Washington is trying to pressure Tehran to cut off supplies of Iranian drones to Russia. The United States is trying to build an informal agreement with Iran, but there are varying levels of complexity
It will not be a normalization of relations, or even a new Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, but the agreement that the United States and Iran could reach in the coming months (or maybe weeks) may not be so “small”, as described earlier. After indications of lowering the degree of enriched nuclear material (to 60%), after agreeing to release some American citizens detained in the Islamic Republic (now under house arrest), after melting $6 billion of Iranian assets in South Korea, Washington was going to ask Tehran Suspension of UAV sales to Russia. a moral pressure on which Iranians weigh the costs and benefits.
the financial times He writes that the discussions were part of the indirect contacts that Qatar and Oman conducted during the year. It is likely that any agreement would also be part of a regional context in which Iran would be less isolated, and also thanks to the reopening of relations with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, among the great American allies in the Middle East. Against this backdrop, it is not surprising that the former special envoy for Iran is currently on hold Robert MalleyHe returned to express himself openly. Throughout the year, he conducted the dialogue with Tehran through him, and now he is demanding fruits, one way or another.
It is unclear how much Iran intends to do on the drone issue, which would be symbolic. Tehran previously denied supplying weapons to Russia, then admitted the existence of orders, but Moscow was asked not to use them to strike Ukraine. On the contrary, Iranian drones are (and have been in recent months) one of the elements that have characterized the Russian pressure on Ukrainian cities. The attacks against civilian targets were intended to discourage the resistance of the population – perhaps to prompt them to demand surrender from the government.
The Biden administration has never hidden its desire to reform the deal with Iran affected by the decision Donald Trump Unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 Nuclear Freeze Agreement (Jcpoa). However, the reconfiguration must be sustainable, both in practical and political terms: sending drones to Russia has become an element that has made Iran politically unacceptable in the eyes of a presidency such as that of a Democrat who has served to support Kiev as a slogan. The confrontation between democracies and authoritarianism.
Just to give context: US Secretary of State, Anthony BlinkenHe said on Tuesday that the United States is pursuing a strategy of deterrence, pressure and diplomacy to ensure Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon, hold Tehran accountable for human rights abuses, and “provide drones to Russia for use in war.” Against Ukraine.” “We have made it clear that Iran must show us appeasement to create space for future diplomacy,” Blinken said. But then he specified: “The removal of our prisoners from prison and from home confinement has nothing to do with any other aspect of our Iranian policy.”
These dynamics have a notable timeline: October, once the provisions of the nuclear agreement that also limited Iran’s ballistic missile program expire. In less than two months, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany — the three European countries that signed the JCPOA — could decide to reimpose some sanctions on Tehran. These sanctions were formally suspended by agreement seven years ago, even if relations with Iran were derailed by the re-imposition of (secondary) US sanctions in 2018.
If Washington finds a square with Tehran, the European three (E3) can make more open decisions. And it probably doesn’t matter much if that “box” is going to be an informal (unwritten) agreement. The important thing is that it works effectively. That is why building a more stable course of mutual trust, in which the exchange of prisoners can be an important step. The point is to understand the extent to which the complex system within the Islamic Republic accepts dialogue with Washington.
Basically, do the Revolutionary Guards Corps (Pasdaran) and the political and economic sectors related to the military industry agree? Or, as has happened many times in the past, will they try to undermine the talks, even with mixed measures being conducted through their regional proxies? Indeed, some of the Iranian internal forces have no interest in appeasement, but they benefit (economically and in terms of influence) from the constant clash between medium and low-intensity movements with the American “Great Satan”, the ideological enemy of Khomeini. Similarly, there may be convention-breaking forces on Capitol Hill, as well as within American allies in the Middle East (primarily in Israel).
For Joe Biden, it will not be easy to claim an Iranian understanding during the US elections in 2024. And the Chinese Defense Minister’s remarks, Li Shangfu, Complicating the situation: During his visit to Belarus and Russia, Li (which was approved by the United States five years ago for military exchanges between China and Russia) said that Beijing intends to strengthen military cooperation with Tehran and Minsk using the common space of Shanghai cooperation. organized.
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