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Will 2022 Bring A Revived Iran Nuclear Deal — Or A Hard-Line Plan B?

Will 2022 Bring A Revived Iran Nuclear Deal — Or A Hard-Line Plan B?,  Radio Free Europe 31 Dec 21, The year 2022 could see an escalation of tensions between Iran and the United States if nuclear talks aimed at reviving the stalled 2015 nuclear deal collapse.

While analyst believe an agreement is still reachable as ongoing negotiations are entered into the new calendar, the United States and EU countries have warned that there are only “weeks” left to salvage the agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA).

The landmark accord, which significantly limited Tehran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief, unraveled after 2018 when then-U.S. President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the deal and reimposed crippling economic sanctions on Iran………………

Ali Vaez, director of the Iran Project at the International Crisis Group, says there is still a “narrow pathway” for mutual compliance with the 2015 deal, adding that it requires flexibility on both sides and a pragmatic approach by Tehran…………

Experts say the alternatives to the nuclear deal are not attractive.

“None of the alternatives are good, which is, of course, why the West has pushed to revive the deal. But Iran is leaving it little choice,” Henry Rome, a senior Iran analyst at the Eurasia Group in Washington, told RFE/RL. “The most likely no-deal scenario involves a year of escalation with more Iranian nuclear progress, American and European economic sanctions, Israeli and American military threats, and popular protest and economic stagnation in Iran.”

“The U.S. is likely to pull the plug and switch to a much more coercive approach by the end of January, unless either talks make good progress or Iran’s nuclear progress slows down,” Vaez said.

A more forceful approach could include attempts by the United States to cut off Iran’s oil exports to China, which have continued despite U.S. sanctions that prevent Iran from selling its oil, a main source of revenue for the country. Such oil sales, which according to figures by the commodity analytics firm Kpler increased to almost 18 million barrels in November, have helped Tehran survive under sanctions that have crippled its economy.

There have also been talks about an interim deal under which Tehran would suspend its sensitive nuclear activities in exchange of some economic relief. Such an agreement, similar to the approach employed in working out the original JCPOA, could stave off an immediate nuclear crisis and create time and space for a future deal.

But as analyst Rome notes, Tehran is unlikely to go that route for now.

“I am doubtful there will be an interim deal next year,” Rome said. “If Iran is not keen on the economic benefits of the full JCPOA, it’s not clear why it would settle for lesser benefits under a smaller deal.”……………………… https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-nuclear-talks-2022-options/31634579.html

January 1, 2022 - Posted by | Iran, politics international

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