Syrian sanctions relief: An ‘American trick’

March 14 2023

Photo Credit: The Cradle

The temporary lifting of Washington’s sanctions on earthquake-stricken and war-torn Syria is ‘misleading’ at best, and stands in the way of relief efforts.

By The Cradle’s Syria Correspondent

Four days after the devastating earthquake that struck southern Turkiye and northern Syria on 6 February, the US announced it would temporarily ease its Syrian sanctions in an effort to speed up aid deliveries to the country.

Specifically, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued Syria General License (GL) 23, which allows a 180-day Syrian sanctions exemption for “all transactions related to earthquake relief efforts.” The EU followed suit later by also freezing some of its sanctions on Damascus.

But do these measures really represent a comprehensive freeze on sanctions against Syria? And are these partial suspensions proportional to the scale of the disaster that leveled the Syrian north?

A more detailed examination of these US “sanction exemptions” reveals that this humanitarian gesture was little more than a public relations stunt to placate growing Arab and Global South displeasure with Washington’s efforts to starve out Syria – sentiments that spiked quite notably after the earthquake.

The US sanctions suspension, for all practical purposes, is limited to the sending of emergency funds from “acceptable” sources. Washington, after all, still controls the process entirely – sanctions can be imposed on remittance senders at any time.

Furthermore, US sanction exemptions have not reduced the reluctance of foreign institutions and individuals to participate in Syria’s economy – even in sectors that are not explicitly targeted by the US and EU. The UN calls this unfortunate byproduct of western sanctions regimes “excessive compliance with sanctions,” because of the fear of running afoul of western financial regulators.

Suffocating sanctions

Damascus has been targeted by US sanctions since 1979 for siding with Tehran in the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988). With the outbreak of the war in Syria in 2011, US President Barack Obama expanded previously imposed sanctions under the Syria Accountability Act (2004) as part of a western effort to create political, economic, and military pressures on the Syrian government.

These new sanctions covered practically all sectors, imposing financial restrictions on individuals, entities, facilities, institutions, ministries, the medical sector, and state banks. They were pervasive and punished all Syrians: banning passenger flights, restricting oil exports (the US, through its Kurdish proxy, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), controls the oil fields in northeastern Syria), preventing the export or re-export of US goods to Syria, preventing the export of Syrian products overseas, freezing Syrian assets abroad, and severing diplomatic relations with Damascus.

This sanctions overload reached a climax with the ominous Caesar Act (2019) and Captagon Act (2022). The former granted Washington the power to impose sanctions against any individual or entity, regardless of their nationality, who engages with Syria in infrastructure and energy projects, provides financial, material, or technological support to the Syrian government, or provides the Syrian military forces with goods or services.

In 2022, the US Congress passed the Captagon Act, which targeted Syria’s pharmaceutical industry, one of the country’s most successful commercial sectors, which provides more than 90 percent of Syria’s medicine needs. This US domestic legislation grants itself the authority to monitor Syrian borders, and seeks to “legitimize” its military forces’ illegal presence in Syria.

License to chill

On 10 February, the administration of President Joe Biden issued Syria General License (GL) 23, which temporarily eases sanctions on Syria and allows for the additional flow of much needed humanitarian aid into the country. However, the statement issued alongside the decision indicates that this “exemption” has many limitations.

While removing sanctions entirely requires US congressional approval, suspending the ban on certain financial transactions with Syria for a short duration is the prerogative of the American president, and is often used as leverage to gain political concessions from US-sanctioned states.

An example of this is the 2015 nuclear negotiations with Tehran, when Obama issued licenses to freeze some US sanctions on Iran before his successor, Donald Trump, withdrew from the agreement in 2018 and reactivated the sanctions.

press release issued by OFAC stated that GL 23 “provides the broad authorization necessary to support immediate disaster relief efforts in Syria.” It added that “U.S. and intermediary financial institutions should have what they need in GL23 to immediately process all earthquake relief transactions.”

The GL 23 “authorized all transactions related to earthquake relief efforts in Syria that would be otherwise prohibited by the Syrian Sanctions Regulations (SySR).” Importantly, it also states that “US financial institutions and US registered money transmitters may rely on the originator of a funds transfer with regard to compliance with this general license, provided that the financial institution does not know or have reason to know that the funds transfer is not in compliance with this general license.”

This language ensures that Washington retains the authority to investigate any transfers and punish money senders at any later date, on charges that the transfers are not related to relief efforts.

Another caveat, as per OFAC’s press release: “The Department of the Treasury will continue to monitor the situation in Syria and engage with key humanitarian and disaster assistance stakeholders, including NGOs, IOs, and key partners and allies.”

This essentially excludes dealings with Syrian government institutions, and prevents money transfers directly to state entities, including the Central Bank of Syria. Keep in mind that the distribution of all international humanitarian aid is directed via the Syrian government, as per the regulations and laws of the state.

This US “sanctions relief” caveat elicited a high-pitched response from the Syrian Foreign Ministry, in which it described Washington’s offering as “misleading, and aims to give a false humanitarian impression.”

Last May, the US lifted sanctions on foreign investments in areas outside of Syrian government control. The Treasury Department issued an authorization that now allows for “activities” in 12 different economic sectors in parts of northeast and northwest Syria without fear of US sanctions. This move was aimed at stimulating economic growth in areas controlled by US-backed Kurdish militias and Turkish-backed militants.

Hindering relief efforts

Washington’s sanctions have had direct consequences on international relief efforts following the earthquake. The United Nations and relief organizations were delayed in providing urgent life-or-death assistance to Syria, which the UN blamed on road and infrastructure obstacles and a “lack of fuel” – an implicit reference to the western sanctions that have deprived the country of its critical oil wealth.

Syria’s entire health sector has suffered directly from US sanctions because of power outages and the inability to purchase vital medical equipment needed to treat patients. According to estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO), around 20 medical facilities were damaged by the earthquake and need rehabilitation, but US sanctions prevent the restoration of these facilities, either through a direct ban or because foreign medical companies fear sanctions repercussions for dealing with the Syrian Ministry of Health.

Sanctions have doubled the suffering of Syrian earthquake survivors in terms of securing urgent relief materials and rehabilitating their damaged housing units. As such, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for the lifting of sanctions that impede relief efforts.

“This is a moment in which everybody has to make very clear that no sanctions of any kind interfere with relief to the population of Syria in the present moment,” he said.

A Syrian relief source, who asked not to be named, informs The Cradle that the response of international organizations to the Syrian disaster still remains below standard due to poor funding and the difficulty of sending relief and medical materials because of the sanctions.

He explains that the impact of the US exemption license is almost negligible, as “the disaster will have a very long term impact. In normal circumstances, we need years of work, let alone the [additional burden of] sanctions.”

US ignores global calls to lift sanctions

In her preliminary report after a 12-day visit to Syria in November 2022, UN Special Rapporteur on Unilateral Coercive Measures and Human Rights Alina Dohan presented detailed information about the catastrophic effects of unilateral sanctions on Syrian citizens and the decline in their living standards.

Douhan called for the western sanctions imposed on Syria to be lifted immediately and stressed that they are illegal under international law.

The goal of US sanctions is to continue the wholesale destruction of a regional adversary that it wasn’t able to achieve during a decade-long, brutal war. Millions of Syrians were killed, injured, and displaced in a conflict funded and armed by external parties.

The February earthquakes just exacerbated the suffering that Syrians have endured for years, with official Syrian statistics claiming around half a million people affected, in addition to the damage of tens of thousands of housing units.

In a preliminary report, the World Bank estimates the direct damages of the earthquake in Syria at $5.1 billion. The destruction has affected four of Syria’s 14 governorates, which are home to approximately 10 million of the country’s population. These include Aleppo, Hama, and Latakia, which are under the control of the Syrian government, and Idlib, which is under the control of Al-Qaeda-affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Aleppo, with a population of 4.2 million people, was the most affected ($2.3 billion), followed by Idlib ($1.9 billion) and Latakia ($549 million).

Despite exemptions for humanitarian aid, the impact of US sanctions on Syria has been significant, hindering the ability of humanitarian organizations to operate effectively in the country. The negative impact of these sanctions undermines any claims by Washington to support the Syrian people, especially in light of the ongoing humanitarian crisis.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

China urges Washington to end ‘occupation and marauding’ of Syria

March 11 2023

(Photo Credit: Reuters)

Beijing has repeatedly called on the White House to end its illegal practices inside Syria; the nation was also among the first to send aid to Syria following last month’s earthquake

By News Desk

China has repeated calls for the US to end its illegal military occupation of Syria and stop looting the country’s resources, stressing that its continued presence has worsened Syria’s humanitarian crisis.

