A top Iranian spokesman, Mohammad Marandi, re-affirmed on Sunday that Tehran has received considerable concessions from Washington in the Vnuclear talks.
In an interview with Jameh Jam newspaper published by Iran’s state broadcaster, IRIB, Marandi said that “The achievements of the Islamic Republic in the nuclear talks in the past one month were exceptional.”
A leaked report from Tehran on Friday, August 19, said that Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri-Kani had given local reporters in a closed-door briefing a list of “concessions” obtained from the United States.
These included exempting a range of Iranian government-linked entities from sanctions imposed for their role in Iran’s terror-related activities, and a pledge not to sanction any entity for links with the Revolutionary Guard.
Marandi seemed to confirm Bagheri-Kani’s reported remarks in general terms. “We were able to achieve huge progress in all areas, including guarantees, verification and sanctions issues, as well as issues related to the IAEA.”
The US-born Iranian official mentioned two reasons for this success. First he claimed that Iran resisted US sanctions by relying on its own means, and second, the negotiating team was “patient” and did not rush into a deal, until the other side relented.
”These achievements, of course, were the result of the new negotiating team paying attention to the point that if we had concluded an agreement in haste, we had to pay the price for it later,” Marandi claimed.
In a sense, his point seems to be supported by the fact that Tehran has dragged out the Vienna negotiations from June 2021 to the present. Critics of the Biden Administration’s negotiating tactics repeatedly pointed out that Iran is buying time and wearing down the US side, and a definite deadline should be set, but the West failed to enforce its own warnings to Tehran on 11 separate occasions.
Another possible negotiating failure was what Marandi called resistance against sanctions. Iran’s economy, which was already in crisis last year, experienced more shocks and a dismal performance in 2022, but it was able to bear the burden because of higher oil exports since the President Joe Biden took office.
The President’s early signal that he was ready to return to the 2015 nuclear deal, the JCPOA, emboldened China to buy more oil from Iran. Exports jumped from around 250,000 barrels per day in 2019 to close to one million bpd in January 2022.
“This increased our capacity in the nuclear talks and gradually changed the mind of the other side, about the impact of economic pressures and sanctions on the atmosphere of the negotiations,” Marandi insisted.
Another factor reassuring Iran’s rulers that they could withstand economic pressure was their willingness to use military force against unrest by an impoverished population. This scenario, which has played out repeatedly since 2017 in Iran, was once again demonstrated during protests in May.
Marandi acknowledged that a nuclear deal is not yet final but expressed confidence that the United States will play by Iran’s tune.
”Of course, final steps remain, and results should be obtained, but evidence shows America’s response is clear and they know that during these final steps they should cooperate with the Islamic Republic and our negotiating team.”