Following the Vienna meetings, there is optimism, particularly from the EU and the UK, that Iran’s and the US’s compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal can be restored. But according to former European Parliament Vice President Alejo Vidal-Quadras, they have not spent long enough considering whether this should is the best outcome, especially given Iran’s provocations since the deal was signed.
This view appears to be shared by US Deputy Secretary of State nominee Wendy Sherman who said simply that facts have changed so the way to deal with Iran must change too. Yet still, Europe is determined to bring all sides back to a deal not fit for purpose and Iran is exploiting this peace at any cost mentality.
Of course, as Vidal-Quadras says, the meetings may not have gone as well as Europe hoped. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted after the meeting that the US must make the first move because they pulled out of the deal in 2018, but in this situation Iran would get the reward with none of the sacrifices.
Not to mention the fact that Iran has been “formally” non-compliant with the deal for two years without actually withdrawing from it. And even that doesn’t take into account that Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, admitted outright to deceiving the nuclear negotiators by never fully shutting down the operation. (This has been reported by Reuters and the International Atomic Energy Agency as well.)
Vidal-Quadras wrote: “When Iran began formally and systematically violating the agreement following the re-imposition of US sanctions, many of the deal’s proponents were rightly taken aback by the speed with which Iran was able to resume or even exceed its prior levels of advanced nuclear work. This was a testament both to the deceptive ways in which the regime “implemented” that agreement and to the other signatories’ failure to secure a full account of what Iran had accomplished before the deal went into effect. “
This means that no one really knows whether the deal addressed all of Iran’s activities, which some say continue at off-limits military sites to this day. After all, the IAEA confirmed nuclear material remnants at the Parchin military base and at least two other bases have been reported to contain similar stuff.
Vidal-Quadras wrote: “Western policies toward the Iranian regime should certainly be unified, but in pursuit of something better than the status quo, especially now that Iran has admitted to flouting the rules it agreed to five years ago.”