Iran's delegation at the Vienna nuclear talks in November 2021

Media In Iran Say JCPOA Is Dead, But US May Still Get Its Hostages

Wednesday, 06/07/2023

Khorasan newspaper, a daily linked to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's office, has claimed Iran is willing to accept some changes in the 2015 JCPOA nuclear agreement.

The low-key daily's report would have not been noticed much if was not re-printed by Tehran's leading economic daily Donya-ye Eqtesad, which opined that Tehran is likely to accept new terms in the nuclear agreement to which the United States and Iran are the most important parties.

A change in the JCPOA has been suggested by the United States as its precondition for returning to the talks with Iran over its controversial nuclear program. The United States demands some regional defense and security issues to be included in the new agreement nicknamed by the media as JCPOA Plus.

After 18 months of talks to revive the JCPOA came to a halt in September, the Biden administration has been saying it is no longer focused on the issue and has numerated a few conditions Iran must meet.

According to Khorasan, these issues include Iran's cooperation with Russia in the war against Ukraine. However, the daily noted that there are still no signs to indicate that the United States is willing to return to talks as both US Democrats and Republicans see Iran as "a dangerous country that should come under control, and the United States should make sure to prevent Tehran's access to nuclear weapons.

Siamak Namazi, Emad Shargi, and Morad Tahbaz

Nonetheless, Khorasan wrote that the Americans have said repeatedly an agreement with Iran is feasible. This comes while Iran has insisted it is willing to return to the 2015 agreement without any changes. The daily, however, added, presumably based on its access to insider information, that Iran is now prepared to accept some changes in the JCPOA if Washington offers guarantees about its commitment to the new agreement.

Khorasan added that regardless of Tehran's readiness to enter a new agreement, the two countries have big differences over non-nuclear issues the United States wishes to include in the document.

Meanwhile, Entekhab news website, which is close to Iran's moderates and the members of Iran's previous administration, quoted former diplomat Javid Ghorbanoghlou as saying that the government of President Ebrahim Raisi has missed the opportunity to revive the JCPOA because of its illogical slogans.

Ghorbanoghlou said that the hardliner members of the Raisi administration previously branded the JCPOA as a "disgrace" but now they wish to revive the same agreement. He added that currently, the United States is not interested in reviving the JCPOA and negotiating with Iran is not among its priorities.

He explained that recent contacts between the US and Iranian officials with the mediation of top Omani officials were merely meant to secure the release of US prisoners [meaning hostages] in Iran, an issue which has key significance for President Joe Biden ahead of the US elections.

Ghorbanoghlou said: Biden needs a victory in foreign policy following the fiasco in Afghanistan and the strategic surprises in Ukraine. Under the circumstances, releasing the prisoners has become a priority for Biden particularly after Belgium and other countries managed to get their imprisoned nationals out of Iran in recent weeks.

The former diplomat said although US efforts have not been successful so far, he is confident some of the US prisoners in Iran will be released soon as mediations are likely to become fruitful.

More News