September 11, 2021
Iran has not abandoned nuclear talks and has no intention to do so, but it is also “not in a hurry to return” to the Vienna negotiations, Kayhan daily close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s office said on Saturday.
Six rounds of talks did not result in any agreement, the daily said in an editorial note, and now Tehran wants to “seriously and deeply reassess” the whole process and that “takes time”. Also, “what has Iran gained so far from the negotiations” to be desperate for their resumption and try to return quickly.
Kayhan is a hardliner newspaper that without exception defends Khamenei’s positions and policies in all matters and its editorials are seen as reflecting the views of Supreme Leader’s office.
Multilateral negotiations to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) began in April and continued until June, with diplomats saying some progress was made. Iran suspended the talks arguing that it needed time to form a new government after its June presidential vote. Western countries seemed to have accepted this explanation, but since the new president Ebrahim Raisi (Raeesi) took office on August 3, Iran has remained non-committal about returning to the talks.
The West began to urge Tehran in the past three weeks to resume the process while concern grew that Tehran might have a plan to continue more uranium enrichment or take other steps to force the United States and its European allies, Germany, France and the United Kingdom to make concessions they have been unwilling to make so far.
After the realization that Iran might be simply dragging out the process, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned this week that time to agree on returning to JCPOA was running out.
Kayhan also took up the issue of a meeting of the Board of Governors at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) next week, where a resolution criticizing Tehran’s lack of cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog might be put to a vote.
Iran scaled back IAEA’s monitoring of its nuclear sites earlier this year demanding the lifting of US sanctions, after newly elected president Joe Biden signalled that he was against Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA in 2018 and intended to restore the agreement.
The IAEA produced two reports on September 7 criticizing Iran for restricting monitoring of its nuclear sites and not responding to requests for information about traces of nuclear material found by inspectors last year from a suspected weapons program in the past.
Kayhan also warned that the IAEA meeting is simply a political event and has little to do with technical issues regarding Iran’s cooperation with the Agency’s nuclear monitoring. The newspaper said that the former Trump administration national security chief Robert O’Brien “put Grossi in charge of IAEA”, referring to current director Rafael Grossi.
The paper went on to say that Iran’s problems with the IAEA will be resolved when it comes to an agreement with those “who pull the strings” at the international organization. It is worth noting that IAEA’s Board is made of UN member states, with Russia and China always represented. As a matter of fact, Russia said Friday that it will vote against any resolution criticizing Iran.
Kayhan concluded by hinting at a conspiracy theory that “the American hasty retreat from Afghanistan” was part of a Middle East plan to revive the JCPOA and then limit Iran’s ballistic missile program and its regional influence, using the same “P5+1 JCPOA mechanism”, eaning the three European powers plus Russia and China.