“Can Tehran prevent [US President Joe] Biden’s policy for securitizing nuclear programs and building a consensus [against Iran]? The outcome of the Board of Governors meeting would clarify forecasts. Definitely, the Tehran-Washington tensions and the process of return to the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or 2015 Iran nuclear deal] is likely stepping on a blade,” wrote the Iranian daily Ebtekar on March 2.
However, it seems that the ayatollahs are losing their chances for rejoining the nuclear deal, and the window is closing. Moreover, state-run media openly signal that the government can no longer be joyful over political developments in the United States.
“Several Iranian politicians had this vision that Biden would start returning to the JCPOA and performing U.S. obligations immediately after entering the Oval Office on January 20. However, not only did this issue not happen but Biden prepares new pressure, which Trump’s policy is likely a jock in comparison of them,” Resalat daily wrote on March 2.
The JCPOA Situation and Tehran’s Impasses
In such circumstances, the Iranian government faces several new parameters, which have completely changed the situation in comparison to July 2015—when the nuclear deal was signed between Iran and six major powers.
1- Despite some signals, the Biden administration has frequently announced that it would not lift sanctions as a concession to incite Iranian leaders for renegotiating. In other words, Biden has preserved the Trump administration’s achievements as a leverage to pressure the Iranian government.
“Biden had promised to rejoin the JCPOA during the Presidential campaign. However, he follows this return as a traffic sign, which Mike Pompeo, the former Secretary of State, had designated in his twelve conditions,” Ebtekar wrote.
2- In addition to pursuing this policy, the U.S. has released from previous isolation with rejoining the JCPOA. Biden also succeeded to unify Europeans with himself. This collaboration enables him to advance several decisions against Tehran’s extortion in the Board of Governors.
Already, the U.S. was performing sanctions as the sole means for maximum pressure on the Iranian government. Now, it has added diplomatic initiatives and Europeans’ support to its arsenal to confront Tehran’s malign behaviors in different aspects.
3- Hardliners’ decisions and bills in the Parliament (Majlis) reduced the Iranian government’s tactics and restricted Tehran, instead of portraying a powerful image during the upcoming negotiations.
4- Appeals for lifting sanctions is only a mirage. Certainly, Tehran no longer has its previous position when the JCPOA was signed. In other words, Iranian officials are losing their opportunities for negotiating with the Biden administration in this status quo. They sarcastically claim that the West is missing its window for talks. However, given the country’s domestic and external crises, Iran desperately needs the West to lift sanctions not the other way round.
5- Previously, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Tehran made an agreement allows the UN nuclear watchdog to continue its inspections for three other months. However, global developments would not stop in this period.
On the other hand, the Iranian government has maintained its proxy war, including missile attacks against U.S. bases via extremist groups in Iraq and Syria. In response, the U.S. showed that it would never remain idle versus Tehran and its militias’ provocative activities.
These interactions do not benefit the Iranian government’s goals for lifting sanctions. Instead, they highlight the imperative of a firm approach toward the ayatollahs’ awful influence in the Middle East, improvement of ballistic missile’s range and power, and terrorism, according to Iran experts.
“There are concerns about positions and behaviors to go beyond conventional norms contrary to politicians’ purpose and demand in both sides. It would drive Iran and America to an unwanted path, and in fact, lose the diplomatic chance. The [IAEA] Board of Governors’ resolution can pave the path for such concerns,” wrote Iran daily on March 2.
6- Theocratic rule in Iran has grasped that it has been placed in an absolute isolation. The first sign of these isolation can be seen in the efforts of the JCPOA’s European signatories for passing a resolution at the Board of Governors. Regardless its outcome, this action displays a new balance of power, which is not in the favor of Tehran.
“The U.S. intends offering a resolution against Iran at the Board of Governors of the IAEA… The approval of such a resolution would not impossible due to the IAEA’s questions about uranium traces in two sites, the start of 20-percent enrichment after the Majlis’ bill, and the Europeans’ support [of the U.S.],” wrote Shargh daily on March 2.
“This approval undoubtedly increases international pressure on Iran and approaches the U.S. and the Europe for exert more pressure before triggering dispute mechanism in the JCPOA,” the daily added.
Iranian Media: Regime Change Is the Final Solution
In such circumstances, even Iranian state media point out the establishment’s collapse, talking over fundamental changes to resolve the country’s dilemmas.
“Even the U.S. return to the JCPOA is not equivalent to lifting sanctions. In other words, if all of Pompeo’s twelve articles are performed, all of U.S. sanctions—which have been imposed in these 40 years—would not definitely be lifted. Its intensity and weakness may change, however, some cases may be suspended,” Farhikhtegan website wrote on March 2.
“However, all sanctions would not be lifted, unless a fundamental ‘regime change’ took place in Iran. Then, some parts of sanctions will be lifted after seven, eight, or ten years,” the website added.
Moreover, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken underscored the Iranian government’s obligations. “We have been very clear that Iran has to come back into compliance with its obligations under the nuclear agreement. And if it does, we will do the same thing. And that would revolve — that would involve, if they do it, some sanctions relief. But, again, we’re a long ways from that,” said Blinken in an interview with PBS on March 3.