Hopes that Iranian hardliners will revive the nuclear deal rise

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Iran nuclear agreement update

Four months ago, after the European Union imposed sanctions on eight Iranians and three entities for human rights violations, Hussein Amirabdorahian denounced European countries and accused them of having “1,000 faces.”

The Iranian diplomat criticized the decision on social media when Britain, France and Germany were also mediating negotiations between Iran and the United States to restore the 2015 nuclear agreement signed by Tehran and the world powers. The Iranian diplomat stated that the White House And Europe can not be trusted.

“They are part of the problem, not the solution,” he wrote on Twitter.

Now, after being nominated as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran this week, the hardliner Amirab Dorakian, who has close ties with Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards Corps, will become the main interlocutor with the West.

He succeeded Mohammad Javad Zarif (Mohammad Javad Zarif), a senior diplomat who was educated in the United States. When dealing with Western powers, he combined charm and skills as the diplomatic leader of Iran. Spokesperson.

Zarif is one of the main supporters of the nuclear agreement. Three years ago, after the then U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned the agreement, as tensions with the West soared, he helped sign the agreement and then tried to maintain it. vitality.

But Iranian analysts are optimistic that 57-year-old Iranian university graduate Amirabdollahian may be able to revive the agreement and achieve more lasting diplomatic results. They said that his ties to the powerful and hardline factions at the core of the regime would give him greater domestic influence than Zarif, who himself admitted that the latter was often undermined by the Revolutionary Guards.

“Under Amirabdollahian’s leadership, we will not see more activism, but more coordination between the diplomatic and military fields,” said a regime insider.

President Ibrahim Raisi, The hard-line clergy who took office this month After winning the June election, he said that his government would continue to cooperate with Restart the nuclear agreement. But with Control hardliners Among all the power centers of the regime, some in Tehran expect the new president to take a tougher position than his predecessor, Hassan Rouhani, who is the other trader. Designers.

European officials regard Zarif as an important opponent of the regime and a diplomat with whom they can engage in meaningful discussions. But they also admitted that nuclear negotiations and relations with Iran do not depend on individuals.

Ali Wazi, director of the International Crisis Organization think tank, said that Amirabudorahian’s appointment “represents a deep country on the international stage.” But he added that as Minister of Foreign Affairs, he could become a “more capable interlocutor” than Zarif.

“You no longer have the kind of friction between the government and the deep state, which proved to be a serious obstacle to his predecessor’s initiative,” Watts said.

Although Amirabdollahian has little contact with the West, a person in contact with a US official said that the diplomat was known by senior figures in the administration of President Joe Biden. Biden’s Iranian special envoy Rob Marley and U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Feiner worked with him on Syrian issues during the Obama administration.

Natanz Uranium Enrichment Plant in Iran. The new president, Ebrahim Raisi, said his government will continue to negotiate with world powers to restore the nuclear agreement © AP

A Western diplomat based in Tehran said that reaching an agreement to lift US sanctions is Raisi’s priority. The diplomat added that Lai Xi “has tempered his aggressive remarks… so as not to affect the process.”

The diplomat said: “It is not clear when Iran is ready to resume negotiations, what new methods Iran will adopt and who will become the negotiators.”

Amirabdollahian is no stranger to nuclear negotiations. In 2013, he participated in secret discussions with Omani officials. This led to a secret meeting with Americans and Europeans, which was the predecessor of the 2015 agreement.

He is also a well-known entity for Iran’s Arab rivals. He has served as the former deputy foreign minister in charge of Arab and African affairs, as well as diplomats in Iraq, Syria and Bahrain.

Both Raisi and Amirabdollahian stated that they would pursue a foreign policy that prioritizes regional issues, and hinted that they could seek to repair relations with Arab opponents, especially Saudi Arabia.

Amirabdorahian said last month that given Raisi’s background, Iran’s foreign policy will be “balanced diplomatic relations, active and vibrant relations” with East and West, with “particular attention to neighboring countries and Asia”. .

The regime insider stated that Tehran “has no choice but to improve relations with regional countries” because it has fallen into a shadow war with Israel, and the two countries accuse each other of recent attacks on its shipping and other targets.

“The more hostile our relations with countries in the region are, the stronger Israel will be,” he said.

Conservative analyst Mohammad Mohajeri said that the choice of Amirabdollahian over more radical figures who oppose the nuclear agreement shows that Raisi wants to avoid escalation of tensions with the enemy.

“We will not see a major change in foreign policy,” he said. “Under the leadership of Amirabdollahian and Zarif, the results—not the methods—will be more or less the same.”

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