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The JCPOA nuclear deal from the point of view of Iran

February 27, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

IAEA and Iran strike three-month deal over nuclear inspections

IAEA and Iran strike three-month deal over nuclear inspections

Agreement paves way for diplomatic talks between Tehran and the US over sanctions, Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor, Mon 22 Feb 2021   

The UN’s nuclear inspectorate has struck a three-month deal with Iran giving it sufficient continued access to verify nuclear activity in the country, opening the space for wider political and diplomatic talks between Tehran and the US.

Iran will go ahead with its threat to withdraw this week from the additional protocol, the agreement that gives inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) intrusive powers.

However, following a weekend of talks with officials in Tehran, the IAEA’s director general, Rafael Grossi, announced that he had struck what he described as “a temporary bilateral technical understanding” that will mitigate the impact of Iran’s withdrawal from the protocol, and give the IAEA confidence that it can continue to verify Iran’s nuclear activity.

Grossi added that the move “salvages the situation” and avoids the position of the inspectors “flying blind”. He said the agreement, from which either side can withdraw, gave space for wider diplomatic discussions between the US and Iran to go ahead.

He said the law suspending Iran from the additional protocol had been passed by its parliament and now “exists and is going to be applied. There is less access, let’s face it.”

However, Grossi made clear he felt the new bilateral agreement sufficiently mitigated the impact of the reduced inspections regime, so it was therefore worthwhile for his team’s verification work continuing, at least on a temporary basis. “This is a temporary solution that allows us to continue to give to the world the assurances of what is going on there in the hope that we can return to a fuller picture.”

The IAEA director general added that there would be no reduction in the number of inspectors, and that not all snap inspections would be banned.

Iranian officials have said the agreement will mean that the inspectors will only have 70% of the access they now enjoy, but Grossi declined to put a percentage on the loss of access.

The deal, released late on Sunday night, was met with an immediate backlash in Iran, where furious hardliners convened an emergency session of parliament to demand more details. Some claimed it effectively overrode the law passed by parliament two months ago cutting back on inspections.

Iran’s atomic energy association said it would continue to use cameras to record and maintain information at its nuclear sites for three months, but would retain the information exclusively. If the US sanctions are lifted completely within that period, Iran will provide this information to the IAEA, otherwise it will be deleted forever.

Grossi will have to report the details of his understanding to the other signatories of the nuclear deal, including France, Germany and the UK. All three had warned Iran of the serious consequences of withdrawing from the protocol, and they will need to be satisfied by the IAEA director on the value of the technical understanding.

All sides are involved in brinkmanship designed to bring about direct talks between the US and Iran leading to the US, on the one hand, lifting economic sanctions and returning to the deal, and Iran coming back into compliance with the agreement. Iran has not left the deal, but over the past year lessened its commitments on critical issues such as levels of uranium enrichment and the use of advanced centrifuges.

Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, said in an interview with the state-owned Press TV that Iran was waiting for action from the US, not promises, and said the cutback in inspections had been mandated by Iran’s parliament and could not be overridden until sanctions were lifted. “We need concrete actions, not words,” he said.

The US has offered to attend an informal diplomatic meeting hosted by the EU, also attended by Russia and China, the other signatories to the deal. The US state department has hinted that at this meeting the US would map out an offer on how sanctions and other economic restrictions could be lifted or suspended if Iran returned to compliance with the nuclear deal, including over uranium enrichment stocks and use of advanced centrifuges.

Zarif said Iran would need to know how, if the US returned to the deal, it would not simply walk out again. He said the issue of compensation for the $1tn (£710bn) damage inflicted on the Iranian economy would also have to be discussed.

Hardliners are demanding that any sanctions suspension would need to be verified, something that would prolong a complex process.

The Iranian parliament’s speaker, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, a likely candidate for president, suspended its normal business on Monday to examine the new agreement and MPs 221 to 6 to refer it to the judiciary. He said any side agreement with the IAEA had to be approved by parliament.

The foreign ministry spokesman, Saeed Khatibzadeh, insisted parliament had been sidestepped in the weekend agreement. The power struggle is not just critical to the prospect of talks with the US, but also how the Iranians may view the presidential elections.

