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World Britain and France must give Iran a deadline

13:27  05 december  2021
13:27  05 december  2021 Source:   washingtonexaminer.com

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Negotiations toward restoring the 2015 Iran nuclear accord are going nowhere fast.

  Britain and France must give Iran a deadline © Provided by Washington Examiner

If that's going to change, British and French diplomats will have to give Iran a deadline to get serious about compromising or face a massively escalated sanctions regime.

The current strategy borders on a farce.

European diplomats left newly commenced talks in Vienna on Friday, lamenting Iran's disdain for compromise. Delayed for months by Iranian elections and the subsequent coronation of hard-liner President Ebrahim Raisi, the Vienna talks were supposed to facilitate a rapid restoration of the nuclear deal.

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It's not happening.

Instead, British, French, and German diplomats told journalist Barak Ravid that "Iran is backtracking on almost all of the difficult compromises reached in months of tough negotiations and is demanding substantial changes to the text." Iran is apparently also demanding immediate sanctions relief in return for its reduced compliance with enrichment caps and inspection protocols. Evincing Tehran's confidence, senior cleric Ahmad Khatami used his Friday prayer sermon to insist that Iran "will accept nothing but the removal of all cruel and oppressive sanctions imposed against the country."

Put another way, negotiations are at a dead end.

It is obvious that Iran is playing for time. Re-centered with its most hard-liner faction, the revolutionary regime is enriching uranium at a scale and purity far beyond the proscribed limits of the 2015 accord. Veiled as satellite research, Iranian ballistic missile development also continues unabated. Making matters worse, it is highly likely that Iran is covertly developing nuclear warhead and delivery vehicle technology. Oh, and Iran is now warning that unless it gets its way in Vienna, it will start enriching uranium to weapons-grade purity. At that point, choices for the West and for Israel will get very unpleasant. And Mohammed bin Salman will be watching very carefully from Saudi Arabia, ready to call in Pakistan to give him a Sunni nuclear bomb.

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With the United States sitting on the sidelines, Britain and France need to give diplomacy a booster shot. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron should make clear to Iran that it has a matter of weeks, perhaps three weeks, to reach an accord toward a restored nuclear agreement. They should warn that absent that timely accord, wide-ranging sanctions will be imposed on Iran. China and Russia are unlikely to agree to new sanctions, but if Johnson and Macron lead, new German Chancellor Olaf Scholz may follow.

While Iran's leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appears predisposed to negotiating hardball, his decrepit economy cannot easily withstand expanded sanctions. The regime is struggling to pay even its most loyal and nominally revered supporters: the families of martyrs. Were the U.S. and European Union to lock Iran out of Western financial sectors and further restrict Iran's export market, Khamenei would face the risk of resumed social disorder. In that scenario, the regime's need to survive would exist in mutual exclusivity with its desire to extract a one-sided agreement.

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If they care about salvaging diplomacy, it's time for Britain and France to play hardball.

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Tags: Opinion, Beltway Confidential, Foreign Policy, National Security, Iran, Iran Nuclear Program, Iran Nuclear Deal, Nuclear Weapons, Israel, Ali Khamenei, Ebrahim Raisi

Original Author: Tom Rogan

Original Location: Britain and France must give Iran a deadline

Iran torches tentative plans to restore nuclear deal in abortive return to Vienna talks .
A seventh round of negotiations to rehabilitate the 2015 Iran nuclear deal floundered this week after the regime renounced the tentative agreements struck over the previous six rounds of meetings. © Provided by Washington Examiner “Iran, right now, does not seem to be serious about doing what's necessary to return to compliance, which is why we ended this round of talks,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday during the Reuters NEXT Virtual Global Conference. “We will see if Iran has any interest in engaging seriously, but the window is very, very tight.” U.S.

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