violating elementary obligations that it has as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty by giving no or “technically not credible” answers to new questions from the IAEA about previous nuclear activities (from before 2002), as IAEA boss Rafael Grossi in write a separate report. These activities point to earlier attempts at a nuclear detonator – so admitting them would be a factual admission by Iran that its claim that it never worked on a nuclear bomb was a lie.