The chairman of parliament’s national security committee, Mojtaba Zolnour, said “the government has no right to decide and act arbitrarily. This arrangement is an insult to parliament.”

February 23, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran lawmakers call for president’s prosecution over IAEA deal

Iran lawmakers call for president’s prosecution over IAEA deal
Motion passed on Monday signals the biggest rift in years between Iran’s moderate government and its hardline parliament. 
Aljazeera,  By Maziar Motamedi, 22 Feb 2021

Tehran, Iran – Hardline Iranian lawmakers say an agreement reached recently between the government and the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog is “illegal” and the president must be punished for it.

In a public vote on Monday, an overwhelming majority of lawmakers voted to send a report by the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission on the agreement reached with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to the judiciary for review.

The report asserts that the deal struck on Sunday between the IAEA and the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) constitutes a “clear violation” of a law passed by Parliament in December.

As per the law, the government of President Hassan Rouhani must stop the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol, which gives broad authorities to IAEA inspectors, from Tuesday.

In a statement, the AEOI said the implementation of the Additional Protocol will be completely halted from Tuesday, in accordance with the law, and no access will be given to the UN’s nuclear watchdog beyond those laid out in a principal safeguards agreement aimed at ensuring nuclear non-proliferation.

However, detractors have said the agreement reached after IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi visited Tehran violates the December law, in that Iran would unilaterally record the monitoring data the nuclear watchdog’s inspectors would normally be able to access under the Additional Protocol, but would not share the data.

The arrangement will remain in place for three months, at the end of which the data will be destroyed if all United States sanctions, imposed on Iran since 2018 after former President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, are not lifted.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the talks “resulted in a very significant diplomatic achievement and a very significant technical achievement … within the framework of the parliament’s binding law”.

Iran’s Supreme National Security Council also said in a statement on Monday the IAEA agreement falls in compliance with the parliament’s law.

‘President on the way to court!’

Instead of their scheduled work on the annual budget bill that had been delayed for months amid a spat with the government, they held a meeting behind closed doors to review the IAEA deal and drafted a motion to involve the judiciary.

Several lawmakers delivered fiery speeches in condemnation of the deal in a public session held afterwards.

But angry parliamentarians held a different view………………

Members of the assembly will meet Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei later on Monday,

February 23, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics | Leave a comment

Some Iranians and Israelis in full agreement on wanting to stop Iran nuclear deal

Hawks in Iran and Israel agree: Biden’s bid to salvage nuclear deal must not succeed, Guardian, Simon Tisdall     21 Feb 21 With elections looming in both states, and hardliners out to ensure the collapse of the 2015 deal, time is running short for the US president to save it

or sworn enemies, Iran and Israel have much in common. Both are regional powers, projecting their interests beyond their borders. Both are beholden, in different ways, to shifting US policy. Both have secretive nuclear programmes. And both are heading towards national elections – in Israel next month, in Iran in June – that could decide whether cold-hearted enmity turns into hot-blooded war.

The stand-off over Iran’s alleged attempts, which are always denied, to acquire atomic bomb-making capacity has gone on for so long that its dangers are often underestimated. Yet the coming days are crucial. Iran has set 21 February as a deadline for an easing of unilateral US sanctions. If it is ignored, Tehran is threatening to ban snap UN inspections of its nuclear facilities and further ramp up proscribed atomic activities……….

The escalating crisis has brought a flurry of diplomatic activity in recent days, involving Germany and Qatar who are acting as go-betweens. Crucially, the US accepted an EU invitation to join talks with Iran on returning to mutual compliance with the deal. In its response on Friday, Iran’s foreign ministry stuck to its previous position that all sanctions must be lifted before talks can begin

This will not be the last word. But it is a reminder of the sobering – and alarming – reality that powerful individuals and factions on both sides are doing all they can to ensure the 2015 deal definitively collapses. In Iran, hardline candidates and members of the Majlis (parliament), focused on June’s presidential poll, oppose any kind of rapprochement with America.