“We call on the United States to sincerely respect the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of other countries and to immediately stop its illegal military presence and marauding in Syria,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said during a news conference on 11 March.

“The United States has illegally intervened in military activities related to the Syrian crisis, which has led to the death of a large number of innocent civilians and a serious humanitarian disaster,” Mao added before calling on US officials to lift crushing economic sanctions on Syria.

Beijing’s call came just two days after US lawmakers voted against a War Powers Resolution that called for withdrawing troops from Syria.

Around 900 US troops are currently deployed in the Levantine nation, controlling nearly a third of the country and a large portion of its oil fields. Their deployment is illegal under international law as it was not approved by the government in Damascus.

This is not the first time Beijing has bashed Washington’s illegal presence in Syria. Back in January, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Syria’s energy crisis and humanitarian disaster are a result of the US and its proxy militias plundering its resources.

“US stationing troops in Syria is illegal. US smuggling oil and grain from Syria is illegal. US missile attacks against Syria are also illegal,” he said then.

A year ago, Chinese and Syrian officials signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) welcoming Damascus into the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Launched nine years ago, the BRI is a mega-infrastructure project that seeks to bring capital and infrastructure to Global South countries while dramatically strengthening connectivity for commerce, finance, and culture.

China was among the first nations to send aid to Syria following last month’s devastating earthquake when aid deliveries from the west were being held up due to US sanctions.

Caesar ActChinaEarthquakehumanitarian crisisoccupation forcesoil theftsanctionsSyriaUS

Syrian Sanctions Must Be Lifted!

Vanessa Beeley



Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder of the Schiller Institute and Chair of Bürgerrechtsbewegung Solidarität (BüSo)

Col. (Ret.) Richard Black, former head of the US Army Criminal Law Division at the Pentagon; former Virginia State Senator

Vanessa Beeley, British activist and writer, expert on Syria

Marwa Osman, needs no introduction. One of the best known Resistance voices from Lebanon.

The West, with all its supposed “values,” is refusing to lift the harsh economic sanctions against Syria. That means that very, very limited aid is reaching the earthquake victims in Syria. Most attempted aid is being blocked. In Türkiye, the death and destruction brought on by the earthquakes has been described as the worst catastrophe in 100 years. Syria, which was hit with the same earthquakes, has millions of people in dire need of immediate help. There is so much which must be built now, to provide shelter and basic human services to these suffering people. How can political figures like German Foreign Minister Baerbock, and in the United States, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, talk about democracy and human rights while refusing to lift the murderous sanctions on Syria?

Blinken has not fired his spokesperson Ned Price, after Price’s horrendous response on Feb. 6 to a journalist. The journalist said, given that the United States still recognizes the Syrian government: “So why not reach out to the Syrian Government? They are in power. They’re the ones that run these rescue operations or aid operations and so on. It would be a great gesture. Another gesture would be to sort of the lift the sanctions that have basically suffocated Syria.”

Price answered: “Said, I’m going to resist the temptation to go into your advocacy rather than questioning. But I will make the point that it would be quite ironic, if not even counterproductive, for us to reach out to a government [that is] responsible for much of the suffering that they have endured.”

These “sanctioning” governments have lost all credibility, with their despicable behavior in regard to the victims of the Turkish-Syrian earthquakes.

Everyone who is a decent human being should demand an immediate lifting of the Caesar sanctions on Syria, which has been hit with sanctions from the United States and many other nations, in an escalating manner, for more than 10 years. Even before the earthquakes, that nation has been suffering more than 90% of its people living in poverty as a result of economic, military, and terrorist actions against it, which escalated in 2011. What is happening against Syria is completely unconscionable. It’s the declaration of bankruptcy of the West if they don’t change their behavior:

Iran Demands ‘Strong’ Economic Guarantees in JCPOA Revival Talks – FM

July 15, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said it is a “necessity” for Iran to gain economic benefits from the 2015 agreement and thus wants “strong” guarantees in talks on a potential revival of the deal, which the US abandoned unilaterally three years after its conclusion.

“We seek strong economic guarantees. If a Western company signs a contract with its Iranian counterpart, it must rest assured that its project will be implemented and it will receive compensation in case new sanctions are imposed,” Amir Abdollahian, who is on a visit to Rome, said in a Wednesday interview with Italian newspaper la Repubblica.

The top Iranian diplomat added that the issue of guarantees is one of the biggest obstacles in the talks aimed at restoring the 2015 deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA].

Elsewhere in his remarks, Amir Abdollahian was asked about reports on Washington’s refusal to remove the Islamic Revolution Guard [IRG] from its blacklist.

He said during last month’s indirect talks between Iran and the US — mediated by the European Union — in the Qatari capital of Doha, Tehran proposed putting off the issues related to Washington’s so-called list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations [FTOs].

“But we must be certain that the Iranian companies enjoy the economic benefits and their own share of the agreement. Making economic benefits in the JCPOA is a necessity. We do not ask for anything that goes beyond the nuclear agreement,” Amir Abdollahian said.

He also noted that Tehran and Washington are in contact through the EU on possible ways to remove anti-Iran sanctions, saying both sides should have flexibility and initiatives.

Iran and the US concluded two days of indirect talks, mediated by the European Union, in the Qatari capital of Doha, late last month in an attempt to break the stalemate in reviving the JCPOA.

At the end of the talks, Iran and the EU said they would keep in touch “about the continuation of the route and the next stage of the talks.”

The talks in Doha followed seven rounds of negotiations in the Austrian capital of Vienna between Iran and the five remaining parties to the JCPOA since April last year.

They were put on hold as Washington insists on its refusal to undo its past wrongs through measures such as removing the IRG from its foreign terrorist organization list.

Iran maintains that the IRG’s designation in 2019 was part of former President Donald Trump administration’s so-called maximum pressure campaign against Iran, and, therefore, it has to be reversed unconditionally.


Talks on Iran’s Nuclear Program to begin on Tuesday in Qatar – Reports

27 Jun 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Iran’s Foreign Ministry revealed that JCPOA talks would resume on Tuesday in Doha, Qatar.

Negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program to lift US sanctions will begin on Tuesday in Qatar.

Negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program will begin on Tuesday in Qatar, according to the IRNA news agency, citing an Iranian Foreign Ministry source.
“Negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program to lift US sanctions will begin on Tuesday in Qatar,” the source told IRNA.

Since 2018, when then-US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from it and began reimposing harsh economic sanctions on Iran, the nuclear deal has been hanging by a thread.

Although US President Joe Biden’s administration has sought to return to the agreement, saying it is the best way forward with the Islamic republic, it has expressed growing pessimism in recent weeks.

The talks, according to Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh, will take place “in an Arabian Gulf country in the coming days, later this week” and will focus on the lifting of US sanctions.

Separately, Iran’s Tasnim news agency reported, citing an unnamed foreign ministry source, that Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri would visit Qatar on Tuesday for “negotiations on lifting sanctions,” and that the US-Iran indirect talks would take place there.

A State Department spokesperson in Washington confirmed that the talks would take place this week in the Gulf.

“We are prepared to immediately conclude and implement the deal we negotiated in Vienna for mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA,” he said, referring to the deal’s formal name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Khatibzadeh voiced hope for “positive results” from the talks.

Exclusive: Qatar may host indirect talks between Washington and Iran

Seyed Mohammad Marandi, A media advisor to the Iranian nuclear team, said earlier to Al Mayadeen on Monday, that Qatar will host indirect talks between Iran and the United States regarding reviving the 2015 nuclear agreement.

Speaking with Al Mayadeen, Marandi stated that Qatar is one of the options offered to host indirect negotiations between Iran and the US.

During EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell’s visit to Iran, Tehran and Brussels are discussing the location for the coming JCPOA talks.

According to reports, Borrell had stated that Vienna would not host the next talks. “Talks between Iran, the United States, and European Union will not take place in Vienna because talks will not happen in US+P4+1 format,” Borrell said.

He explained that the negotiations will be held in the coming days and that they will be similar to the indirect negotiations between Iran and the US in Vienna.

Iran After Strong, Sustainable Deal in JCPOA Talks: Shamkhani

June, 26, 2022

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani reaffirmed Tehran’s push for a strong, sustainable and reliable agreement in the talks for saving the 2015 nuclear deal and lifting the anti-Iranian sanctions.

In a meeting with the European Union foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, held in Tehran on Saturday, Shamkhani slammed Europe’s inaction and the US’s lack of commitment to its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“Iran’s remedial measures in the nuclear sector are merely a legal and rational reaction to US unilateralism and Europe’s inaction and will continue as long as the West’s illegal practices persist,” he stated.

Shamkhani noted that the illegal withdrawal of the US from the HCPOA has caused the Iranian nation to lose trust in the West and Washington.

