Thursday, April 15, 2021

Iran, Russia and the Iranian Nuclear Program

Following a recent meeting in Tehran between Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the Foreign Minister of Iran Javad Zarif:

 

... Lavrov very clearly outlined Russia's agenda for Iran and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA better known as the Iranian nuclear deal.  This is particularly pertinent given the recent news from Iran about its Natanz nuclear facility which appears to be related to actions taken by Israel as reported here by the Times of Israel:

 


...and here as reported by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA):

 

 

Here is a quote from the IRNA report:


"However with this action, the occupying regime of al-Quds [Israel] tried to avenge the patience and wise behavior of the Iranian people in the course of removing the sanctions," he said.

 

Israel "should know that Iran will exact revenage on this regime at the right time and place", Khatibzadeh added.

 

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif advised Iranians not to fall into the Israeli regime’s deceptive trap, saying the Zionists want to take revenge on the Iranian people after their recent achievements in the bid to remove the cruel sanctions.

 

“But we will not let that happen, and we will take revenge for these acts on the Zionists themselves,” Zarif said during a session of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee on Monday."


Now, let's look at comments regarding Iran's nuclear program from Russia's Foreign Minister at the end of his meeting with Iran's Foreign Minister:

 

"We had an extensive discussion on the situation around the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action concerning Iran’s nuclear programme. As you know and as we have repeatedly stressed, it is only possible to continue with the JCPOA if all the involved parties implement it fully and consistently, in strict compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 2231. We expect that the JCPOA will be maintained and Washington will resume its comprehensive fulfilment of the resolution. This will open the door to Iran meeting all the requirements of the nuclear deal. It is our understanding that our partners in Tehran have expressed readiness to move in this direction immediately, provided that the United States takes the action required from it. We support the crucial talks that are underway in Vienna and condemn any attempts to sabotage them."

 

When asked this question:

 

"Iran and the five international participants of the JCPOA are currently having talks in Vienna. At the same time, we can see and hear the West confronting Iran and the Russian Federation, imposing sanctions against us. How would you comment on these measures by the European Union?"

 

...here is Lavrov's response:

 

"Just a couple of hours ago, I was astounded to hear the news that the European Union had imposed sanctions against a number of officials from the Islamic Republic of Iran for alleged human rights violations. I have not yet seen the full text of that decision, but the very fact of more sanctions raises many questions. If there is no coordination whatsoever in the European Union, if its left hand does not know what its right hand is doing, this is nothing less than a disaster. But if the decision was made deliberately, in the midst of the ongoing talks in Vienna on ways to rescue the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, then this is not a disaster. It is the kind of mistake that, as you know, is worse than a crime.

 

In my opening remarks, I underscored that in connection with this event, we condemn any attempts to undermine the process that is unfolding with difficulty in Vienna between all the participants in the JCPOA. I hope that our European colleagues will realise that this kind of action is unacceptable and will take measures to prevent a derailment of the negotiations."

  

Here is what Lavrov had to say about the impact of sanctions on the funding of the Bushehr nuclear power plant project:

 

"When we speak about the necessity for the United States to resume full implementation of the JCPOA, we do not mean only the direct lifting of the illegal sanctions against Iran, but also the restrictions imposed on foreign companies for their cooperation with Iran.

 

The extraterritorial application of US laws (the EU has entered the same downward path, and is replacing legitimate methods with unilateral moves) must be put to an end. This is one of the subjects being discussed in Vienna."

 

Lavrov goes on to state that:

  

"The only way of restoring the JCPOA lies in the US fully returning to the implementation of all of its commitments that were approved by the UN Security Council. Washington flagrantly violated them at its own discretion. Moreover, the US adopted many laws that prohibit all other countries from implementing UN Security Council Resolution 2231. Only Washington’s full return to observance of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, without any exceptions, provides a way out of the current situation. Otherwise, we will create a dangerous precedent of treating international law in a way that may backfire on us unexpectedly in some other areas of human endeavour.

 

I listed the American laws aimed at introducing an enormous number of sanctions against Iran. However, Iran also has a parliament that has adopted a law on strategic measures with a certain timeframe that is taken into account during the current contacts in Vienna.

 

I don’t think we have a lot of time. Obviously, those who want to bury the JCPOA are resorting to various provocations just because there is a certain timeframe."

 

With all of this information in mind, here is a recent report from Iran's PressTV website:

 

Here is a quote from the PressTV report with my bolds:


"Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said on Tuesday that not only will Iran soon replace the centrifuges that were damaged in the act of sabotage at Natanz, but will also install an additional 1,000 centrifuges of a 50-percent higher enrichment capacity at the facility.

 

The enrichment level exceeds Iran's current top level of 20 percent.

 

Upon initiation, the measure would be part of the remedial measures Iran has been taking since May 2019 in return for the United States and others’ non-commitment to the nuclear deal between Tehran and world countries.

 

The US had left the nuclear deal that is officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a year earlier and re-imposed the sanctions that the accord had lifted.

 

Iran’s counteraction fits well within the JCPOA’s Paragraph 36 that entitles it to the reprisal.

 

Araqchi is in the Austrian city for another round of talks aimed at finding a way for the United States to rejoin the 2015 nuclear agreement, which it abandoned in 2018 and re-imposed the sanctions on Iran that the JCPOA had lifted.

 

Tehran maintains that it will only reverse its remedial measures — the phased reduction of its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA — if the US removes all sanctions in one step and in a verifiable manner.

 

The Iranian official’s announcement of the sheer increase in Iran’s remedial measures came after power at the country’s Natanz Nuclear Facility was cut across the installation on Sunday."

 

From all appearances, the Biden Administration has a very, very narrow window of opportunity to remove the sanctions that it has imposed on Iran that are contrary to the intentions of the nuclear agreement, reinstate the JCPOA and reduce the risk of an all-out war in the Persian Gulf and additional tensions with Iran's ally, Russia.