They include leading presidential hopeful Hossein Dehghan. He reportedly has the backing of Iran’s ultra-conservative supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has sworn never to talk to America. Dehghan accuses Biden of bad faith. “We still see the same policies … as we did from the Trump team: not lifting the oppressive sanctions against the Iranian people,” he told the Guardian

Such scepticism reflects genuine distrust, and fear of another Trump-style stab in the back. But it is also the result of calculation, suggested analyst Saeid Jafari . “Biden’s victory [over Trump] came as a big disappointment to hardliners seeking to undermine Rouhani’s last-ditch effort to save the nuclear accord,” he wrote. They may try to scupper any talks……..

Strong opposition to the deal, however Biden plays it, is evident in Israel, where the hard-right prime minister and close Trump ally, Benjamin Netanyahu, is fighting for his political life. Netanyahu encouraged Trump to ditch the pact, even as Israel has expanded its own nuclear facilities. He vehemently warns against resurrecting it as he woos Jewish supremacist parties in Israel’s fourth election in two years……..

Against all this must be set common sense. Trump’s maximum pressure policy failed miserably. It did not mitigate regional tensions or reduce proxy attacks. Rather, illegal US and Israeli assassinations of high-profile figures increased them. Sanctions have hurt Iranians, but did not topple the regime or change its behaviour. Iran is closer now to a nuclear weapon than in 2016.

Biden’s instinct to try to break this impasse and find a diplomatic way through – supported by the UK, Germany and France – is the right one. But words are not enough. As a sign of good faith, he should swiftly relax some sanctions and unfreeze Iran’s Covid-related $5bn IMF loan request.

Time is short. Proving peace works may be the only way to halt the fatal advance of warmongers in Israel and Iran.

February 23, 2021 Posted by | Iran, Israel, politics international | Leave a comment

U.N. nuclear watchdog found uranium particles at two Iranian sites

Reuters 19th Feb 2021, The U.N. nuclear watchdog found uranium particles at two Iranian sites it inspected after months of stonewalling, diplomats say, and it is preparing to rebuke Tehran for failing to explain, possibly complicating U.S. efforts to revive nuclear diplomacy.

February 22, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

USA to join in multilateral talks with EU and Iran, on return to nuclear deal

Guardian 19th Feb 2021, The US has agreed to take part in multilateral talks with Iran hosted by the EU, with the aim of negotiating a return by both countries to the 2015
nuclear deal that is close to falling apart in the wake of the Trump

February 20, 2021 Posted by | EUROPE, Iran, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Mossad’s high tech murder of Iranian nuclear scientist

Why  is this article written in such an extraordinarily boastful style?



February 20, 2021 Posted by | Iran, Israel, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Iran vows to limit nuclear inspections if partners fail to act

Iran vows to limit nuclear inspections if partners fail to act
Iran said it will scale back its comprehensive international nuclear inspections next week if world powers fail to move., By Maziar Motamedi15 Feb 2021

Tehran, Iran – Iran’s government will have no choice but to limit nuclear inspections starting next week if the other parties to a 2015 nuclear deal do not cooperate with it, according to its foreign ministry.

Foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said President Hassan Rouhani’s government is obliged by law to stop voluntarily implementing the Additional Protocol – which gives the UN’s nuclear watchdog more inspection authority – if US sanctions on Iran’s oil and banking sectors are not lifted by February 21.

The nuclear deal was signed between Iran and world powers, but former US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew his country from it in 2018 and reimposed harsh sanctions on Iran. One year later, Iran gradually scaled back its commitments under the deal.

Iran has boosted uranium enrichment to 20 percent and is planning further breaches of its commitments in compliance with December legislation ratified by the conservative parliament.

The bill was passed quickly after top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated near Tehran in late November in a sophisticated attack that Iran blames on Israel.

As Khatibzadeh also reiterated on Monday, nuclear inspectors will still have access to Iranian sites as part of the country’s commitments under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

“All these measures are easily reversible with the condition that other parties return to their commitments,” he said.

Iranian officials have said they will consider sanctions effectively lifted if Iran is able to freely sell its oil and receive its earnings through international banking channels.