“We have fulfilled all our commitments under the JCPOA and have never left the negotiating table and we are still looking for a strong, lasting and reliable agreement,” the top security official said.

Shamkhani emphasized that the removal of illegal sanctions and full and lasting realization of the economic benefits of the JCPOA are Iran’s main objectives in engaging in the talks with the P4+1 group of countries.

“Iran does not favor an agreement that fails to meet the two above-mentioned principles in providing a reliable guarantee from the US and Europe,” he said.

He emphasized that the participants in the Vienna talks failed to reach a final agreement on the JCPOA revival because of the US’ contradictory behavior and its sticking to threats and sanctions.

“The language of force cannot be used in addressing a country that has overcome the most difficult conditions of sanctions with vigorous resistance and the sympathy and support of its people,” the SNSC secretary said, Press TV reported.

The senior EU diplomat, for his part, said the possible JCPOA revival under the current global circumstances can be regarded as a very important security achievement in the international system.

Borrell criticized Trump for pulling the United States out of the multilateral agreement and said all the parties to the JCPOA must look ahead to the future to reach a good final deal.

Pointing to his talks with US officials before traveling to Tehran, he added that the administration of Joe Biden is keen to reach an agreement on the JCPOA revival.

Negotiations have been held in the Austrian capital of Vienna since April last year to restore the JCPOA, which was ditched by former US president Donald Trump in May 2018.

In quitting the agreement, Trump unleashed what he called the “maximum pressure” campaign to bring Iran to its knees. Tehran maintains that the policy has failed dismally. The Biden administration agrees, yet it has not taken any tangible steps to deliver on its promise of repealing the policy.

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UN rapporteur: Human Rights in Iran Severely Affected by US Sanctions

May 19, 2022

A top UN human rights official has slammed the United States for its brutal sanctions regime against the Islamic Republic of Iran, asserting that harsh economic sanctions have had a damaging impact on human rights in the country.

Alena Douhan, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Negative Impact of Unilateral Coercive Measures on the Enjoyment of Human Rights, who is on an official visit to Iran these days, convened a press conference in Tehran on Wednesday afternoon.

Speaking to reporters, Douhan noted that decades of sanctions have wholly affected Iranian people’s lives and have particularly hit the low-income section of the society.

While presenting her assessment of the unilateral coercive measures (UCM) against Iran, the UN official who works under a mandate from the United Nations Human Rights Council, called on Washington to abandon its hard-nosed policy of maximum pressure against Iran and other countries.

Douhan, who arrived in Tehran earlier this month, said she had met with many civil society members, representatives of financial centers, diplomatic community during her visit.

She said she will address her concerns about the legality of US sanctions in her final report, which will be released at a later date.

Douhan’s mission from May 7 to 18 is the first to Iran by a UN special rapporteur.

Before embarking on the trip, the UN official said she hoped to “gather first-hand information on the impact of unilateral coercive measures on the full realization of all human rights” in Iran.

“My visit will aim at covering all walks of life and sectors affected by such measures,” she noted, dismissing speculation in the Western media that she was heading to Iran with a specific agenda.

She told reporters on Wednesday that the US has since the 1970s imposed crippling economic and trade sanctions on Iran and significantly expanded them since the early 2000s.

In May 2018, the former US President Donald Trump, after unilaterally withdrawing his country from the 2015 nuclear deal, reinstated harsh economic sanctions on Iran and slapped new ones in an unprecedented move that was widely decried.

Under the 2015 agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), international sanctions on the Islamic Republic were eased in exchange for Tehran putting limitations on certain aspects of its nuclear activities.

Trump’s sanctions deprived the Islamic Republic of economic dividends under the accord as it barred countries and international firms from working with Iran.

The mercurial real estate tycoon-turned-president’s successor, Joe Biden, who was vice president when the JCPOA was inked in 2015, promised to return his country to the deal. But his administration has failed to honor the commitment, following Trump’s legacy.

According to the UN special rapporteur, the US continues to illegally ban trade and investment in Iran, forcing foreign companies to leave the country for the fear of sanctions.

Douhan’s landmark visit to Iran came amid the stalemate over the nuclear deal, with the US showing reluctance to respond to Iran’s proposals.

Decrying the US decision to abandon the nuclear deal and continue with its sanctions regime, she said the deal was endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

“Applying extraterritorial sanctions on Iranian companies or companies working with Iran … is illegal under international law,” she asserted.

Commenting on Iran’s frozen assets abroad, the UN official said the assets estimated to be around $120 billion need to be unblocked.

“I urge the states that have frozen the assets of Iranian Central Bank to immediately unfreeze Iran’s funds based on international law.”

Douhan began her 11-day visit to Iran on May 7, a day before the fourth anniversary of the US illegal withdrawal from the JCPOA.

Last week, Iran’s top human rights official Kazem Gharibabadi said Douhan’s visit was only aimed at gathering information on the impact of sanctions to hold countries (US) to account.

“Nations hit by sanctions should use all available resources to hold the countries calling for and enforcing unilateral sanctions liable,” Gharibabadi said.

His comments came in response to reports in Western media accusing Iran of exploiting the visit to avoid accountability and “deflect attention” from its alleged human rights violations.

In her Wednesday press conference, Douhan also welcomed Iran’s efforts to support Afghan refugees, displaced by the 20-year US war, despite reeling under sanctions.

“I call on the sanctioning states, particularly the US, to abandon the unilateral sanctions,” she stated.

She also referred to stalled negotiations in Vienna to bring the US back to the JCPOA, urging the JCPOA signatories and the US to resume the negotiations.”

Iran and the P4+1 group of countries – Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia – have held several rounds of sanctions in the Austrian capital since April 2021 to revive the JCPOA.

Iran says its primary goal at the talks is to have the illegal US sanctions removed.

Source: Iranian media (edited by Al-Manar English Website)

Pentagon general deplores removing IRGC Quds Force off terror list

Friday 8 April 2022

Source: Agencies

Milley’s personal opinion is to keep, particularly, Iran’s Quds Force on the terror list.

By Al Mayadeen Net 

Pentagon general deplores removing IRGC Quds Force off terror list

The Pentagon’s top general, Mark Milley, vocalized that he was against the delisting of the IRGC as a “terrorist organization”.

“In my personal opinion, I believe the IRGC Quds Force to be a terrorist organization, and I do not support them being delisted from the foreign terrorist organization list,” said Milley in a congressional hearing. 

What was noticeable is Milley’s particular singling out of the IRGC Quds Force – whose former commander was assassinated martyr, Qassem Soleimani – at a time when Washington contemplates removing the IRGC off the terror list altogether. 

Removing the IRGC off the US terror list, to Tehran, is a main condition for the restoration of the 2015 nuclear deal, which was obstructed by former US President Donald Trump in 2018. Trump designated the IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization after withdrawing from the deal. 

Israelis panic

While Washington discusses removing the IRGC from the terror list, “Israel” tries everything to obstruct the decision. 

Israel Hayom expects that “Israel” will continue to make strong statements against the Biden administration’s intent to remove the IRGC from its terror list, saying that even if this leads to foiling the deal in Congress, “Israel” will continue to publicly oppose the nuclear deal.

It noted that it is expected that the Israeli opposition will make it harder for the deal to be approved in Congress, and that “Israel’s” political leadership believes removing the IRGC from the list is “unethical”, and that it jeopardizes the lives of Israelis and others.

Read more: “Israel” pleads with US to keep IRGC on ‘terror list’

The US administration is currently considering the removal of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps from its terror blacklist in exchange for a commitment from Iran to “de-escalate” in the region, according to Axios.

One of the remaining points in the Vienna Talks is the removal of IRGC’s designation as a terror group. The terror designation means that criminal penalties would be imposed on anyone doing business with any individual or entity connected to the IRGC.

Furthermore, Israeli media reported a source close to the US administration as saying that “Former President Donald Trump’s decision in 2019 to put Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) on the list was a dangerous and short-sighted move.”

The same source added that the move prioritized rhetoric over the security of the US and its partnership, stressing that including the IRGC on the list had increased Iran’s hostility.

In the same context, the Israeli Channel KAN reported that “the Gulf countries have called on the White House not to remove the IRGC from the list.

On his account, Channel 12‘s political analyst Amit Segal affirmed that “Israel” is not alone in calling on Biden to refrain from removing IRGC from the terrorist list.”

Last Sunday, Israeli PM Naftali Bennett expressed hope that the decision will not go through. 

“We are still hoping and working toward preventing this from happening,” he said.

Amir-Abdollahian to Al Mayadeen: We will not accept any Israeli influence in the Gulf

March 25 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen

By Al Mayadeen Net 

Al Mayadeen Network CEO Ghassan Ben Jeddou interviews Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in the wake of Yemen’s seven years of war, Vienna talks, Lebanon’s economic crisis, and the path of the Gulf-Iranian relations.

