Implementation of Iran nuclear deal to be revived, promising or not

China Military Online
Wang Xinjuan
2022-09-27 10:26:11

By Fan Hongda

On September 19, Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi went to New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). In an interview before his departure, he made it clear that he would not have direct talks with the US. If the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, is to be resumed, the US should give a guarantee mechanism that it will not withdraw again. Ebrahim Raisi's remarks have raised more concerns about the resumption of talks on the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal having recently been stalled.

A new round of talks trying to salvage the Iran nuclear deal co nvened in Vienna has been ongoing for a year and a half since April 2021. While hopes are repeatedly seen during the negotiating process, the process has also tended to be disappointing.

On September 10, the UK, France, and Germany released a joint statement accusing Iran of not taking the negotiations to revive the nuclear deal seriously. They believed that Iran is trying to bring irrelevant content into the negotiations, implying that Iran has intended to achieve more goals through the Vienna talks. This has made it unsustainable to resume talks on the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal. Iran also responded by saying that the three European countries have sided with the US, and their attitudes have been under the influence of Israel, which opposed the Iran nuclear deal. For a while, the negotiations on reviving the Iran nuclear deal were overshadowed again.

There are two key demands of Iran in the near future. First, Iran is to defend the right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) should end some investigations and monitoring of Iran, a signatory of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT); Second, Iran demands international guarantees to ensure its economic benefits and prevent the US' re-withdrawal from negotiations. The two demands have been re-emphasized at the first press conference since Raisi took office on August 29. However, the core demand of the US lies in stripping off Iran's nuclear weapons and cutting off Iran's development of nuclear weapons.

The IAEA-Iran relationship has been strained recently. The IAEA has further shredded its credibility. Iran, as a signatory of the NPT, does have the right to peacefully use nuclear energy. If the US and the IAEA want to contain Iran within Iran's international rights, it is obviously difficult for Iran to accept.

As the initiator of this round of Iran's nuclear crisis, the US should have not been too arbitrary. But the US and European negotiators also have their own view that Iran cannot bring "irrelevant" content into the talks to revive the nuclear deal. The implication is that Iran could not utilize the Vienna talks to achieve more goals. Although the Vienna talks have currently been in a new deadlock, there is no need to be too pessimistic about the outcome given the willingness of both the US and Iran to accomplish the negotiations.

At present, Iran has been in high favor of finishing nuclear deal negotiations as soon as possible, though it has also been in strong opposition to signing a new agreement, which can never be underestimated. Of course, the deep-seated negative perception of Iran, as well as the restraints of bipartisan politics and third parties such as Israel on Iran, has made the Biden administration less motivated in Vienna talks. However, the US public opinion polls since early 2022 show that more Americans are for the revival of the Iran nuclear deal. It has now been less than two months before the US mid-term election in early November as scheduled, and the Biden administration apparently has intended to use this opportunity to gain extra points for the election. In addition, a global energy crisis caused by the Ukraine crisis has also helped Iran, a major oil and natural gas supplier, return to the international market. The achievement of the Vienna talks cannot be separated from the two factors mentioned above.

Nasser Kanani, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman, said on September 19 that Iran does not rule out the possibility of talks on the implementation of the Iranian nuclear deal during the UNGA. If the Biden administration finally decides to reach a consensus with Iran, there stands a great chance that the Vienna talks will be declared successful before the US midterm election.

(The author is a professor at the Institute of Middle East Studies, Shanghai International Studies University)

Editor's note: Originally published on, this article is translated from Chinese into English and edited by the China Military Online. The information and opinions in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of

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