Negotiators in Vienna are facing slow movement as Iran demands guarantees from the US that a new nuclear deal will not be at the whim of every new president.
Iran’s demands for guarantees have become a roadblock in the talks, reported The Wall Street Journal. Back in 2018, Donald Trump, US president at the time, pulled his country out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and reimposed sanctions on Iran despite Tehran’s adherence to the plan.
Now, Iran is demanding a guarantee that the same thing will not happen again and a promise that they will be able to reap the economic benefits of the sanctions relief.
However, the US is unable to give a guarantee that a new president and administration will stick to the accord. Iran is acutely aware of this issue and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has in the past addressed the Washington’s inability to give a legal guarantee.
In a new report analysing the movement in Vienna, the Crisis Group wrote in the absence of guarantees, “many in Tehran worry sanctions relief will be ineffective, unsustainable and, perhaps, even detrimental to the Iranian economy as the spectre of reimposed sanctions haunts long-term planning”.
In the years since Mr Trump pulled the US out of the JCPOA, Iran has pivoted its economy to both look inward and to the east, making deals with China and Russia in an effort to sustain its economy without western nations.
Unwinding its eastward facing economy and refocusing towards the West without guarantees could once again leave Iran’s economy vulnerable to a heavy sanctions regime.
Despite the roadblocks, talks are making slow, incremental progress in Vienna and, according to The Wall Street Journal, European and US negotiators are looking at ways to help alleviate Iran’s discomfort and offer other long-term commitments.