As part of a larger US effort to defuse tensions and reduce the risk of a military conflict with the Islamic Republic, the Biden administration will limit Tehran’s nuclear program and imprison Americans, according to officials in the three countries. It is said that it is quietly negotiating with Iran for the release of
The US goal is to reach an informal and unwritten agreement that some Iranian officials call a “political ceasefire.” Iran’s stockpile of highly enriched uranium to near bomb-grade purity, supply of drones to Russia for use in Ukraine, and its brutal crackdown could prevent further escalation of years of hostilities. will be the purpose. Domestic political protests.
A rough outline of the meeting was confirmed by three senior Israeli officials, one Iranian official and one US official. U.S. officials are reluctant to discuss the effort to win the release of prisoners of war in detail, other than to say it is an urgent U.S. priority.
Part of the indirect talks took place in the Gulf Arab state of Oman this spring, reflecting the resumption of diplomacy between the United States and Iran following the collapse of Iran. More than a year of negotiations to restore the 2015 nuclear deal, severely restricted Iran’s activities in exchange for sanctions relief. Iran accelerated its nuclear program months after President Donald J. Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal. imposed a number of new sanctions About this country in 2018.
Iran would agree to a new deal, described by two Israeli officials as “imminent,” not to enrich uranium beyond its current production level of 60% purity.That is It’s close to, but not quite, the 90% purity needed to make nuclear weapons, but the US warns that reaching this level will require tougher action.
Iran will also halt deadly attacks on US contractors in Syria and Iraq by agents in the region, expand cooperation with international nuclear inspectors, and launch ballistic missile attacks against Russia, according to Iranian officials. He said he plans to refrain from selling.
In return, Iran will hope the US will avoid the tougher sanctions that are already weighing on its economy. Do not seize foreign oil tankers, as they did just recently in April. And do not seek new punitive resolutions from the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency for Iran’s nuclear activities.
“None of these are aimed at reaching a landmark agreement,” said Ali Baez, the head of Iran at the International Crisis Group. Basically, it aims to put a lid on any activity that crosses a line that should not be crossed.” Otherwise, either party will be put in a position to retaliate in ways that destabilize the status quo. ”
“The aim is to stabilize tensions and create time and space to discuss future diplomacy and the nuclear deal,” Baez said.
Iran will also unfreeze billions of dollars in Iranian assets that the United States uses exclusively for humanitarian purposes in exchange for the release of three Iranian-American prisoners whom the United States claims to be unjustly held. I hope that. U.S. officials have not confirmed any such link between prisoners of war and money, or any link between prisoners of war and the nuclear issue.
In what appears to be a sign of a developing deal, the US last week announced a waiver allowing Iraq to pay $2.76 billion in energy debt to Iran. The State Department said the funds would be restricted to use on items such as food and medicine by third-party vendors approved by the United States.
This leaves billions of dollars in the hands of a ruthless dictatorship whose administration has killed demonstrators, supported Russia’s war effort in Ukraine, and financed anti-Israel proxies like Hamas and Hezbollah. This may alleviate concerns that the Republicans have released billions of dollars of frozen Iranian cash, accusing the Obama administration of allowing it to subsidize terrorist activities.
Iranian officials are also seeking to charge an estimated $7 billion worth of oil purchases held in South Korea in connection with the release of American prisoners of war. The money will also be restricted to humanitarian use and held in Qatari banks, according to Iranian officials and several people familiar with the negotiations.
The renewed U.S. focus on Iran’s nuclear program comes amid growing concerns within the Biden administration that Iran could trigger a crisis by further enriching its uranium.
“The United States seems to have made it very clear to Iran that reaching 90% will pay a huge price,” said Dennis Ross, who helped shape Middle East policy for several U.S. presidents. Ross, speaking from Israel, was meeting with security officials familiar with the recent talks.
At the same time, Ross said he didn’t want another crisis in the Biden administration. “They want Ukraine and Russia to remain a priority and focus,” he said. “If there is a war in the Middle East, they know how it will start, but they don’t know how it will end. That’s what they don’t want.”
“Rumors about the nuclear deal, provisional or not, are false or misleading,” State Department spokesman Matt Miller said at a press conference Wednesday.
“Our number one policy is to ensure that Iran never acquires nuclear weapons, so naturally we have been monitoring Iran’s nuclear enrichment activities,” Miller added. “We believe diplomacy is the best way to achieve that, but we are prepared for all conceivable options and contingencies.”
But if the outcome reaches the informal understanding stated by multiple officials, whether the United States denies the pending “nuclear deal” could depend on semantics. Such an understanding would also eliminate the need for approval from the US Congress, which is deeply hostile to Iran.
In an unexpected rhetorical turn, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday that he could support a deal with the West if Iran’s nuclear infrastructure remained intact, state media reports said. . Ayatollah Khamenei also said Iran should maintain at least some cooperation with international nuclear inspectors.
Israel has warned that Iran could suffer dire consequences for producing bomb-worthy uranium. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said: “If Iran gets rich to 90% weaponization levels, it would be a big mistake and the price would be high.” said in May.
Even if Iran used high-speed centrifuges to refine uranium to levels suitable for making nuclear weapons, it would still take time to build such a bomb. In March, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, said: told the House subcommittee. That process could take “months”.
“The U.S. military has developed multiple options that national leaders can consider if and when Iran decides to develop nuclear weapons,” Milley added.
A senior Israeli defense official said Israel estimates it will take longer for Iran to build the bomb, at least a year and possibly two years or more, and Milley’s comments underscore the urgency of a new deal. said it reflected the U.S. effort to convey With Tehran as soon as possible.
Iran has long insisted its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. Evidence of Research on Nuclear Military Capabilities.
The Biden administration’s diplomatic relations with Iran resumed late last year, when US special envoy Robert Murray met twice with Iran’s envoy to the United Nations, Amir Saeed Irabbani, according to people familiar with the talks. In early May, White House Middle East Coordinator Brett McGurk traveled to Oman with an Iranian delegation, including Tehran’s chief of staff for nuclear talks Ali Bagheri Khani, for indirect talks mediated by Oman, according to the report. The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed on Monday.
During negotiations to restore the deal in 2015, Iran refused to meet directly with US officials.
In a statement to the New York Times, the Iranian UN mission did not give details of the talks, but said it was “important to create a new atmosphere and move forward from the status quo.”
The new talks have troubled some Israeli officials, and the implementation of the new deal could reduce Western economic pressure on Iran and even lead to a broader nuclear deal, Israel said. They fear that it could throw a lifeline into Iran’s economy without sufficiently impeding its nuclear programme. .
Ross said a modest deal to de-crash could be useful, but only if it’s time bound. Iran has so far Construction of new underground facilitiesHe noted that it would likely withstand the bunker-destroying bombs that now threaten existing U.S. nuclear facilities.
“The stronger the military option, the less effective the military option,” Ross said. “Buying time from that perspective is good for Iran.”