The fate of the nuclear deal is in Washington’s hands and it should be “free of Zionist pressures,” Iran's official government news website IRNA said Tuesday.
In an unsigned article, IRNA told it readers that Iran’s strategy in the nuclear talks, with President Ebrahim Raisi’s team in charge, is not to budge in the face of “media pressures” and “fake deadlines” that try to “to put the ball in Tehran’s court.”
After Iran stopped the nuclear talks for five months in 2021 and resumed it on November 29, Western negotiators began mentioning deadlines to urge Iran not to further delay the negotiations. But Tehran in early December 2021 said it would not accept “artificial deadlines”. In successive rounds of talks, US and European negotiators announced deadlines numerous times but the talks have dragged on for 17 months since they started in April last year.
Critics say that Western inaction after each passing deadline assured Tehran that it can play for time and in the meantime expand its nuclear program, both as a bargaining chip and in case talks failed, to further build on its progress. Iran has accumulated tens of kilos of 60-percent enriched uranium that it can further process for weapons-grade fissile material in a matter of weeks.
In August, as signs emerged that the Vienna talks might be making a breakthrough, Israel intensified its opposition to the draft agreement, arguing that it is a weaker deal than the original 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and began strongly lobbying the Biden Administration against making dangerous concessions to Tehran.
The Israeli statements and diplomatic steps have visibly angered Tehran. The IRNA article lists what Israeli leaders have said in recent days.
IRNA slamming Israeli pressures on the White House, acknowledged that US midterm elections in November make Biden’s job even more difficult.
It also said that given Iran’s reduction of its JCPOA commitments since early 2021 “decision making for the White House has become harder than ever...”
After Biden signaled his determination to return to the JCPOA in the fall of 2020, Iran passed a law December of that year to reduce its commitments and to increase enrichment to 20 percent. In February 2021, it opted for 60-percent enrichment, which it has continued since.
After weeks of Iranian officials and media highlighting Europe’s energy crisis this winter and hints that a nuclear deal can help alleviate the situation, IRNA said the obvious on Tuesday, that Iran does not have the ability to help Europe with natural gas. It then went on to claim that Iran would never use energy as a lever of pressure. To prove its point the website quoted Mohammad Marandi, a senior official in the negotiating team, as saying that Iran has never used oil and gas as a lever for pressure. However, he has also been touting the approaching winter and Europe’s energy crisis, alongside Iran’s hardline media such as the Fars news website.
IRNA also reiterated Iran’s demand that the a probe by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) into Iran’s pre-2003 undeclared nuclear activities should be closed before a deal is reached.