But the foreign ministry spokesman said the Joe Biden administration is effectively continuing his predecessor’s hawkish policy on Iran by refusing to lift sanctions until Iran returns to commitments first.

“Unfortunately, the US is still moving based on the wrong approach of the previous administration and what is happening today is no different than before January 20,” Khatibzadeh said, citing the date Trump left office.

“Maximum pressure and crimes against the Iranian people and the disregard for international human rights still persist today.”

February 15, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran foiled series of assassinations planned by Israel – says Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi

Iranian minister: Israel planned series of hits against officials in nuclear program  Neta Bar

Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi says his officers had “recognized and foiled” several alleged attempts by Israel to eliminate Iranian officials in the wake of last year’s hit on the country’s nuclear mastermind – who he says was killed by a disgruntled co-worker, not Israel.

Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi claimed Sunday that Israel had planned to carry out “many operations” seeking to undermine the Islamic republic’s efforts to develop nuclear capabilities, saying these efforts have ” all been prevented by Iranian security.”
These efforts, he told the state-run ISNA news agency, included planned assassinations of officials in the nuclear program, which were to follow the November elimination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, believed to be head of the Iranian military nuclear program.

“After Fakhrizadeh was killed, the Zionists attempted to carry out additional acts of terrorism and evil in the country, including more assassinations. These attempts were recognized and foiled by Iranian intelligence,” he said.

While the ayatollahs’ regime has consistently blamed Israel for Fakhrizadeh’s death, Alavi told ISNA on Sunday that the country’s nuclear mastermind was not, in fact, killed by Israel rather “by a disgruntled co-worker.”

“The man responsible for the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was fired from the intelligence service and left the country shortly before it [the hit] actually took place. He is now wanted by Iranian authorities,” the minister said.

He did not elaborate as to whether Iranian authorities think the suspect was working with Israel.

February 15, 2021 Posted by | Iran, Israel, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Iran warned by France, Germany, UK, over uranium metal production

France, Germany, UK warn Iran over uranium metal production, Iran is undermining the chance for renewed diplomacy to fully realise the 2015 nuclear deal objectives, the trio says.

The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog said earlier this week that Iran had followed through on its plan to make uranium metal, after Tehran had alarmed Western nations with its intent to produce the material with which the core of nuclear weapons can be made.

There have been hopes that the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers could be revived through new talks under the administration of United States President Joe Biden, after his predecessor Donald Trump walked out of the deal in 2018.

The European trio, who are signatories to the deal formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), said in a joint statement on Friday that Iran’s move to produce uranium metal was a violation of the accord that endangers the chance to fully realise the deal, which aims to reduce international sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits to its nuclear programme

“We strongly urge Iran to halt these activities without delay and not to take any new non-compliant steps on its nuclear programme. In escalating its non-compliance, Iran is undermining the opportunity for renewed diplomacy to fully realise the objectives of the JCPOA,” said the European trio in a statement.

The IAEA report

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN nuclear watchdog, said on Wednesday Iran has started producing uranium metal, in a fresh breach of the limits laid out in the 2015 deal…… will require the most delicate diplomacy to move forward, with the White House insisting Iran must move to full compliance before the US can return to the deal, but Tehran wanting no preconditions.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday said he was disappointed with the Biden administration over the lack of progress to date.

“We have still not seen any goodwill from the new government,” Rouhani told state television.

February 13, 2021 Posted by | EUROPE, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Israel’s military threat to Iran. Iran calls on U.N. to respond.

February 9, 2021 Posted by | Iran, Israel, politics international | Leave a comment

Zarif: compensation not pre-condition for reviving Iran nuclear deal

Zarif: compensation not pre-condition for reviving nuclear deal Reuters, Feb 07, 2021

WASHINGTON — Iranian Foreign MinisterMohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday that Iran receiving compensation from the United States for the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal was not a “pre-condition” forreviving the agreement.    (Reporting By Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

February 7, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran rejects reversing nuclear steps before US lifts sanctions

Iran rejects reversing nuclear steps before US lifts sanctions, Aljazeera, 28 Jan 21, 

Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran could reverse breaches of nuclear deal once US sanctions are removed.

