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Iranian nuclear: Biden remains firm against Tehran despite a new impasse

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Each side hopes the other will give in first. Unfortunately, I don’t think either side is ready to back down, so there’s a real risk of failure.told AFP Ali Vaez, of the International Crisis Group conflict prevention organization.

The negotiations opened a year ago in Vienna to resuscitate this 2015 agreement supposed to prevent Iran from acquiring the atomic bomb are again deadlocked, far from the hope displayed a few weeks ago. The emissaries have left the Austrian capital since March 11.

However, a draft compromise is on the table, after resolution of almost all the thorny points.

Under the presidency of Donald Trump, the United States left the agreement in 2018, which the Republican billionaire considered insufficient, and reinstated their economic sanctions against Tehran which, in response, freed itself from the main limitations imposed on its nuclear activities. .

President Biden wants him to return to the agreement, provided that Iran renews with its commitments.

Is a compromise possible?

But a final obstacle blocks the talks: the Islamic Republic demands the withdrawal of the Revolutionary Guards, its elite army, from the American blacklist of foreign terrorist organizations.

The Iranians argue that she was listed there by Donald Trump to bolster his maximum pressure after the release of the 2015 agreement, also known by its English acronym JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action). But the Americans reply that this is a subject unrelated to the nuclear issue.

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If Iran wants the lifting of sanctions beyond that provided by the JCPOA, it must address our concerns beyond the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Actionand negotiate on these issues with good faith and reciprocitysaid Monday the spokesman of the American diplomacy Ned Price, seeming to oppose an end of inadmissibility on this subject within the framework of the current discussions.

The warning is somewhat cryptic, as the US government refuses to negotiate in public and therefore to decide clearly on the fate of the Guardians.

But he confirms a hardening of the Biden administration, after an internal debate between its diplomatic fringe allied with part of the military, favorable to a gesture on the Revolutionary Guards on the grounds that the inscription on the blacklist only has few concrete implications, and the political wing of the White House which fears criticism from the Republicans before the legislative elections in November.

Questioned at the beginning of April, the American Secretary of State Antony Blinken had given a first indication by affirming that the Guardians were indeed, in his eyes a terrorist organization. I am not extremely optimistic about the chances of reaching an agreementhe had slipped on the NBC channel.

The Iranian file, a dilemma for Joe Biden

An influential columnist washington postDavid Ignatius, then reported that Joe Biden was preparing to rule out the organization’s removal from the blacklist.

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I don’t think the final decision is made, but the president is clearly leaning in that direction.says Ali Vaez.

The latter hopes, without having too many illusions that an intermediate solution can still be found, such as whitewashing the Guardians while keeping their branch responsible for external operations, the Quds Force, on the blacklist.

But privately, US officials are suggesting that those compromises are no longer on the table.

Ali Vaez recognizes that any gesture in the direction of Iran on this sensitive issue would be used by opponents and critics of the Biden administration to tear it down by denouncing its weakness in the face of this sworn enemy of the United States.

Especially since the Revolutionary Guards, support of other pet peeves of Washington such as the Lebanese Hezbollah, the Yemeni Houthis or even certain Iraqi militias, are considered responsible for numerous attacks against American soldiers or interests in the Middle East. And several elected officials within the president’s Democratic camp are also opposed to their removal from the blacklist.

Joe Biden does not want to pay the political price of such a decision, regrets Ali Vaez, who warns however that a failure of the negotiations will also have a high political cost. Republicans will accuse him of allowing Iran to be a state on the brink of possessing nuclear weaponspredicts this expert.

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