Following repeated warnings, once again the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned the regime about the closing windows on the nuclear negotiations and the short time this regime is facing if it does not accept a new agreement which will have severe consequences for the regime.
Blinken in a press conference said: “The runway is very short. They are – Iran is getting closer and closer to the point where they could produce on very, very short order enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon.
“And at the same time, they’re making advances that will become increasingly hard to reverse because they’re learning things, they’re doing new things because of having broken out of their constraints under the agreement.
“So, we have, I think, a few weeks left to see if we can get back to mutual compliance. But if we can’t, we are looking at other steps, other options, again, closely coordinated with concerned countries. And we will.”
The remarks by the US Secretary of State come as the eighth round of talks on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is underway, but officials have said in recent days that no tangible results have been achieved so far.
Since Ebrahim Raisi became president, the Iranian regime has engaged in deception and doublespeak regarding its approach to the talks. On the one hand, it is expanding its nuclear capacities and on the other hand, it is insisting on continuing the negotiations, while rejecting direct talks with the US.
Despite European officials and even some US officials announcing that the negotiation window is closing, none has reacted properly.
As the result, negotiations are continuing while the regime accelerates its nuclear projects at maximum speed, something which even raised the concerns of China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi, while he met the Bahraini and Saudi minister last week to discuss the Iran nuclear talks.
At these meetings as Reuters reported, “Wang Yi told his Saudi counterpart that while the global non-proliferation system must be safeguarded, the ’just and reasonable concerns‘ of countries in the region should also be considered.”
These comments came after Persian Gulf countries expressed their concern about Iran’s nuclear, missile, and regional ambitions.
A day after Wang Yi’s remarks, James Cleverly, the UK Minister for the Middle East & North Africa in the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, warned in a statement,
“UK government issues a veiled threat to take military action against Iran. UK foreign minister @JamesCleverly reiterates Iran can “never” acquire nuclear weapons and UK will “consider all the options” if nuclear deal negotiations break down.”
And AXIOS in a report on January 12 quoted two informed sources about the critical stat of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
“The Biden administration thinks it’s now just a matter of weeks before the critical decision point: Either a deal will be reached, and the U.S. will return to the nuclear deal or talks will break down and the administration will move to put more pressure on Iran,” Axios wrote.
But beyond all these messages, whether public or private, what is happening is the fact that there is not much time left for the Iranian rulers to make any new maneuvers.
A regime’s expert Javid Ghorban Oghli pointed to the unclear and bleak fate of JCPOA by acknowledging the regime’s desperation and deadlock in the nuclear talks in an interview published by the state-run daily Mostaghel on January 15 and said:
“In a few days, it will be 50 days that Iran and the world powers are working to revive the nuclear deal. But as the news spreads, the negotiations have not progressed much during this period. In the last 72 hours, the tone of the envoys of the Western countries has changed and it can be said that the countdown to the collapse of the negotiations has begun.”
As for the regime’s baseless hopes in improving the country’s economic situation if and when the sanctions are lifted after the nuclear talks, he added:
“I do not think that a big thing will happen in our country with the lifting of sanctions. A large part of our economic problems is within ourselves; The issue of theft, embezzlement, graft and the excessive-class gap has nothing to do with the JCPOA.
“Inflation is taking from the pockets of the poor and pouring into the pockets of the rich. Major economists believe that even without the JCPOA we are falling.”
Finally, he depicted the regime’s dark future: “If we do not reach an agreement, this time it will not be like the last time. The case will go to the Security Council and the trigger mechanism will be pursued through the US allies and they will easily pass a resolution against us in the Security Council, and China and Russia will not veto.
“A terrible atmosphere will be created against Iran and other countries will not cooperate with us. Especially since we are not in a previous situation where our economic state was relatively good. In the last two years, the economic situation has become so bad that we are losing our ability to do anything.”