The renewed nuclear negotiations in Vienna between the remaining participants in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the 2015 landmark nuclear agreement with Iran, are going nowhere, as even the European Union now admits.
“Iran’s continued nuclear escalation means that we are rapidly reaching the end of the road,” Nicolas de Riviere the French ambassador to the United Nations, told the General Assembly of the United Nations two weeks ago. He added that this was actually the joint opinion of Britain, France, and Germany.
“We are nearing the point where Iran’s escalation of its nuclear program will have completely hollowed out the JCPOA”, France’s UN ambassador stated.
The three European nations are still part of the JCPOA and their joint statement makes it clear that those countries no longer believe it will be possible to reach a compromise with Iran.
They have no credible military plan B ready for the eventuality that the talks in Vienna collapse, however.
Iran on its part portrays itself as a victim of former US President Donald J. Trump who in 2018 decided to leave the JCPOA and heaped a series of biting sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Iran then decided to escalate its nuclear program and began to enrich uranium to a level of sixty percent.
By doing so Iran revealed the real purpose of this program since there’s no civilian use for uranium enriched to 60 percent.
However, Iran’s nuclear chief Mohammad Eslami insists that his country will not further enrich uranium up to 90 percent and claims that Iran’s nuclear activities “are carried out according to the agreements, statutes, and regulations of the International Atomic Energy Agency.”
Of course, this was a blatant lie as Iran has constantly breached the JCPOA since April 2018 and can reach break-out capacity (stockpile of enough 90 percent enriched weapon-grade uranium for one atomic bomb) within three weeks, according to Western experts.
Ali Bagheri Kani, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator accuses the western participants in the JCPOA of indulging in a “blame game” and insists his country has “worked constructively and flexibly to narrow gaps”.
“Diplomacy is a two-way street. If there’s a real will to remedy the culprit’s wrongdoing, the way for a quick, good deal will be paved”, Kani claimed referring to the USA.
The truth is, however, that Iran only came to Vienna to demand the immediate lifting of all the imposed sanctions, including those related to other belligerent activities by the Islamic Republic.
When Iran saw that its demands remained unanswered, it once again caused a time-out in the negotiations and only at the end of last week agreed to resume the discussions with the five world powers.
The US, in the meantime, continues to believe that negotiations with Iran are the best way to solve the nuclear stand-off and still doesn’t have a credible so-called ‘plan B’ in case the talks in Vienna don’t produce a better deal or an interim agreement.
The Biden Administration says it is weighing “different options” but that doesn’t seem to include the military one, although the White House now claims it had asked the Pentagon to look into the possibility of military action against Iran two months ago.
When talking about “different options” President Joe Biden is actually saying no lifting of sanctions or even fresh sanctions.
However, sanctions have proven to be fruitless in the case of Iran as the regime has always found new ways to finance its nuclear activities.
The policies of the Biden Administration regarding Iran have now led to tensions with the Israeli government for the first time since Naftali Bennett was sworn in as Israel’s new Prime Minister last June.
According to The New York Times two weeks ago, Bennett had a very tense phone call about Iran with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that left both sides frustrated.
After the call during which the Israeli PM accused Iran of blackmailing the US with the uranium enrichment, Bennett dispatched Mossad chief David Barnea and Defense Minister Benny Gantz to Washington.
This was done to share with the Americans new intelligence about Iran’s progress in uranium enrichment and the most recent activities of the weapons group of Iran’s nuclear program.
The dispatching of Barnea and Gantz came after US officials began to claim that Israel’s repeated sabotage of Iran’s nuclear sites had only encouraged the Iranians to rebuild them with more sophisticated equipment.
Bennett reportedly fears that once the US again enters the JCPOA, the Biden Administration will demand an end to Israel’s sabotage activities against Iran’s nuclear sites and has, according to Israeli media tried to talk to Biden over the phone about Iran repeatedly during the last few weeks - but to no avail.
CIA director William J. Burns seems to share Israel’s concerns about the foot-dragging by Iran in Vienna and thinks it is meant to make even more progress in the now 34-year-old nuclear program.
However, both Burns and Biden don’t think Iran has already made the decision to weaponize its nuclear program while Israel is sure that the only goal of the Iranian nuclear enterprise is to obtain nuclear weapons.
All one has to do to share Israel’s concerns is to review the scope of Iran’s nuclear program and its missile development activities.
-Iran has now thousands of centrifuges including the latest generation that can enrich uranium much faster than the old P-1 centrifuges that came originally from Pakistan.
-It has built underground nuclear facilities like the one in Fordow and has a large underground missile facility that remained secret until Israel revealed its existence earlier this year.
-In that facility, Iran has long-range ballistic missiles that can easily reach Israel and an attack on the underground missile city seems to be pointless, since the Iranians have secretly built fortifications that make the facility protected from any aerial attack.
-In recent months, Western satellites have, furthermore, located suspicious operations in a mountainous area near the Kataran ballistic missile base in Kremenchi province.
-The image decoders located the excavation of tunnels and the excavation of foundations of buildings left no room for doubt. According to US sources, this base is a potential launch point for ballistic missiles at Israel, the Gulf States, and Europe, the N12 Hebrew news site reported earlier this week.
The annihilation of Israel remains Iran’s greatest goal and this was repeated by an Iranian spokesman two days before the current negotiations in Vienna began.
Chief Iranian Army spokesman Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi said to the Iran Students News Agency (ISNA) the following about Israel.
"Israel’s annihilation is our country’s 'greatest ideal and the greatest goal we pursue.'”
Two weeks ago the regime-controlled Tehran Times made it clear that Iran has already a plan available for this greatest ideal and goal.
The paper published a map on the front page showing all the selected targets in Israel for missile strikes in case Israel makes a “wrong move”.
At the same time news broke that Iran was preparing to launch a ballistic missile with a satellite mounted on it.
The type of missile allows for the mounting of warheads or even a nuclear warhead and has a range of 2.000 kilometers, enough to reach all of Israel.
Last week, furthermore, Iran conducted a large drill that was meant as a warning to Israel.
The Iranians launched 18 ballistic missiles and rehearsed the destruction of Israel’s nuclear facility in Dimona by using large explosive devices in the desert.
“Through simulations of the Dimona atomic facilities, the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) successfully practiced attacking this critical center of the Zionist regime,” the regime-controlled Tasnim news agency reported.
Israel has now adjusted its strategies against Iran’s nuclear program and the belligerent activities of Iranian proxies in the Middle East.
First, the Israeli military received an additional $ 1.5 billion for the preparations for an attack on Iran’s nuclear program.
Secondly, Israel will now respond to attacks by Iran’s proxies such as Hezbollah with sabotage actions inside Iran which will be the work of the Mossad that has a permanent presence in the Islamic Republic and neighboring countries.
Israel has also asked the Americans to speed up the delivery of two Boeing K-46 tanker planes it needs for carrying out an attack on Iran's nuclear sites but the Biden Administration refused to respond positively.