Al Mayadeen Network CEO Ghassan Ben Jeddou interviews Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (Al Mayadeen)

In an exclusive interview with Al Mayadeen’s CEO Ghassan Ben Jeddou, Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian assured that Iran’s foreign policy is stable in terms of its political independence from both the West and the East.

Amir-Abdollahian stressed that President Ebrahim Raisi’s administration pursues smart diplomacy, openness, and effective cooperation with all countries, adding that “our foreign policy has steady tenets, but there may be differences in approaches between one government and another”.

“The Arab countries are an important part of the Islamic world, and we extend the hand of cooperation to various neighboring countries, most notably the Gulf countries,” he added.

Iranian-Saudi rapprochement: Ready for the 5th round of talks

On the Iranian-Saudi issue, Amir-Abdollahian told Al Mayadeen that relations with Saudi Arabia are not good, but Iran is not responsible for that, and has expressed its readiness for the fifth round of dialogue.

“Some contradictory and inappropriate behavior on the part of Saudi Arabia affects relations, including the execution of 81 Saudis,” he noted.

Amir-Abdollahian stressed that Saudi Arabia was the one to initiate cutting ties with Iran, confirming that Iran’s relations with most Arab countries are brotherly and good, including relations with Kuwait and the UAE.

“The Saudis do not want good relations with us, while we do not forget the martyrdom of 460 Iranian pilgrims in the Mina incident,” he said.

The top Iranian diplomat made it clear that despite Iran’s criticism of Saudi policies, it didn’t sever its relations with the kingdom.

The affairs of Yemen belong to the Yemeni people

Regarding the aggression on Yemen, Amir-Abdollahian confirmed to Al Mayadeen that Iran told the Saudis that the affairs of Yemen belong to the Yemeni people, affirming that linking everything that is happening in Yemen to Iran is erroneous.

“The Yemenis’ defense of their sovereignty is a matter of their own, but we welcome the cessation of the war and the lifting of the sanctions, and we won’t neglect to work towards this direction,” he added.

Vienna talks: The ball is in the US’ call

On the developments in Vienna Talks, Amir-Abdollahian said that all parties in the region will win if an agreement is reached in Vienna, adding that “we are approaching the point of consensus in the nuclear talks, but what is important for us is how sanctions will be lifted as well as guarantees.”

“In recent weeks, there have been the many US attempts to negotiate directly with us on the pending issues,” he stressed.

Amir-Abdollahian made it clear that if the Biden administration is serious, it must show goodwill before considering direct negotiations.

He went on to assure that Iran has informed the Western side that the US should prove goodwill by lifting one of the sanctions imposed on Iran.

Elsewhere in his remarks, he mentioned that he has traveled to Moscow and met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to obtain clarifications regarding the Russian demands, emphasizing that Moscow informed Tehran that it will support the nuclear agreement the moment it is reached.

“The ball is now in the Americans’ court with regard to the nuclear agreement,” he said.

The top Iranian figure added that the US was thirsty for a regional agreement in 2015 after the nuclear agreement was signed, stressing that all parties in the region will win if an agreement is reached in Vienna.

Egypt’s potential influential role

On the Iranian-Egyptians relations, Amir-Abdollahian said that Egypt has a position in the Arab world that allows it to have an influential regional role.

He divulged that Iran was not very happy with what happened in Egypt following the “Arab Spring”, however, he assured that the Iranian policy is set on strengthening relations with Egypt on solid and balanced foundations.

“We do not forget Egypt’s stance towards the Syrian issue, but there are common points with Egypt upon which we could build,” he added.

Regarding the Sharm el-Sheikh tripartite meeting, Amir-Abdollahian told Al Mayadeen that Iran considers any meeting with any Israeli official a betrayal of Al-Quds and Palestine.

“The meeting of Sharm El-Sheikh taking place immediately after President Al-Assad’s visit to the UAE was not a good sign,” he said.

He added that the Arab countries’ recognition of their wrong policies towards Syria is important.

“Zionist entity is in a very weak position”

The top Iranian diplomat stressed that Iran will never forget its red lines regarding the Palestinian cause in the framework of its good ties with the UAE.

“We will not accept any Israeli influence in the Gulf, and the peoples will reject normalization,” he added.

He went on to say that the Zionist entity is in a very weak position now and suffers from many issues.

Amir-Abdollahian told Al Mayadeen that the battle of Seif Al-Quds is a major turning point that has proven the weakness and fragility of the Israeli society.

Iran is ready to provide all aspects of assistance to Lebanon

Commenting on the economic crisis in Lebanon, Amir-Abdollahian reiterated Iran’s willingness to provide all aspects of assistance to Lebanon and its people to overcome the ongoing difficult crisis.

“We presented proposals to Lebanese officials to establish two power plants in the south and north, and to supply Lebanon with Iranian gas,” he added.

He went on to say that “we informed our friends in Lebanon that the US will not help them and will not allow others to help them”.

Regarding his meeting with Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the top Iranian diplomat divulged that he informed Sayyed Nasrallah of the latest developments in the Vienna Talks and the matter of lifting sanctions.

Bennett, Sisi and MBZ Discuss Iran, ‘Mutual Security Interests’

23 Mar 2022

By Staff, Agencies

Zionist Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed [MBZ] held a joint meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt on Tuesday to discuss a joint defense strategy in dealing with what they referred to as the ‘Iranian threat,’ as well as ‘common security interests.’

What are the ‘common security interests’ that would pool the ‘Israeli’ entity with Egypt and the UAE?

Although the so-called ‘Iranian threat’ would come to mind first, there would be several other concerns. A hint to that is the Emirati comments to ‘Israeli’ The Jerusalem Post newspaper, which mentioned that “Abu Dhabi is shocked by the US behavior,” and that “it is hard for the UAE to deal with the US administration of Joe Biden in security affairs,” also noting that ties in general have been deteriorating.

The JPost cited a source in Abu Dhabi as saying: “The United Arab Emirates is very unhappy with the US move toward removing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard from its Foreign Terrorist Organizations list.”

Some in Abu Dhabi “are in great shock,” and they view the possibility of the IRG’s designation being removed in the same way as ‘Israel’ does, the source added.

The meeting took place as the nuclear deal between world powers and Iran was nearing completion.

The US and Iran have been indirectly negotiating in Vienna to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal for the past 11 months. The deal placed restrictions on Iran’s nuclear development in exchange for the gradual lifting of sanctions.

Most of those restrictions expire at the end of 2025. In addition, in recent years, Iran has far surpassed the deal’s 3.67% uranium enrichment limit, enriching to 60% – weapons-grade uranium is enriched to 90% – and has converted some of it to a format that is hard to dilute or transport.

The Tel Aviv regime and the United Arab Emirates expressed dissatisfaction with American concessions to the Islamic Republic.

“The leaders discussed the ties between the three countries on the background of recent developments in the world and the region, and the ways to strengthen [the ties] at all levels,” Bennett’s office stated.

Bennett’s visit to Egypt was supposed to be secret, but once the press caught wind of it, Sisi’s office did not oppose placing a Zionist regime’s flag at the meeting for the photo-op.

Sisi also accompanied Bennett to his plane when he departed Sharm El-Sheikh on Tuesday, after spending the night in the Sinai resort town.

Concern in Tel Aviv about Washington’s intention to respond to the demand to remove the Iranian Revolutionary Guard from the list of terrorism

ساعةٌ سليمانيةٌ بصواريخ رباعية الأبعاد

الخميس17 آذار 2022

المصدر: الميادين نت

عمرو علان 

دمّرت الضربة الصّاروخية المركز المستهدف، وقتلت 4 ضباط من “الموساد”، وجَرحت 7 آخرين، تعدّ جراح 4 منهم خطرة، بحسب المعلومات التي توفرت لدى الاستخبارات الإيرانية عقب الضربة. 

جاءت الضّربة الصاروخية التي تبنّاها حرس الثورة الإسلامية الإيرانية في بيانٍ رسميٍ، والتي استهدفت مركزاً استخبارياً استراتيجياً لجهاز “الموساد” الصهيوني في مدينة أربيل العراقية، لتعيد التأكيد على ترابط كلّ الأحداث الدولية في هذه المرحلة الانتقالية والمفصلية في تاريخ البشرية، ولتبعث عدة رسائل في غير اتجاه للقوى الدولية، ولتعيد تأكيد ثوابت السياسة الإيرانية تجاه التطورات الدولية الراهنة.