Iran will not accept demands by the United States that it reverses acceleration of its nuclear programme before Washington lifts sanctions, foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said.

The demand “is not practical and will not happen”, he said at a joint news conference in Istanbul on Friday with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.

The new administration of US President Joe Biden has said Tehran must resume compliance with curbs on its nuclear activity under the world powers’ 2015 deal before it can rejoin the pact formally known as The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Iran breached the terms of the accord in a step-by-step response to the decision by Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump to abandon the deal in 2018 and reimpose sanctions on Tehran.

Earlier this month, Iran resumed enriching uranium to 20 percent at its underground Fordow nuclear plant – a level it achieved before the accord.

However, Iran has said it can quickly reverse those violations if US sanctions are removed……

January 29, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Reviving the Iran nuclear deal will test Joe Biden

Reviving the Iran nuclear deal will test Joe Biden, Tehran says the ball is in America’s court, but Washington first wants compliance,, DAVID GARDNER, 27 Jan 21, 
US president Joe Biden’s incoming foreign policy team, full of veterans from the Barack Obama administrations, will have no illusions about how tricky it will be to refloat the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran that was torpedoed by Donald Trump in 2018. They know from direct experience how canny Iranian negotiators are — and how antagonistic relations have become with the Islamic Republic.  ………

Both sides, moreover, are adopting a “you first” approach. Iran says the ball is in America’s court since the Trump administration unilaterally tore up a deal Tehran was then fulfilling. The Biden team says Iran must first resume compliance with the 2015 accord (it raised uranium enrichment above agreed levels of volume and purity, albeit one year after Washington’s withdrawal). …..
For the mullahs and militiamen who ultimately run Iran’s tyrannical theocracy, the 2015 deal was a threat and a swindle. Watching how Iranians warmly embraced it as a path back to the modern world, they saw a slippery slope to regime change. When the US reneged on its commitment to readmit Iran to world markets, the Islamist reactionaries in Tehran were able to force pragmatists led by President Hassan Rouhani to retreat.
 When reformists led by then-president Mohammad Khatami offered the US a “grand bargain” in 2003, George W Bush as US president placed Iran on the “axis of evil” alongside Iraq and North Korea. For hardliners, and many Iranians, Mr Trump was therefore merely being true to form. America and Iran have haunted each other for generations. ……….
 The US, therefore, might once again be tempted to overplay its hand. Mr Biden’s negotiators will know from the run-up to 2015 that talks only really began once Washington took regime change off the table. But if they do that now they will demand measurable assurances on Iran’s regional behaviour. That is not so very distinct in Tehran’s eyes from the Trumpian (and Israeli and Saudi) demand it axes its ballistic missile programme and wraps up the militia networks through which it has built a Shia axis of power from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean and down into the Gulf.
That is, right now, a non-starter. Especially as Israel steps up its air strikes and sabotage against Iranian targets and assets across the region. The US policy of “maximum pressure” has met maximum pushback.
The US, and other guarantors of the nuclear compact, should walk it back towards 2015. But regional detente requires a new security architecture, including all the actors. This needs to be built from the ground up, and reinforced by a broad international diplomatic coalition that underwrites it. The US has lost trust among allies as well as adversaries. It cannot attempt this alone.

January 28, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Iran urges Biden to make haste to rejoin the nuclear deal

Iran warns Biden over nuclear deal, Canberra Times Nasser Karimi  26 Jan 21Iran has warned the Biden administration it will not have an indefinite time period to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

Iran also said it expects Washington to swiftly lift crippling economic sanctions that Donald Trump imposed after pulling America out of the atomic accord in 2018, as part of what he called maximum pressure against Tehran.

He cited Iran’s ballistic missile program among other issues in withdrawing from the accord, and when the Trump administration increased sanctions, Tehran gradually and publicly abandoned the deal’s limits on its nuclear development…..

Biden  has pledged to return to the nuclear deal, but Iran’s cabinet spokesman Ali Rabiei said there has yet to be any communication between the two sides on the subject……..

January 26, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment