Pundits in Iran differ on the prospects of a nuclear deal, as a former diplomat warns that the current stalemate is leading Iran and Israel to a final conflict.

Former diplomat Fereydoun Majlesi offered Etemad Online a pessimistic assessment on Sunday [June 5]. "There is no hope in the nuclear negotiations to revive the JCPOA," he said, adding that everything is working against Iran and that Israel utterly threatens Tehran with air strikes on its nuclear sites.

Majlesi reminded that Israel has said war against the Islamic Republic will no longer remain limited to Israel and the areas at its borders and from now on it will strike the very country where threats emanate from.

In the meantime, Etemad Online observed that US State Department Spokesman Ned Price has said that an agreement might be within reach only if Iran gives up its maximalist positions. This is while Tehran repeats its demands and Iran watchers predict hard days ahead for Tehran.

Majlesi told Etemad Online that those responsible for the negotiations are taking it toward a "final solution" in which there is no hope for any positive result from the negotiations. "The group who wishes for the annihilation of Israel through jihad appear to be approaching a serious operational point," Majlesi said. He reiterated that the final solution means war and bloodshed.

A former Iranian diplomat Fereydoun Majlesi

On the other hand, former lawmaker Mehrdad Lahouti says that there is a will in the Iranian government to make the negotiations fruitful and to lift the sanctions. Lahouti said he believes the talks will bear fruit as Iran is determined to secure an agreement with the United States, and President Joe Biden badly needs the agreement while Europeans can save face by being involved in a deal that reduces tension.

Lahouti told Nameh News that unlike what most people believe, the final decision-maker in Iran is not the Raisi Administration. He added that even under former president Hassan Rouhani in 2015, it was the “political order” that supported the deal and made sure that it was completed.

"Political order" is a jargon used by Islamic Republic officials to refer to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. "That was how the Iranian parliament managed to approve the deal [JCPOA] within 20 minutes," Lahouti maintained, adding that "If it was not for approval from the higher up, the Guardian Council would have stopped the ratification."

Lahouti's remarks appear even more optimistic than they look, as some hardliners are adamant to make sure that there will be no agreement. Hossein Shariatmadari, the editor of hardline daily Kayhan, which is linked to Khamenei’s office, told Didban Iran website that Iran should ban the IAEA inspectors' visit to its nuclear sites.

He added that "If Iran wanted it could have made nuclear weapons and the IAEA, the United States and Europe would have not been able to do a damn thing." He said: "We expect Iranian officials to ban IAEA inspectors visit to our sensitive nuclear and security sites in order to blind the eyes of the CIA and Mossad."

Shariatmadari claimed that "UNSC resolutions against Iran will have no value and this is something the United States and the three European states that have suggested to refer Iran's case to the Security Council know very well."

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