يُقرأ في توقيت هذه الضربة تأكيدٌ إيرانيٌ غير مباشرٍ على تحالف إيران الاستراتيجي مع روسيا

بعد مرور نحو شهرٍ على تورط “الموساد” بعدوانٍ غير مُعلَنٍ على موقع للطائرات المسيَّرة، تابع لحرس الثورة الإسلامية في إقليم خرمانشاه الإيراني، قام الأخير باستهداف منزلٍ في مدينة أربيل يقع قرب القنصلية الأميركية، وتعود ملكيته إلى رجل أعمالٍ عراقيٍ، كان يستخدمه جهاز الاستخبارات الصهيوني كمركز استراتيجي لقيادة عملياته التخريبية ضد إيران والمنطقة.

وقال بيان حرس الثورة الإسلامية إنَّه استهدف مركزاً صهيونياً بصواريخ دقيقة. وأوردت وكالة أنباء “تسنيم” الإيرانية “أنَّ حرس الثورة استخدم في الهجوم 10 صواريخ دقيقةٍ من طراز “فاتح 110” البالستية”، وأنَّ “القصف انطلق من المنطقة الشمالية الغربية في إيران”، وتصل حمولة الرأس المتفجّر لصاروخ “فاتح 110” الدّقيق إلى 300 كلغ من المواد المتفجرة. 

وقد دمّرت الضربة الصّاروخية المركز المستهدف، وقتلت 4 ضباط من “الموساد”، وجَرحت 7 آخرين، تعدّ جراح 4 منهم خطرة، بحسب المعلومات التي توفرت لدى الاستخبارات الإيرانية عقب الضربة. 

ويقول توقيت هذه الضربة للأميركي الذي تباطأ مؤخراً في قبول الشروط الإيرانية للعودة إلى الاتفاق النووي، إنَّ برنامج إيران الدفاعي للصواريخ غير قابلٍ للتفاوض، وإنَّها لن تعود إلى الالتزام ببنود الاتفاق النووي إلا ضمن شروطها المتعلقة برفع كل العقوبات الأميركية، بما فيها العقوبات المفروضة على حرس الثورة الإسلامية. 

ها هو الحرس الثوري يستخدم صواريخه بنجاحٍ في ضرب موقعٍ موجودٍ ضمن دائرة حماية أنظمة الدفاع الجوي الأميركية التي يوكل إليها حماية مبنى القنصلية الأميركية في أربيل. وقد كان لافتاً تصريح علي شمخاني، أمين عام مجلس الأمن القومي الإيراني، عقب الضربة الصاروخية، حين قال: “الميدان والدبلوماسية هما أداة القوة لدى إيران، والتي تُستخدَم بحكمةٍ للدفاع عن المصالح الوطنية والأمن القومي. تجربة الأعوام الأربعين للثورة الإسلامية علَّمت الشعب الإيراني أن الاعتماد على الشرق والغرب لا يضمن حقوقه وأمنه”.

ويصعب أيضاً فصل توقيت الهجوم الصاروخي عن تفاعلات الحرب في أوكرانيا، وعما يمكن وصفه بالخلاف التكتيكي بين طهران وموسكو، إذ طالبت موسكو الأميركي مؤخراً بتقديم ضماناتٍ إضافيةٍ تتعلق بضمان عدم تأثير العقوبات الأميركية المستجدة على روسيا في تعاملاتها التجارية مع إيران، في حال العودة إلى الاتفاق النووي.

ويمكن أن يُقرأ في توقيت هذه الضربة تأكيدٌ إيرانيٌ غير مباشرٍ على تحالف إيران الاستراتيجي مع روسيا، ضمن معركة كسر الهيمنة الأميركية، رغم التباين التكتيكي الَّذي ظهر في فيينا على أثر الحرب في أوكرانيا، ورغم عدم رغبة إيران في الانخراط المباشر في تلك الحرب، ورغم كونها أيضاً تتعاطى مع العودة إلى الاتفاق النووي من زاوية مصالحها الوطنية أولاً. 

تأتي هذه القراءة منسجمةً مع ما قاله الناطق باسم الخارجية الإيرانية، سعيد خطيب زاده، في مؤتمره الأسبوعي الأخير عقب الضربة الصاروخية، إذ قال “إنّ الولايات المتحدة هي التي ترغب في اختزال ما يحدث في فيينا على أنه طلبٌ روسيٌ. إنّ مسؤولية الوضع الحالي الذي نحن فيه الآن تقع على عاتق واشنطن. إذا استجابت اليوم، فيمكننا العودة إلى فيينا… كان نهج روسيا بنّاءً حتى الآن، وكان الأقرب والأكثر دعماً لمفاوضي فيينا. وقد صرَّح المسؤولون الروس في المحادثات، وفي اللجنة المشتركة، أنهم لن يعرقلوا أيَّ اتفاقٍ جيدٍ”.

أمّا الكيان المؤقت، المستهدف الرئيسي بهذه الضّربة، فلا بدّ من أن يقرأ في علانية الرد، وفي أسلوبه ومكانه، تعزيزاً لقوة الردع الإيراني في مواجهته، وتثبيتاً لقواعد الاشتباك التي جاء توقيت الرد الإيراني ليؤكد أنها لا تتأثر بنتائج محادثات فيينا والأزمة في أوكرانيا، ولا سيّما بعد تزامن تعرّض الكيان المؤقت لهجومٍ سيبرانيٍ، وُصِف بأنه الأكبر، مع إعلان التلفزيون الإيراني إحباط محاولة تخريبية “للموساد” ضد منشأة “فردو” النووية، بعد يومين فقط على الضربة الصاروخية، وفي هذا كله مؤشراتٌ على أنَّ الردود الإيرانية ستزداد وتتعاظم في مواجهة الجرائم الصهيونية في الأيام المقبلة.

والظاهر مما ورد في وسائل الإعلام الإسرائيلية عقب الهجوم الصاروخي الإيراني، أن الكيان المؤقت استوعب الرسالة، لكن لعلَّ هذا الاستيعاب جاء متأخراً، لكون الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصر الله أكد سابقاً، وفي خطابٍ علنيٍ، أن الجمهورية الإسلامية سترد بنفسها على أي اعتداءٍ صهيونيٍ يستهدف أراضيها، وأن الرد لن يكون عبر حلفاء إيران في المنطقة، بل سيكون بشكلٍ مباشرٍ.

أما الرّسائل التي يجب أن تكون قد وصلت إلى سائر دول المعسكر الصهيو-عربي التي ركبت مؤخراً قطار الأسرلة، فهي تتمثل بأنَّ أراضيها لن تكون بمنأى عن ضرباتٍ عسكريةٍ قويةٍ، في حال جعلت منها منطلقاً لأي عدوانٍ صهيونيٍ يستهدف الجمهورية الإسلامية.

وفي هذا تأكيدٌ لما قيل سابقاً، عقب انخراط بعض الدول في ما يُسمى “اتفاقيات إبراهام”، على أنَّ اتفاقيات الأسرلة هذه لن تجلب لها الأمن، بل على العكس، ستعود عليها بالخراب، وستجعل من أراضي تلك الدول ساحة اشتباكٍ بين قوى ودول محور المقاومة والكيان المؤقت.

وختاماً، لا بدَّ من التوقف عند الساعة التي حصلت فيها الضربة الصاروخية، إذ إنَّها جاءت في التوقيت نفسه الذي ارتَكبَت فيه الولايات المتحدة الأميركية جريمة اغتيال الشهيدين قاسم سليماني وأبو مهدي المهندس، وفي هذا رسالةٌ معنويةٌ للأميركي والصهيوني معاً، تقول إنَّ هذا القصف الصاروخي كان بتوقيع الشهيد قاسم سليماني.

إن الآراء المذكورة في هذه المقالة لا تعبّر بالضرورة عن رأي الميادين وإنما تعبّر عن رأي صاحبها حصراً

Iran FM on JCPOA Talks: Western Parties Must Show Their True Initiative

February 19, 2022 

By Staff, Agencies

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian says he hopes the ongoing talks between Tehran and the P4+1 group of countries on the revival of the 2015 deal in the Austrian capital of Vienna will lead to a “good agreement in the near future.”

Speaking upon arrival in Germany on Friday to participate in the 58th Munich Security Conference [MSC], Amir Abdollahian said the meeting would be an opportunity to announce the Iranian administration’s foreign policy and its stance on regional issues, not least the current crises in West Asia.

“As for the Islamic Republic of Iran and the active initiatives it has put on the negotiating table, we are very close to a good agreement.”

“But it is the Western parties that must show their true initiative and flexibility and determine these negotiations will lead to a result within the next few days or weeks [with their approach to Iran’s initiatives].”

The top Iranian diplomat emphasized that there are still some outstanding issues in the Vienna talks but Iran’s lead negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani and members of his team would continue the negotiations with seriousness in order to reach a good agreement.

