MOSCOW, 8 Feb – RIA Novosti, Mikhail Turgiev. The United States should be the first to take a step towards Iran and, above all, weaken sanctions on the purchase of Iranian oil and unfreeze the funds of the Iranian Central Bank in foreign accounts, then it will be possible to talk about Tehran's return to the fulfillment of the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian Nuclear Program (JCPOA), the director said. Initiatives for the Future of Iran under the Atlantic Council Barbara Slavin.
The Iranian authorities previously issued an ultimatum to the United States to return Washington to the JCPOA, threatening otherwise to reduce the number of IAEA inspectors in the country and restrict their access to facilities. In addition, Tehran intends to bring uranium enrichment to 20% (and more, if necessary), and also to use new generation centrifuges within three months. The United States has so far made statements that first Iran must return to compliance with the terms of the JCPOA, and only then Washington will return to it. “The Europeans say that if Iran goes further and reduces the level of cooperation with the IAEA, then they can restore UN sanctions. only Iran can play the pressure card. So I hope that we will be able to achieve some progress by making at least intermediate steps, “Slavin said.
According to her, even if Iran fulfills its threats, it is still reversible, although it complicates the whole process of reaching agreements.
“I would announce that if Iran is ready not to take the steps it threatened at the end of February, then the United States will return some sanctions exemptions for Japan, South Korea, Italy, Spain, Greece so that they can buy some Iranian oil.” – said Slavin, listing the priority, in her opinion, and the most easily feasible steps that Washington can take.
In addition, as a second measure, Iran could be allowed to use billions of dollars currently frozen in accounts in other countries for the purchase of medicines, including vaccines against coronavirus, food and other humanitarian goods, she said. This waste of money, she said, ensures that it doesn't end up in Hezbollah.
Even if part of the proceeds from the sale of oil falls into the hands of Hezbollah, the Central Bank is one of the pillars of the Iranian economy, says Slavin. “And if you are waiting for Iran to return to compliance with the conditions (JCPOA), then these sanctions should be lifted. does not necessarily mean that Iran will receive huge benefits, because there are still companies that do not want to work with Iran for various reasons. But at least from a legal point of view, this should be removed, “the expert said.
“Hopefully we'll see something like this. I don't know, really, if this will be enough for the Iranians to stop making the threats they pose. I hope so. It is not in their interest to put this new administration in a stalemate. I think they need to be patient and give Biden some time, “added Slavin.
She recalled that the new US authorities expressed their desire to return to the agreement, and expressed the opinion that now is a good time to return everything to its previous state. Moreover, Washington, she believes, has already taken its first steps. “I think the United States should be the first. And I think they have already started it in some way. On the very first day, Joe Biden got rid of this“ ban on Muslims ” Finance Minister Janet Yellen has already announced that there will be a revision of the sanctions policy in the part that affects aid in the fight against coronavirus. So Iran may benefit there too. This was also a pain point, “Slavin said.
She recalled that, as expected, Robert Mally will become the special envoy for Iran, who, after being appointed, will be able to discuss with Russia, China and Europe, and through them with Iran, the next steps.
“The United States must sign a presidential decree that cancels the decree of May 8, 2018 on the withdrawal of the United States from the agreement on the JCPOA. And then take other steps to return to its terms,” she added.
She urged not to worry about the fact that the US administration does not take such steps immediately, since first it is necessary to let the new employees of the administration “get used to their jobs.” At the same time, she expressed confidence that both countries are interested in returning to the JCPOA and the United States will certainly try to tackle this issue as early as possible.
According to Slavin, at the stage of returning to the previously agreed conditions of the JCPOA, a complicated negotiation process is not needed, since it is just necessary to agree on the sequence of the return, which, in her opinion, will be devoted to the next few months. Substantive negotiations will be needed to discuss other issues later, she said. “And it can be difficult because of the Iranian elections (presidential elections in June 2020 – ed.). We may not see much progress there because of the elections, which is not means that it will not be raised, especially speaking about some regional issues, “she said.
Slavin expressed confidence that the return of the parties to the JCPOA can take place before the elections in Iran.
“Remember how quickly they took the necessary steps in 2015, it was done in weeks, it was even faster than the IAEA expected,” she recalled.