Ryan Costello, Policy Director at the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), issued the following statement on the resumption of Iran nuclear talks in Vienna on November 29, 2021, urging the parties to return to the JCPOA on a compliance-for-compliance basis:
“After several months without negotiations and continued nuclear expansion from Iran, negotiators are reconvening in Vienna with low expectations. Iran’s domestic politics have not allowed for a rapid restoration of the agreement, while America’s domestic politics have shaken confidence that the U.S. will honor the commitments made at the negotiating table again. The end result is dampened expectations that the parties can ever reach the finish line.
“While realistic expectations are warranted, too much pessimism can muddy the simple reality that there is no good “Plan B” for the U.S., Iran, or the other parties to the agreement. For the U.S., a less-for-less agreement that offers far fewer benefits than the JCPOA may not necessarily be on the table. That could push policymakers to choose between Iran on the threshold of a nuclear breakout or a disastrous bombing campaign that would spread chaos and misery but could not erase Iran’s nuclear know-how.
“Iran may think, as well, that it has weathered the maximum pressure storm. However, a no deal outcome would effectively perpetuate a sanctions regime that decimates the nation’s economy and society. As demonstrated in the protests in Isfahan, which were outrageously broken up by brute force from Iran’s security forces, the people of Iran have many unmet needs that the ‘resistance economy’ has failed to address.
“Thankfully, there is a solution to the nuclear and sanctions questions at hand – provided no party overplays its hand and each demonstrates flexibility on its demands. The U.S. should show seriousness and flexibility to deliver verifiable sanctions relief in practice. Independent goodwill gestures should also be enacted to help the people of Iran combat Covid-19 and build goodwill at the negotiating table. Iran, meanwhile, should pick up where the prior administration left off and show seriousness rather than posturing at the negotiating table. As a goodwill gesture, it should free dual nationals who have been unjustly held as bargaining chips. There is no time to waste. We urge the parties to finalize the deal without delay.”
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