Later on Friday, the Iranian foreign minister and Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres held talks about the latest developments regarding the Vienna talks and regional issues.

The United States left the Iran deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA], in 2018 and began to implement what it called the “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions against the Islamic Republic, depriving the country of the economic benefits of the agreement, including the removal of sanctions, for which Iran had agreed to certain caps on its nuclear activities.

In the meantime, the other parties to the deal, in particular France, Britain and Germany, only paid lip service to safeguarding Iran’s economic dividends as promised under the JCPOA, prompting Iran – after an entire year of “strategic patience” – to reduce its nuclear obligations in a legal move under the deal.

The Vienna talks began last April on the assumption that the US, under the Joe Biden administration, is willing to repeal the so-called maximum pressure policy pursued by former President Donald Trump.

Tehran says it will not settle for anything less than the removal of all US sanctions in a verifiable manner. It also wants guarantees that Washington would not abandon the agreement again.

Head of the Russian negotiating team Mikhail Ulyanov also said in a post on his Twitter account that in an interview with ITAR-TASS earlier in the day, he “expressed a slightly more optimistic point of view” about the talks between Iran and the P4+1 group of countries.

“The ViennaTalks on JCPOA can be successfully completed by the end of this month,” Ulyanov, who serves as Russia’s Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna, tweeted.

لقاء أمني أميركي ــ ايراني يمهّد لاختراق: الاتفاق النووي خلال أسابيع؟

الخميس 3 شباط 2022

ابراهيم الأمين 

هل نحن على عتبة اتفاق جدّي بين إيران والولايات المتحدة وأوروبا بشأن الملف النووي؟

يصعب على كثيرين تقصّي معطيات مباشرة حول ما يجري في فيينا وعواصم أخرى. لكن التفاؤل الحذر الذي عبّر عنه الجانب الإيراني قبل أسابيع، عكس اختراقاً ما. وهو ما عزّزه الموقف الإسرائيلي «الرسمي» بأن الاتفاق إن تم لن يكون أمراً مفاجئاً، بل قال إسرائيليون إنه قد يكون جيداً التوصل الى اتفاق في حال عدم وجود بديل واضح كضربة لإيران تقودها أميركا.

عملياً، يتصرّف الجميع على أننا أمام أسابيع حاسمة. في الغرب يتحدثون عن جولات خاصة الشهر الجاري، وفي إيران لا يستبعدون اتفاقاً قبل عيد النوروز في آذار المقبل. لكن الجديد الذي أكدته مصادر وثيقة الصلة بالملف، يتعلق بموافقة أميركية أولية على إطار اتفاق أعدّته روسيا بالاتفاق مع إيران، وسط إشارات إلى تبدّل واضح في الموقف الأوروبي الذي كان شديد السلبية سابقاً ليتحوّل الى داعم لاتفاق أشمل.

لا يمكن الجزم بنوع المحادثات التي جرت قبل توقف المحادثات فجأة، وعودة الوفود الى بلادها للتشاور قبل نحو أسبوعين. لكن ما حصل هو أن اجتماعات عقدت بصورة غير علنية سهّلت التوصل الى تفاهم يسرّع المباحثات بين الأطراف المعنية. وعلمت «الأخبار» أن اجتماعاً أمنياً رفيع المستوى عقد بين الجانبين الأميركي والإيراني مهّد لعدد من الخطوات. وبينما يتستّر الجميع على طبيعة الاجتماع ومكانه، إلا أن المصادر تشير الى أنه عقد في ألمانيا خلال زيارة سرية لرئيس المخابرات المركزية الأميركية وليام بيرنز الى برلين، علماً بأن صحيفة «وول ستريت جورنال» نشرت الخبر، وقالت إن الزيارة سبقت بأسبوع زيارة وزير الخارجية أنتوني بلينكن للمنطقة، وإنها مرتبطة بالحدث الروسي ــــ الأوكراني فقط.

إطار الاتفاق
وفيما ران الصمت على الدوائر المعنية حول نتائج التواصل الأمني الأميركي ــــ الإيراني، كان لافتاً أن تغييراً كبيراً ونوعياً طرأ على تركيبة الوفد الأميركي إلى مفاوضات فيينا، وأُعلن بعد زيارة بيرنز استقالة عضوَين من الوفد هما: نائب المبعوث الأميركي الخاص بشأن إيران، ريتشارد نيفيو، وكبيرة المستشارين في مكتب الرقابة على التسلح في الخارجية الأميركية، أريان تاباتاباي. وورد أن الاستقالتين مرتبطتان بخلافات داخل الفريق على آلية التعامل مع الجانب الإيراني، مع الإشارة الى أن الاثنين شكّلا جبهة مواجهة مع المبعوث الأميركي الخاص بإيران روبرت مالي، والذي يتهمه صقور الإدارة بأنه يدعم اتفاقاً لمصلحة طهران. لكن الأهم هو أن ما بين الحدثين، تبيّن أنه طرأ تطور في الموقف الأميركي من المفاوضات، وقالت مصادر من طهران لـ«الأخبار» إن الوفد الإيراني فوجئ بتجاوب أميركي سهّل الاتفاق على ثلثَي نقاط البحث، وإن ما بقي عالقاً يعدّ في إطار النقاط غير القابلة لنسف الاتفاق، وهو ما دفع بالوفد الإيراني الى العودة سريعاً الى إيران للتشاور والحصول على غطاء للمضيّ قدماً في المباحثات النهائية.

وفي هذا السياق، تقول مصادر تتابع المحادثات عن كثب إن الجلسات الأخيرة بين الوفود شهدت نقاشاً لطرحٍ إيراني ــــ روسي حول رفع العقوبات والعودة الى بنود الاتفاق النووي. وتؤكّد المصادر أن الولايات المتحدة أبدت موافقتها على أغلب بنود الخطة الإيرانية ــــ الروسية، وأن احتمال عقد اتفاقٍ جديد بين إيران والمجموعة الدولية خلال الأسابيع المقبلة أصبح مرجّحاً. وتضيف المصادر إن المباحثات التي جرت في فيينا خلال الثلث الأخير من كانون الثاني تمحورت حول طرحٍ صمّمته إيران وروسيا وقدّمته للمجموعة الدولية، وإنّ الولايات المتحدة وافقت على أغلب بنوده، بشكلٍ فاجأ المفاوضين الإيرانيين.

التوافق الحالي بين إيران والدول المفاوضة يترجم الى رفعٍ شبه كامل للعقوبات الأميركية على بيع النفط الإيراني، وتلك التي فرضها الرئيس السابق دونالد ترامب خلال ولايته، إضافة الى استعادة طهران لكلّ أرصدتها المجمّدة حول العالم (لم تفصّل المصادر مستوى العقوبات الأخرى التي وافق الأميركيون على تعليقها). في المقابل، ستوقف إيران، بموجب العرض الجديد، تخصيب اليورانيوم الى مستوى 20 و60%. وفيما يظلّ اليورانيوم المخصّب الى درجة 20% في إيران تحت رقابة الوكالة الدولية للطاقة الذريّة، سيتمّ شحن اليورانيوم العالي التخصيب بنسبة 60% الى روسيا. أما في ما يتعلّق بآلات تخصيب اليورانيوم، فينصّ العرض الإيراني ــــ الروسي على وقف العمل بالمعدّات التي يمنعها الاتفاق النووي الأصلي عام 2015، ولكن مع بقائها في التخزين داخل إيران تحت رقابة الوكالة الدولية للطاقة الذريّة.

هواجس وطلبات إيران
من الجانب الإيراني، تقول المعلومات إن نائب وزير الخارجية، علي باقر كاني، عاد الى طهران لعرض المستجدات، وللحصول على تفويض أكثر وضوحاً ليس من الرئيس إبراهيم رئيسي فقط، بل من المرشد السيد علي الخامنئي الذي يصرّ دوماً على اتفاق واضح وبعيد المدى مع كامل الضمانات التي تثبت رفع العقوبات وتمنع العودة إليها استنسابياً.
بالنظر الى الموقف الأميركي الجديد وموافقة القيادة الإيرانية على خريطة الطريق التي تمّ التوصّل إليها، تزداد حظوظ عقد صيغةٍ جديدة من الاتفاق النووي مع إيران، يكون لروسيا فيها دورٌ تنفيذي مهمّ فيها. في الوقت نفسه، تقول المصادر إن هناك احتمالات قائمة لعرقلة الاتفاق، من بينها المعارضة المحتملة لمستشار الأمن القومي في البيت الأبيض جايك سوليفان و«صقور» الإدارة الأميركية الذين يعارضون إبداء الليونة تجاه طهران.
في موازاة هذا البحث، قال متابعون إن المشكلة ليست محصورة في بنود أوراق التفاوض الحالية، بل في ما خصّ مرحلة ما بعد الاتفاق. إذ إن إيران ليست متحمّسة لعودة سريعة الى اتفاق عام 2015 من دون الحصول مسبقاً على ضمانات أكيدة حيال الأمور الآتية:

ــــ رفع كل العقوبات الأميركية والأوروبية والأممية التي اندرجت تحت خانة مواجهة البرنامج النووي، مقابل التزام إيران وقف التخصيب، لكن مع حقّها في الحصول على تعهّد يضمن استعادة ما قد يتمّ تخزينه في موسكو في حال تراجع أي طرف غربي عن الاتفاق.
ــــ رفع العقوبات التي تحول دون قيام إيران بتصدير ما تشاء من نفطها وغازها الى أي دولة في العالم، وتحرير كل العمليات المالية الخاصة بهذه الصفقات من دون أيّ عراقيل.

