Mark Fitzpatrick, New York, Rafael Grossi discussed on BBC Newshour
Saw me and we begin with what appears to be a case of crisis deferred rather than crisis defused after the UN's nuclear watchdog, the A Struck a deal with the new government in Tehran over the monitoring of Iran's nuclear sites. Iran's refusal to allow access to surveillance equipment had brought efforts to revive the international nuclear agreement. To the brink of rupture. The Iranians have now agreed to allow U. N inspectors to service the monitoring devices. Iran's compliance with the terms of the 2015 deal that was abandoned by President Trump. Is key to persuading the Biden administration to rejoin it and drop the sanctions that were subsequently imposed or re imposed on Tehran. There has been a growing sense of urgency to the nuclear talks after Iran broke the deals, uranium enrichment limits, and experts have suggested that the country under its new ultra conservative leader, Ebrahim Raisi, Maybe getting close to having enough material for a bomb. After his lightning visit to the Iranian capital, the head of the IAEA, Rafael Grossi, acknowledged that he had not healed any wounds but had applied some diplomatic sticking plaster. This is not a permanent solution. Peace has always being seen for me, at least as a stopped up. As a measure to allow time for diplomacy. Without us losing the basic information and data, uh, that we need. There is a new administration and administration that has clear views. So I asked Director general need to sit down with them. Expect exposed the problems and discuss them. I am glad to note that they have agreed that this is the way to go. I believe that there is a realization That this is a situation that needs to be preserved to give space for diplomacy so that wider solutions can be reached in the short term. This agreement could see off a censure motion for Iran at the I A E a meeting in Vienna this week. Delta Side Marandi, professor at Tehran University. Welcome today's development. It is a positive sign. We still have to see what happens in Vienna. I think it's not in the interests of the Europeans to escalate the situation because they know quite well that it was the United States that brought us to this point. So we have to see if the meeting in Vienna passes off well and then if that happens, then we have to see if the United States is willing to change its position and fully implement the nuclear deal. The Iranian Um so Are quite prepared to fully implement the jcpoa and have the deal with sword. But the problem is that the United States wants to make changes to the deal, and they want to keep certain sanctions in place that are violation of the spirit of the deal. So the Iranians are saying that's not acceptable. It's either the full implementation of the judgeship Oh A or no implementation of the J C P A The Jcpoa, of course, the acronym for the Nuclear Deal. Will someone who doesn't need to be reminded of that is joining us now on the line. There's some. We talked about Iran frequently on the program. Mark Fitzpatrick, associate fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Welcome to news hour. And would you agree with Mr Grassi that this is a temporary solution? Oh, exactly. And I think you put it very well. A crisis differed, not diffused. So, um, does this do enough then to stop this censure motion going through? Oh, yes, I think for the time being this is enough to, uh, I mean, diplomats were involved in arranging grosses visit to Tehran and they knew that if he went there, he would get some temporary deal that would allow them. Not to press forward with a censure motion. So for the time being, this preserves the possibility that diplomacy can still resolve the crisis. So what's the bigger picture here? Where does this leave the efforts to try and revive the J C P O A. Right. Well, there's two sets of issues so but just on this one of reviving the jcpoa a, uh I agree in part with your guest you had from Tehran. Dr. Marandi, Um, when he talked about restoring the you know, the full JCP away, the United States is certainly ready to do that. Uh, there's a couple of sticking points. Though one Iran wants to do more than restore the jcpoa. They want the United States to remove all other sanctions that President Trump imposed that have nothing to do with the jcpoa and that would not impeded. But one thing Washington has been asking would go beyond the J C. P A. And that's this request to, uh, also discussed other issues. And this is one where Washington may have to show some flexibility. If Iran shows flexibility on the number of sanctions that have to be lifted, and then a couple things about sequencing and, um, in compensation. The fact that they have allowed the inspectors to service these monitoring devices. Does that suggest that this new government is then capable and willing to be flexible? I would say it shows this new government is diplomatically savvy that they realized that they had to do something to avoid censure because that would be the first step. In a series of resolutions that would find them again in New York, and they waited until the last minute and they employed brinksmanship very well making threats and then doing just enough to avoid the censure. So, um, you know, this is a skillful government, but flexibility. I haven't seen that yet. They still haven't shown any flexibility. In the demands that the supreme leader was making, you know they could have solved this back in the spring any time former foreign Minister Javad Zarif in his report to the parliament on July, 12th detailed all the compromises the United States had made and said, You know, Iran should just go ahead and and and do the deal. So what does that suggest to you that they're playing for time that they are building up their capability and and what stringing the international community along? Well, yeah, I think they think that by building up their their nuclear capability that they're they're gaining leverage that you know the pressure is on the United States and the Europeans to make further concessions in order to avoid Iran getting closer and closer to being able to produce a nuclear weapon. The problem is that Iran is over playing its hand because as they get closer to this capability, uh, you know they're the United States and and and in Israel will be thinking of other options to stop it. Uh, Israel is already laying out what it calls a strategy of 1000 cuts And meanwhile, the benefits of the deal are decreasing because Iran's Uh, you know, it's going beyond the limits of the deal gives it knowledge that cannot be undone. So I don't know that we ever can get back to the benefits of the deal as they were first agreed in 2015. Can there be some benefits, but surely without them? There's going to be no point in trying to restore the deal. Yeah, that's that's the thing. There will be some benefits. Certainly they won't be all of the benefits of the 2015. And then you know the United States and its partners will have to decide. Are the benefits sufficient? I think they are, you know, for, for example, there's this issue of trying to get back to having a 12 month. Breakout period. That's the amount of time Iran theoretically would take to be able to produce a weapons worth of highly enriched uranium 12 months as an arbitrary figure. 11 months would be just as good 10 months would be okay. And but politically, it would be very hard for for Biden to walk back from what had been Obama's 12 Month period. Still, I think there's a possibility for flexibility there. An optimistic note to end on Mark Fitzpatrick, associate fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Thanks very much..