Nuclear Negotiations: Iran’s Steadfastness Paying Off
Because of Iran’s insistence on rescinding Trump’s decision, the US, apparently, wants now to show Iran its “flexibility".
Two significant developments took place recently, indicating that the deadlock in the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the Western powers is about to end.
On March 16th, Britain has paid a historic debt owed to Iran, UK’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in a statement. Iranian state media confirmed that the £400 MM debt the UK has owed Iran since 1979 has been settled.
On the same day, March 16, news was leaked that the US is currently considering removing Iran's Revolution Guard Corps from its "terror blacklist". Axios reported that the Biden Administration will be requesting, in return, a public commitment from Iran to de-escalation in the region, according to Israeli and US sources.
Obviously, these two developments have been worked out in full coordination between the US and UK, considering their special historical relationship. The two Western powers are determined to go the extra mile and meet Iran’s demands and conditions in exchange for returning to the full implementation of the 2015 JCPOA deal, which was signed during the Obama time. It is true that the debt UK owes to Iran is a bilateral issue that has nothing to do with the nuclear deal, but the timing for settling this four-decade-long issue is definitely meaningful. Likewise, Trump’s decision to insert Iran’s IRGC into the terrorist organizations' blacklist was a matter outside the boundaries of the nuclear deal. But because of Iran’s insistence on rescinding Trump’s decision, the US, apparently, wants to show Iran its “flexibility” about the matter by leaking the news about its “reconsideration”.
Since Biden assumed office 15 months ago, bringing Iran back to full compliance with the deal was top among his priorities. High-level sources from Biden’s national security circles said, last year, that Trump’s decision to pull out of the deal in 2018, unilaterally, was “catastrophic” and lacked a strategic vision, as it only resulted in Iran improving its nuclear capabilities.
But it all comes to Iran’s steadfastness and heroic resistance to the US actions. Donald Trump didn’t anticipate that Iran could endure the “harshest sanctions in history” that he applied to the Islamic Republic. He actually threatened everybody in the world, utilizing America’s financial might, of severe consequences for having any dealings with Iran. “Zero oil exports," Trump explained, was his goal, thus depriving Iran of its national wealth. He was expecting one of two outcomes for his “maximum pressure” policy; Iran’s surrender, or collapse!
Well, none of that happened. Iran decided to resist. Appeasing Trump was not an option to be considered by the Iranian leadership. History lessons tell that appeasing the enemy leads to nowhere, with every concession made leading to another more serious concession, and the enemy would never be satisfied unless the white flag is raised. Iran opted for what it called “the resistance economy” which focuses on national creativity, self-reliance, and minimizing dependence on oil revenues to the limit. The policy of “resistance economy” was accompanied by a policy of “calculated escalation” in its nuclear activities to show the West what is at risk because of Trump’s foolish decision.
Iran’s strategy worked out perfectly. By 2019, one year after Trump’s decision, Iran was able to absorb the impact of Trump’s sanctions and its economy got back on track and started to stabilize. Trump’s bet on internal rift failed and a stronger sense of national unity inside Iran prevailed.
With this background, Iran feels itself stronger than ever before re-starting its negotiations with America about renewing the 2015 nuclear deal. There were Iran’s terms and conditions that were on the table. In all likelihood, Iran was going to get even a better deal than the 2015 accord. Many indications pointed out to America’s acceptance, in principle, of Iran’s demand of lifting all the sanctions that Trump has imposed. Discussions are now about Iran’s EXTRA demands of guarantees that America would not withdraw any more from any agreement AGAIN.
Back to the recent leaks about the US considering abolishing Trump’s decision regarding Iran’s IRGC, some analysts say it has something to do with the recent military operation in Ukraine. That could be true. An additional incentive for the US to conclude a new deal with Iran will be to free the Iranian oil exports. America and the West are desperate for more oil resources to be available in the world market, thus reducing the significance of Russia’s oil and gas resources. And, obviously, better relations with Iran would be an added value for America and the West, especially as their encounter with Russia, and potentially China, is escalating.
The renewal of the nuclear deal, most likely with better terms to Iran’s advantage, is looming and getting closer than ever before. If that happens, all credit has to go to Iran’s wise leadership and successive governments who not only managed to overcome the arrogant, malicious, and evil intentions and policies but also turned them into an opportunity for improving its strategic positioning and its overall situation.