طهران: نتعاون في أي مفاوضات بما لا يتجاوز مصالح القوى الاقليمية الحليفة

ــــ تحرير قطاع التجارة العالمية لإيران بما يسمح لها بالتعاون مع أي شركة في العالم لتطوير برامج التنمية داخلها على الصعد كافة، من البنى التحتية الى المرافق الحيوية الى الصناعات المدنية على أنواعها. وأن لا يبقى هناك أيّ عائق يلزم أيّ شركة في العالم بالحصول مسبقاً على إعفاء أميركي للقيام بعمل تجاري مع إيران.
ــــ أن تلتزم أميركا منع إسرائيل من القيام بأيّ عمل ضد الاتفاق أو ضدّ إيران، لأن طهران حاسمة بأن أي عمل إسرائيلي إنما هو عمل أميركي في حقيقة الأمر، وأن لا قدرة لإسرائيل على القيام بأيّ خطوة من دون غطاء من واشنطن.
ــــ أن تلتزم السلطات الأميركية كافة بالاتفاق، وأن لا يقتصر الأمر على توقيعه بقرار صادر عن البيت الأبيض، ما يعني أن على الإدارة الأميركية البحث مع الكونغرس الأميركي في صيغة تثبت أيّ اتفاق، وتمنع الحكومة من أيّ خطوات استنسابية.

أوروبا وقطر
من جهة أخرى، علمت «الأخبار» أن اتصالات جانبية تجرى بين إيران وعدد من العواصم الأوروبية المعنية، لتوسيع نطاق الشراكة في مرحلة ما بعد الاتفاق. ويبدو أن إيران سمعت كلاماً أوروبياً واضحاً عن استعداد للمضيّ في اتفاقات طويلة الأمد شرط إنجاز الاتفاق مع الأميركيين أولاً، وهو أمر لا ترفضه إيران، لكنها ترى في الاشتراط الأوروبي بأن تكون الاتفاقات معها لاحقة للاتفاق الأساسي، نقطة ضعف في الموقف الأوروبي.

كذلك، شدد الجانب الإيراني أمام الجهات الأوروبية المعنية بملفات حساسة في المنطقة، على أن كل الملفات المتعلقة بما يجري في الشرق الأوسط لن تكون بنداً على أي طاولة مفاوضات، لا الآن ولا في أي مرحلة لاحقة. وأن طهران مستعدة للتعاون والمساعدة بما لا يتجاوز مصالح وحسابات القوى الإقليمية الحليفة لها من العراق الى اليمن الى سوريا الى لبنان وفلسطين.

ويبدو أن هذه النقطة مدرجة في جدول أعمال عواصم عدة، وسط سعي خاص من بعض الدول للقيام بدور يتجاوز استضافة الاجتماعات الى دور الوسيط الفعال، وهو ما تشير إليه مصادر مطّلعة، بالقول إن قطر تعرض بأن تكون وسيطاً لتفاوض مباشر بين أميركا وإيران لمعالجة ملف العلاقات الثنائية والقضايا العالقة بين الطرفين. وتستند الدوحة الى العلاقات الاستثنائية التي تربطها بالإدارة الأميركية من جهة، ومحافظتها على علاقات قوية مع إيران طوال الفترة الماضية. ويبدو أن القطريين يحاولون الاستفادة من تجربة الوساطة التي قاموا بها بين الأميركيين وحركة طالبان، وأثمرت اتفاقاً على انسحاب القوات الأميركية من أفغانستان قبل بضعة أشهر.

Two years later: nothing has changed in West Asia

January 05, 2022

By Aram Mirzaei

It has been two years since the murders of Martyrs Soleimani and Al-Muhandis at Baghdad airport. A lot has happened since then, but nothing has changed in the region. Still the same US occupation of Syria, and regular Israeli airstrikes on Syria. Still the same threats of “pre-emptive” attacks on Iran, still talks of US sanctioning this and that person in Iran. Still there’s a war of terror going on against the Yemeni people.

For the second anniversary of the assassinations, many authors have praised and remembered the martyred General’s achievements in life, but it is also important to remember his achievements in death.

The cowardly killings of Martyrs Soleimani and Al-Muhandis and its aftermath at the Ain-al Assad military base marked a massive signal in terms of how Washington viewed the Islamic Republic. Previous US administrations, while just as arrogant and self-worshipping as any other US administrations, wouldn’t have dared to kill these men no matter what the Zionist regime wanted. It was just too much of a risk for them to make such a stupid move. The Trump administration however, believed that the Islamic Republic wouldn’t, or didn’t have the strength to respond to such a heinous act of terror. This is also why Trump wanted to assure himself that such was the case when he posted those bizarre tweets where he threatened to destroy cultural heritage sites in Iran.
Well as everybody knows by now, when Iran responded and practically destroyed the Ain al-Assad base, he didn’t follow up on his threats.

Instead he doubled down on his “maximum pressure” campaign, in the hopes of forcing Iran back to the negotiations table to negotiate a new deal, one which includes the Islamic Republic’s missile arsenal. This takes us to where we are today. A new administration is in charge of the White House, and nobody could seriously say that they are surprised that the policy of maximum pressure towards the Islamic Republic has remained, with new audacious demands and accusations towards Tehran.

Ayatollah Khamenei once said “America is America, this or that person or party doesn’t matter. Any president assuming power over there will not do us any good, they’ll only find other ways to antagonize us.”

Washington and its vassals are currently trying to push Tehran in Vienna, to accept a new JCPOA deal. As Tehran has shown that it won’t negotiate anything more than the original JCPOA deal and won’t accept anything less than full sanctions removal, Washington and Tel Aviv have threatened to use “other options”. These “other options” threats are getting old, they’ve repeated these same threats over the past two decades and yet they’ve done nothing.

Washington is afraid, and everybody knows this. Our side knows this, the Russians know this, the Chinese know this, but most importantly, Washington’s allies know this. Even the average person who doesn’t follow world events too much is becoming aware of this.

In West Asia, the Resistance Axis poses a serious threat to Anglo-Zionist hegemony yet they do not dare to attack the Islamic Republic, the main pillar of the Resistance Axis. Both Washington and Tel Aviv have continuously threatened Tehran with airstrikes on Iran’s nuclear sites, yet none of them have ever followed through with their empty threats. The fact that Washington seeks to include the Iranian missile arsenal into a new JCPOA deal, together with their empty threats, shows that their side is worried and fearful of the Islamic Republic’s growing might. And frankly, why shouldn’t they be?

The Resistance Axis hasn’t been weakened by the deaths of Martyrs Soleimani and Al-Muhandis as some western “think tank” analysts believed or rather had hoped for, just as the Resistance Axis wasn’t weakened by the wars in Iraq and Syria. Aside from direct military aggression, every possible conspiracy imaginable have been directed towards the Resistance front. Most people don’t know that the Islamic Revolution in Iran, contrary to what many people believe to be Shiite-inspired, actually drew inspiration from many different Islamic thinkers from different sects over the past 1400 years. Such a pan-Islamic ideology posed a great threat to the US and Israeli plans for the region. So, the Anglo-Zionist side had to do something to create sedition and division among Muslims by using Takfiri extremists to present the Islamic Revolution as a Shiite revolution and create a sectarian war mainly between Arabs and Iranians.

Despite their best attempts to destroy and weaken the Resistance front, the Zionist regime is ever more threatened by Hezbollah’s power, the US hegemony in the region is in decline, as evidenced by their shameful withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the Gulf client states are having more trouble containing the revolutionary Yemeni forces than ever. Today, the Resistance front enjoys widespread support among both Muslims and Christians in West Asia as we saw how people from all sects and movements came out to condemn and commemorate the slain Martyrs. Even the Taliban held a commemoration in General Soleimani’s honour.

