An Iranian foreign policy pundit says the United States will return to the nuclear talks despite current lack of Western desire to continue negotiations.

The former head of parliament’s (Majles) foreign relations and national security committee Heshmatolah Falahatpisheh told Nameh News in Tehran January 3 that "The United States will return to the JCPOA, but first, Iran needs to do four things: Settling domestic differences and reducing tensions, bringing about relative stability to the country's economy, making those who prevented the revival of the deal during the past two years accountable, and sending a new team to continue the negotiations."

Since negotiations to revive the 2015 nuclear deal or JCPOA broke down in September, the Biden administration and its European allies have put the talks on the backburner and even President Joe Biden said in early November that “JCPOA is dead.”

According to Nameh News, Falahatpisheh is one of those politicians who believe diplomacy should be given yet another chance before pronouncing the JCPOA dead. Falahatpisheh reiterated that Europe and the US will certainly return to negotiations in 2023 and Iran should welcome this.

Iranian conservative politician Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh

Falahatpisheh said whatever that has been done so far to save the JCPOA were tactical moves rather than strategic changes, adding that both the United States and Europe are trying to weaken Iran's bargaining power.

Referring to the ongoing uprising in Iran, Falahatpisheh said, the United States and Europe assume that the protests have weakened Iran's bargaining power. That is why they pretend that they do not need to continue negotiations. On the other hand, the positions of anti-JCPOA political figures in Iran contribute to the Western apathy for more talks.

"Under the current situation, it is better for those who always opposed the JCPOA to stop further weakening Iran's diplomacy by commenting on the issue," Falahatpisheh said. He added that "Iran should change its nuclear negotiators and get rid of those who go to the negotiations to disrupt previous agreements rather than reaching a deal."

Falahatpisheh’s was clearly referring to Ali Bagheri-Kani, the chief Iranian negotiator, who is a protégé of Saeed Jalili, a hardliner anti-West ideologue.

Saeed Jalili with President Ebrahim Raisi in August 2021

In another development, Jalili, one of the staunch opponents of an agreement with the United States, has accused former President Hassan Rouhani of “tying Iran economic development to the JCPOA” and contributing to the current crisis. Jalili and other hardliners know that they being blames for the continuation of US sanctions by preventing a nuclear deal and are twisting facts to blame others.

Jalili, who is Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's representative to Iran's Supreme National Security Council, further charged that "the enemy started instigating major protests in Iran and began to make Iran insecure after it found out that its immense pressure on the country's economy will not work." He called the JCPOA "an imaginary" achievement for the previous government.

Meanwhile, hardline lawmaker Ahmad Rastineh advised Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi to "escape the trap of the JCPOA," and called the 2015 nuclear deal "A deceit by the United States."

Repeating a fallacy Iranian ultraconservatives have been trumpeting about the US allegedly sanctioning the export of medicines to Iran, Rastineh said: "When they sanction medicine sales to Iran, how can we expect them to recognize the rights of this oppressed nation." The lawmaker's comment is contrary to Iranian officials' statements denying US sanctions on medicine.

Rastineh charged, "every time US officials talk about starting or stopping the negotiations, in fact, they wish to disrupt Iran's economy and hurt its currency."

In fact, economists and even many regime insiders say that in the absence of an agreement with the West people are sending tens of billions of dollars abroad and no one is investing in the economy.

News (44\')
Economics Daily
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