July 20 did not happen to be the date of Iran’s nuclear problem’s final settlement. The Iran’s talks with the «big 6» (5 United Nations Security Council members and Germany) are prolonged till November 24. The pause was proposed by the United States, Great Britain, France and Germany who sent their foreign chiefs to Vienna. The heads of foreign offices from China and Russia did not go to Vienna themselves; their states were represented by deputy minsters. Iran agreed to wait so Moscow and Beijing put up no objections. The commentaries differ. On the optimistic note the majority hope the next meeting will take place in August. The details of the next round of talks are still to be made precise.
The break itself does not solve any problems. A year will have passed since the parties adopted in Geneva a joint plan of action to guarantee that the Iranian nuclear program is used only for peaceful purposes in exchange for lifting international sanctions from the Islamic Republic. But the stances may drastically change. The talks may end up without any result. First, the document is effective for a year since the date of signature. It means the agreement has to be prepared no later than November 24, 2014. The talks cannot go on forever and the remaining four months are announced to be the last chance. Second, the talks are hindered because of the remaining lack of trust on the part of the Western «big six». No matter there have been six rounds of talks since November last year, the US State Secretary John Kerry insists there must be a proof that Iran has no plans to acquire nuclear weapons. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the coming four months of extended nuclear negotiations between the West and Iran may be the last chance to reach a peaceful solution for a long time. There is no explanation why the United States and the European Union display such mistrust towards Tehran.
Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Ryabkov, the head of Russian delegation at the talks, does not agree with his Western counterparts. Iran is complying with the full amount of its obligations under an interim agreement it reached last November at the talks in Geneva with the P 5 + 1 negotiators, said the Russian diplomat. «There are no remarks (on the compliance with obligations) for the time being and the Iranians are acting on all the obligations they undersigned», Sergei Ryabkov said. Iranian Foreign Minister Zavad Zarif said there are major differences of opinion remaining concerning the lifting of sanctions against Tehran. The whole process boils down to US-Iran bargaining. Tehran has gone great strides making concessions. At the end of the tunnel it sees complete lifting of sanctions in exchange for enrichment of uranium. Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei takes a firm position, saying the nuclear research will never stop because Iran has to be ready to stand up to hostile states. He made this fundamental statement after the recent round ended in failure and the talks were delayed.
Iran is aware that America and its allies will use the time for making the final conditions of the deal tougher. The proposals made by Tehran appear to be insufficient for the West because there is no refusal of Iranian legal right for uranium enrichment. The United States would like the agreement with Iran to be similar to the one concluded with Syria on chemical weapons including the elimination of all industrial facilities capable of uranium enrichment. The text of the current agreement allows Tehran to produce and enrich uranium under supervision. The West believes the Iranian society is too close and intransparent to make it effective. The Washington’s stance on the issue coincides with the one of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who warned that the U.S. should not agree to any pact with Iran that does not dismantle the country’s nuclear capabilities. Any deal that doesn’t destroy Iran’s nuclear program would be a «catastrophic development», he said. Israeli Prime Minister warns that the ayatollah’s ruled Iran cannot have a nuclear bomb. The nuclear capable Israel is not afraid of Iranian nuclear potential; its goal is to keep the sanctions in force to prevent the economic revival of Iran.
The lifting of sanctions is not an issue as yet. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov says the United States and the European Union have stopped increasing the burden of sanctions; the pressing in some areas has eased. True the West has abstained from imposing new sanctions against Iran since the talks kicked off last fall. But it does not ease the imposed restrictions. The oil embargo is in effect, Iranian banks are isolated and cut off from international financial system and that’s among other things. The West has unfrozen another $2, 8 billion of Iranian assets. This is the Iranian money received for oil export. The oil supplies abroad have not even reached the half of what it had been before the oil embargo was imposed. Today the Americans have become «soft» enough to allow Tehran take $500 million monthly from their multibillion accounts.
The West never believed the sanctions alone could have stopped the Iran’s nuclear program; it’s only an element of the whole specter of issues related to the Iran’s nuclear program. It’s nothing else but a leverage to exercise pressure and dictate twisting the Iran’s arms. Washington needs another Iran, the one to comply with its orders and supporting the US Middle East strategy, in particular in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf. It’s obvious the White House wants to drive a wedge in the relationship between Tehran and Moscow. The Iranian problem has always been too politicized. Washington still cherishes the dream of regime change in Iran. By dragging time when it comes to lifting the sanctions, Americans undermine the Iranian people’s trust to Iranian leadership led by Hassan Rouhani. They drive the government of Iran to the wall providing extra chances to its opponents who keep on dreaming to refuse the idea of diplomatic settlement of Iran’s nuclear problem. This kind of US policy has been unchanged for more than thirty years. It paralyzes the Iranian economy and also hurts the US. Sanctions against Iran cost the U.S. as much as $175.3 billion in lost export opportunities over 18 years, according to a new report from the National Iranian American Council. Losing out on selling to Iran has cost the U.S. an average of between 51,043 and 66,436 jobs for every year between 1995 and 2012, according to the study from NIAC, a critic of U.S. sanctions policy that represents Iranian American before lawmakers. The study, released exclusively to the Wall Street Journal, calculated the losses based on how much trade would be expected between two economies the size of U.S. and Iran, accounting for distance. «If we’re going to discuss whether sanctions are worth the price, you need know the price», said Trita Parsi, president of NIAC. «Especially as we are talking about whether to move forward with this policy». Mr. Parsi said sanctions against Iran have escalated the crisis and hardened the regime’s hand. U.S. policy makers have argued that ramping up sanctions helped push Iran to negotiate and may have persuaded Iranians to elect President Hassan Rouhani, viewed as more moderate than the previous leadership. The White House has insisted the sanctions have always been imposed in concert with the European Union to produce maximum effect. Perhaps Europe has lost much too while supporting the America attitude towards Iran. Soft sanctions are never effective, but when they get tough – the damage is mutual. US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew repeated after Kerry that the United States will not expedite lifting the sanctions imposed on Iran because the sanctions’ regime has put the Iranian economy into a complicated situation and is working as an effective instrument in dialogue with Tehran.
Nothing new in the US foreign policy thinking. If there is a dialogue, then it is conducted from the position of strength, direct dictate and threats. The widely publicized diplomatic efforts of President Obama aimed at putting an end to confrontation with Tehran still pursue the very same goal – it’s nor a compromise that is expected from Tehran, but rather complete capitulation.