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Nuclear: opening of Washington as negotiations with Iran come to an end

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Without an official announcement, Joe Biden’s government reinstated key waivers that shielded foreign countries and companies involved in non-military nuclear projects from the threat of US sanctions, but which had been rolled back under President Donald Trump.

We have decided to reinstate a sanctions waiver to allow external participation in order to guarantee the non-proliferationbecause of growing concerns created by the continuous development of Iranian nuclear activities, confirmed on Friday a senior American official interviewed by theFrance Media Agency.

The Iranian flag flying in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The nuclear deal offered Tehran relief from international sanctions against it in exchange for guarantees that Iran is not seeking nuclear weapons.

Photo: Reuters/Leonhard Foeger

This decision should also allow facilitate from technical discussions which are necessary in the final weeks of the talkshe added, establishing a direct link with the negotiations which must resume in the coming days with Tehran and the other major powers.

The waiver itself would be key to ensuring Iran’s prompt compliance with its nuclear commitments in the event of a compromise in Vienna, where the negotiations are being held, he added.

But even without an agreement in the Austrian capital, these technical discussions will still contribute to fulfilling our non-proliferation objectiveshe assured.

However, Washington ensures that it this is not a concession to Iran nor of one signal that we are close to reaching an agreement to save the 2015 agreement supposed to prevent Iran from acquiring the atomic bomb.

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We have not granted Iran sanctions relief and we will not until Tehran meets its commitments under the JCPOA. [acronyme anglais de l’accord, NDLR]State Department spokesman Ned Price later tweeted.

By Removing Waivers, Trump Removed Safeguards

Donald Trump shows a presidential executive order with his signature.

Donald Trump had signed a presidential order to begin reinstating US sanctions linked to the Iranian regime’s nuclear program (archives).

Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Donald Trump, who in 2018 withdrew the United States from this agreement and restored most of the American economic sanctions against Tehran as part of a campaign of maximum pressurehad first regularly extended these derogations, also invoking the need to reduce the risk of proliferation.

But in May 2020, when he failed to bend the Islamic Republic to obtain a best dealhis government ended up removing these derogations as well.

Europeans had deeply regretted this decision, considering that it suppressed guarantees on nature peaceful of the Iranian program.

The derogations concern in particular the Tehran reactor intended for research, as well as the heavy water reactor of Arak, modified under the control of the international community in such a way as to make it impossible to produce plutonium for military use.

In response to US sanctions since 2018, the Iranian authorities have gradually freed themselves from the restrictions imposed by the agreement on their nuclear activities, so much so that they are now, according to experts, only a few weeks away from have enough fissile material to make an atomic weapon.

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A good sign

Men stand at an exhibition of Iran's nuclear work.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani (second from right) listens to the presentation of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization head Ali Akbar Salehi on April 10, 2021.

Photo: Associated Press

President Biden wants to revert to the 2015 deal to ensure that Iranian activities remain strictly civil and peaceful, provided Iran also returns to its commitments.

According to Barbara Slavin, Iran specialist at the Atlantic Council think tank, the return of derogations is a condition precedent to the reinstatement of the agreement and therefore a good signal that it is possible to achieve this.

The negotiations underway since last spring in Vienna aim to find a compromise on this mutual return. The talks, coordinated by the European Union, are taking place between the Iranians and the other signatory countries to the agreement (Germany, China, France, the United Kingdom and Russia), with only indirect participation from the Americans.

After months of deadlock, progress has been made in recent weeks.

Discussions were suspended last week and are due to resume in the coming days. It’s time for political decisions to reach an agreement, warned several negotiators, stressing that only a handful of weeks remained to avoid a failure of diplomacy and the recourse by Washington or Israel to other options, including military ones, which could cause tensions to escalate.

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