Iranian commentators have been expressing concern about the impact of the Ukraine-Russia crisis on Iran's nuclear negotiations with world powers in Vienna.
Mohsen Jalilvand has said in an interview with Aftab News website that Iran might fall victim to the Ukrainian developments and stressed that the only way to prevent this is holding direct talks with the United States rather than counting on Russia as a mediator between Tehran and Washington. Meanwhile, Jalilvand warned that Russia might take advantage of the situation.
The commentator agreed with Aftab News that a Russian attack on Ukraine seems to be inevitable and such an attack can leave a destructive impact on the Islamic Republic's diplomacy in Vienna. He said that Belarus, China and Iran support Russia in the conflict with Ukraine.
Jalilvand said that a war in Ukraine will lead to the total collapse of the negotiations in Vienna. He added that Russia might also use the Iran card in Vienna adding that "Russia might sell Iran out for concessions."
Mohsen Jalilvand, Middle East analyst in Tehran.
Meanwhile, Foreign Policy Commentator and former diplomat Kourosh Ahmadi said in an interview with Entekhab news website that the United States might soften its position in the Vienna negotiations to have more time to focus on the possibility of a Russian attack on Ukraine.
But he disagreed with Jalilvand on how far a Russian attack can impede talks in Vienna. He said the impact of the Ukrainian crisis on the nuclear negotiations is likely to be minimal and lead to minor disruptions and delays. He added that both the United States and Russia have said before that they have shared interests in the revival of the JCPOA.
Ahmadi reminded that the 2014 occupation of the Crimea took place in the middle of Iran's nuclear negotiations with the P5+1. But the overall impact on the negotiations was minimal. "Whatever Moscow's position, it cannot have a determining impact on the nuclear talks.," Ahmadi said.
Ahmadi said that it is unlikely that the Ukrainian crisis would lead to an all-out classic war. "It is more likely to be a limited operation like what happened in 2014, and not like the occupation of Afghanistan in 1979," he said.
Furthermore, he doubted that Iran would openly support such an attack, reminding that Tehran has not endorsed the 2014 Russian occupation of the Crimea.
He added that "if Iran and America have the political will to come to an agreement, other JCPOA member states can only be facilitators. Otherwise, they will be marginalized. On the other hand, Russia cannot afford not to be part of a possible agreement in Vienna." Ahmadi added that during the past three months Russia has always tried to moderate Iran's positions in Vienna.
In another development, reformist website Zeitoon quoted the former head of the Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Relations committee Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh as saying that the Russians are using Iran as a “barrier” in their confrontation with the West over Ukraine.
Falahatpisheh said: "Based on its interests, Russia is using Iran as a barrier in its confrontation with the United States. Moscow is likely to sell the JCPOA for Ukraine. However, Iranian officials wrongly believe that China and Russia are Iran's strategic allies. This comes while strategic alliance does not mean anything in today's world."