The United States should be the first to take a step towards Iran and, above all, weaken sanctions on the purchase of Iranian oil and unfreeze the funds of the Iranian Central Bank in foreign accounts, then it will be possible to talk about Tehran’s return to the fulfillment of the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian Nuclear Program (JCPOA), the director said. Initiatives for the Future of Iran under the Atlantic Council Barbara Slavin.
The Iranian authorities previously issued an ultimatum to the United States to return Washington to the JCPOA, threatening otherwise to reduce the number of IAEA inspectors in the country and restrict their access to facilities. In addition, Tehran intends to bring uranium enrichment to 20% (and higher, if necessary), and also to use new generation centrifuges within three months. The United States has so far made statements that first Iran should return to the terms of the JCPOA, and only then Washington will return to it.
“The Europeans say that if Iran goes further and reduces the level of cooperation with the IAEA, then they can restore UN sanctions. That is, not only Iran can play the pressure card. So I hope that we can make some progress, making at least intermediate steps”, – Slavin said.
According to her, even if Iran fulfills its threats, it is still reversible, although it complicates the whole process of reaching agreements.
The expert appreciated the intentions of the United States to resume the dialogue with Iran on the JCPOA
“I would announce that if Iran is ready not to take the steps it threatened at the end of February, then the United States will return some sanctions exemptions for Japan, South Korea, Italy, Spain, Greece so that they can buy some Iranian oil”, – said Slavin, listing the priority and the most easily feasible steps that Washington can take.
In addition, as a second measure, Iran could be allowed to use billions of dollars currently frozen in accounts in other countries for the purchase of medicines, including vaccines against coronavirus, food and other humanitarian goods, she said. This waste of money, she said, ensures that it doesn’t end up in Hezbollah.
Even if part of the funds received from the sale of oil falls into the hands of Hezbollah, the Central Bank is one of the pillars of the Iranian economy, Slavin said.
“And if you are waiting for Iran to return to compliance with the conditions (JCPOA), then these sanctions should be lifted. This does not necessarily mean that Iran will receive huge benefits, because there are still companies that will not want to work with Iran for various reasons. But at least from a legal point of view, this should be removed”, – the expert believes.
“Hopefully we’ll see something like this. I don’t know, really, if this will be enough for the Iranians to stop making the threats they pose. I hope so. It is not in their interest to put this new administration in a stalemate. I think they need to be patient and give Biden some time”, – added Slavin.
The expert recalled that the new US authorities expressed their desire to return to the agreement, and expressed the opinion that now is a good time to return everything to its previous state. Moreover, Washington, she believes, has already taken its first steps.
“I think the United States should be the first. And I think they’ve already started it in some way. On the first day, Joe Biden got rid of this “Muslim travel ban”. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has already announced that there will be a revision of the sanctions policy in the part that affects assistance in the fight against coronavirus. So Iran may receive benefits there as well. This was also a pain point”, – Slavin said.
“The United States must sign a presidential decree that cancels the decree of May 8, 2018 on the withdrawal of the United States from the agreement on the JCPOA. And then take other steps to return to its terms”, – the expert added.
The expert urged not to worry about the fact that the US administration does not take such steps immediately, since first it is necessary to let the new employees of the administration “get used to their jobs”.Persian Gulf provoked: Iran sent Russia a note of protest