Iran nuclear deal: Tehran’s endless cycle of playing for time

Analysis by PMOI/MEK

Iran, October 20, 2021—Rafael Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), declared that he intends to visit Tehran “soon” to discuss and hopefully resolve specific concerns about Iran’s nuclear program, he declared on Tuesday. Grossi’s trip is expected to happen before the next meeting of the IAEA board of governors in late November. Some members are pushing for the board to condemn Tehran’s nuclear activity, including violations of the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

While Grossi expressed hope that “so many things can happen” before the next meeting of the board of directors, Tehran’s behavior hints at the opposite: Iran’s regime is baiting the international community with false promises, only backtrack and fail to meet its commitments and keep things in a state of limbo.

For the past few months, Iranian officials have been regularly voicing interest in resuming nuclear negotiations in Vienna. But when the time comes to take concrete steps to resolve Tehran’s dangerous and controversial nuclear standoff, the regime finds a way to push back the talks a few weeks.

On October 14, Enrique Mora, the European Union’s lead negotiator on Iran’s nuclear program, traveled to Tehran to help revive the talks, which have been stalled in June. In his meetings with deputy foreign minister and lead nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri, Mora agreed to convene in Brussels on October 21 to further discuss resuming the nuclear talks. But on Monday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell that there would probably not be a meeting on Thursday to restart the nuclear talks.

Earlier, in September, Grossi traveled to Tehran and reached an agreement with the Iranian regime to proceed with the overdue servicing of its equipment in nuclear facilities. The agreement was meant to avoid further tensions with the international community ahead of the meeting of the IAEA’s Board of Governors and create the grounds to resume negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.

At the time, Grossi described his talks with Iranian officials as “constructive” and “a measure to allow time for diplomacy.”

But less than two weeks later, the Iranian regime has backtracked on its commitments and prevented UN inspectors access to a nuclear site in Karaj.

This recurring pattern speaks volumes about the effectiveness of the international community’s lackluster approach toward Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. But it also reveals much about the regime’s weak state and incapacity to show good faith and flexibility on its dangerous nuclear program.

On the one hand, the regime is exploiting the West’s appetite for negotiations and its indecisiveness to buy time to continue its nuclear weapons program. The West’s dangerous dithering is getting the regime closer to the nuclear bomb with every passing day and is provoking the regime to become bolder in its extortion tactics.

On the other hand, the truth is that the regime can’t make any compromise on any of its destructive activities. From nuclear weapons to ballistic missiles, terrorism, and the suppression of dissidents, the regime has built its foundation on death and destruction. These are the pillars that have kept the mullahs in power for more than four decades. They have come at a great human and financial cost to Iran and other countries of region and have earned the regime the ire and hatred of the Iranian people. Today, the mullahs’ rule is standing on shaky ground, and they are faced with a large population that wants nothing but regime change.

The regime needs extortion and bullying tactics at home and abroad to hide its weakness and exude power. As soon as the regime shows the slightest bit of tolerance on any of its destructive policies, it will be exposing its weaknesses, which will have direct repercussions inside Iran and across the region. In Iran, it would embolden millions of Iranians who desire for regime change and have been kept at bay through brutal killings, and it would weaken the already diminishing morale of the regime’s own rank-and-file, making it harder for the regime to hold on to power. At the same time, it would send a signal to Iran’s neighboring nations to push back against the regime’s terrorist meddling in their country. This will only facilitate the inevitable and long-overdue overthrow of the mullahs’ regime.

A regime that is living on borrowed time will do anything to delay its downfall for another week or month. And as long as the international community doesn’t draw a line and act firmly against the Iranian regime’s nuclear extortion tactics, the regime will continue to play for time.

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