A former Iranian diplomat says the 2015 nuclear deal is now "a forgotten issue," and "it is not clear whether Iran and the United States will return to that deal."
Jalal Sadatian speaking to Fararu website in Tehran, explained that "nonetheless, from a legal point of view, the contents of the 2015 nuclear deal, also called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), have cast a shadow on Iran's ties with the United States and Europe."
Sadatian further explained that the reason for shifting from the JCPOA to a reported interim agreement is that although Iran stood by its commitment to that deal for a long time, it finally reacted after the Europeans failed to fulfil their obligations after former US President Donald Trump pulled out of the agreement in 2018.
Those reactions included boosting uranium enrichment and using advanced centrifuges that violated the terms of the JCPOA. The Western view, Sadatian said, is that Iran is now very close to the technological stage where it could potentially make a nuclear bomb.
Regarding recent developments, UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) determined that Tehran had effectively reduced its enrichment pace, preventing Iran's nuclear case from being sent to the UN Security Council and opening the door to a potential interim agreement. As part of a prisoner swap deal, the United States agreed to release nearly $9 billion of Iran's funds blocked in Iraq and South Korea because of sanctions.
Sadatian noted that US President Joe Biden is cautious about a deal with Iran due to its potential implications for his position in the US elections. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that the United States will disclose any details about a possible agreement with Iran. He added that if the United States ever releases information about such a deal, it would likely be after the US elections.
Sadatian also mentioned that even if secret talks are ongoing between the two sides, it is challenging to gain early insight into their contents. However, it is known that a prisoner swap and relaxation of sanctions on Iran's oil sales are part of the deal.
The former diplomat also pointed out that Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states welcome a deal between Tehran and Washington as it would reduce tensions in the region, although currently, there are no indications of positive attitudes from Arab states, Russia, or China toward an interim deal.
Meanwhile, in another interview with Fararu, former Iranian diplomat Qasem Mohebali said that the Arab states do not have common interests with Russia and China and the Europeans do not want another crisis after the Ukraine war and complications in energy supplies. The Europeans, he said, want Iran's nuclear program to come to a halt.
Mohebali explained the dynamics between Tehran and Washington is a "freeze for freeze deal," while also reminding that the future of Iran-US ties is unpredictable. "If Democrats win the US election and the Ukraine war ends the situation will be absolutely different from a scenario in which the Republicans win the elections, and the Ukraine war continues."
He also noted that Iran's nuclear problem has become a chronic issue, with the JCPOA's eight-year term having ended. Resolution 2231 remains valid until 2025, and Mohebali suggested that sanctions against Iran are unlikely to be fully lifted. However, some sanctions may change, and the United States might grant Iran partial waivers as the situation warrants, as indicated by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.