Where the Arab nationalists had previously failed, the Islamic Republic succeeded in transcending not only ethnic, but also sectarian and ideological differences and grievances in the region and the Islamic world. Through a pragmatic approach, it has managed to secure its own survival and build a powerful alliance across the region that now truly threatens the Zionist regime.

Of course, the fight is far from over, the Zionists and their American tools still maintain a large presence in the region and I don’t expect them to admit defeat anytime soon either. In fact, they’re already hatching new plots against the Resistance front. One example is the continuation of the so called “normalization’ deals with Israel from the Trump administration’s era, which Biden’s administration is currently pushing hard for.

Recently, a high-ranking official at the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs was quoted as saying that “Israel is working behind the scenes towards normalization of diplomatic relations with Indonesia and Saudi Arabia”. US media outlet Axios first reported that the administration of US President Joe Biden “is trying to build on the Trump-era Abraham Accords, and in this case, looking beyond the Middle East to the largest of the countries that don’t recognize Israel.”

These “normalization” deals serve several purposes. One purpose is to restore the damaged Israeli image in the world. More and more people are recognizing “Israel” for what it is- an apartheid state engaged in terrorism and oppression against not only Palestinians, but the entire region, and dare I say, the world. Another purpose is to isolate the Resistance front by formally and officially announcing these deals as “big steps towards peace”, leaving anyone who refuses to “normalize” relations with Israel being labelled as terrorists or “radical Islamists” in the eyes of the “international community”. A third purpose is for Washington and Tel Aviv to unite all its vassals against the Resistance front. When the UAE and Bahrain shamefully announced their respective deals with the Zionist regime, they also “officially” joined the “unofficial alliance” against Iran and its allies. This wasn’t news for the observer who already has some insight into West Asian geopolitics and knows about the long history of hostility between the Persian Gulf states and Iran, but in terms of symbolism, it shows that for whatever reason, be it as a sign of strength or a reaction against the strengthening of China-Russia-Iran ties, the enemy’s vassals are ready to fully reveal themselves openly now.

In their dream of besieging Iran, Washington moved away from invading and occupying neighbouring countries, seeing as how they failed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and after having seen how sanctions failed to break the Resistance front. Instead, Washington is trying to politically besiege the Islamic Republic in a new way. Just like before, this too shall fail. Since Washington doesn’t give a damn about the people of the Islamic world, they cannot comprehend that their treacherous vassal regimes are highly unpopular among the Muslim population.

No matter how much the Western media attempts to hide and suppress the public outrage and protests going on in countries like Bahrain and Sudan, the reality is that most of these treacherous vassal regimes in the region are completely dependent on US support for survival. Normalizing relations with the apartheid state, will only hasten their inevitable downfall because of the simple fact that if they join Israel and the US in an eventual war with the Resistance front, they will quite simply be destroyed. Seeing as how the Saudis and the other Gulf vassals cannot contain the Houthi forces in Yemen, despite massive support from the West, Takfiri terrorist forces and mercenaries on the ground and the air superiority that they enjoy, it is not a far stretch to imagine virtually all of Saudi Arabia ending up in flames if Riyadh decides to wage war on the Islamic Republic.

Washington has not achieved anything in the region through the killings of Martyrs Soleimani and Al-Muhandis and nothing has changed. By committing this grave mistake, the US has made their shameful exit from the entire region an inevitable fact. They thought they could isolate and besiege the Islamic Republic, but fate has a way of being ironic. Instead of besieging Iran, the Iranians besieged them in the region.

I finish this piece with a quote from the Islamic Revolution: “From the blood of the martyrs, victory will grow”

Russia says Nord Stream 2 ready for commissioning

Dec 30 2021

Net Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen

After several western attempts to block its construction, citing “dependence on Russia”, Russia’s Nord Stream 2 is complete and ready for commissioning.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a session of the SPIEF in Saint Petersburg, Russia, June 4, 2021 (Reuters)

Russian Gazprom’s Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline is ready for commissioning after its second line from Russia to Germany has been filled with gas, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller announced Wednesday.

According to Miller, the Russian energy giant has met all long-term gas supply contracts.

“Today at 12:58 Moscow time [09:58 GMT], Gazprom completed the filling of the second thread of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline with gas. The first and second threads of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline are under operational pressure and are fully ready for operation,” Miller declared.

The CEO also revealed that the company had fulfilled its obligations to transit gas through Ukraine.

“Gazprom fully fulfilled its obligations under the contract for gas transit via Ukraine, our planned volume of 40 billion cubic meters of gas. Today we have already transited 41.5 billion cubic meters through Ukraine,” he said during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russia ready to supply gas to Europe

President Putin announced that Russia would be ready to immediately start supplying Europe with Gas if the European countries decide to launch Nord Stream 2.

Now, of course, he said, everything depends on Moscow’s partners, European consumers, and Germany.

“As soon as they decide to start work, large volumes, additional volumes of Russian gas will immediately begin to flow to Europe. Let me remind you that this is 55 billion cubic meters per year.”

According to Putin, the launch of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline will see gas prices decreasing, not only for Europe but also for Ukraine.

The Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department of Economic Cooperation said Wednesday Washington’s sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 project were pointless, as the construction of the gas pipeline had been completed.

“To be honest, we see no point in Washington’s sanctions policy in conditions when the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline has already been built,” the diplomat declared.

In light of the Russian-Ukrainian tensions, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Sunday Russia’s Nord Stream 2 would not be allowed to operate in Ukraine, citing an agreement between Washington and Berlin.

The pipeline, which has been backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the one hand and Scholz’s predecessor Angela Merkel on the other in recent years, has been criticized by several sides. 

The US and several Eastern European countries are worried that Europe would be too dependent on Russia. 

In mid-November, the German energy regulator had suspended the certification procedure for Nord Stream 2 by requiring the Swiss-based consortium in charge of its operation to create a company under German law.


China Urges More Consensus Building in Vienna Talks

December 28, 2021

Wang Qun, Chinese Envoy to the United Nations and other international organizations in Vienna.

A senior Chinese diplomat called for expanding consensus, “properly handling” differences and jointly promoting breakthroughs during the ongoing round of the Vienna talks.

“On the Iran nuclear issue and related nuclear non-proliferation issues, ‘pragmatism’ and double standards should not be adopted in pursuit of selfish interests,” said Wang Qun, the Chinese envoy to the United Nations and other international organizations in Vienna, according to the Chinese CGTN TV.

“Sanctions should also not be used for threatening casually and new sanctions should not be introduced against Iran during the negotiations,” Wang said, as quoted by Mehr news agency.

The Joe Biden administration imposed fresh sanctions on two Iranian government agencies and several officials on December 7 during the previous round of talks.

The eighth round of negotiations during the Christmas and New Year holidays reflected the sense of urgency on all parties to resume negotiations, Wang said.

Since early April, representatives from China, France, Germany, Russia, Britain and Iran have held seven rounds of negotiations in the Austrian capital, with the United States involved indirectly.

The parties have forged a new “common text” on nuclear issues and a “common understanding” on lifting sanctions, Wang said, adding that they agreed to keep negotiating thoroughly, with a focus on these key points during the eighth round of talks.

All these consensuses laid a solid foundation for this round of talks, he added, and all parties concerned should focus on them, especially the existing ones, and work hard to expand to new areas while “properly” handling the differences.

“We hope that all parties can take practical measures to jointly safeguard the current momentum and atmosphere of the negotiations and push for an early conclusion of a package solution,” Wang said.

China will continue to firmly support the resumption of negotiations between the United States and Iran on implementing the agreement, participate constructively in the follow-up negotiations, and work with all parties to push for results, said the Chinese envoy.

The US government under Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement in May 2018 and unilaterally re-imposed sanctions on Iran.

Source: Iranian media

Bagheri Kani Calls for Guarantees for Lifting Sanction

 December 27, 2021

Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani has urged other sides in Vienna talks to guarantee lifting of sanctions and pave the way for verification of the embargo removal.

Bagheri Kani referred to progress made in the previous round of talks in Vienna, Austria, to lift anti-Iran sanctions and revive the 2015 nuclear deal, adding that the Iranian negotiating team is completely serious and ready to continue the Vienna talks.

The eighth round of talks for lifting anti-Iran sanctions kicked off on Monday evening local time, when Iranian top nuclear negotiator and the European Union’s representative in Vienna talks Enrique Mora co-chaired the Joint Commission meeting of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

In the meeting, which has been held at Palais Coburg in Vienna, delegations from Iran, the European Union and the P4+1 group (Britain, France, Russia, China plus Germany) took part and discussed way of continuation of talks.

All negotiating teams pointed to progress made at the seventh round of the Vienna talks, underlining the need for keeping on with intensive negotiations.

The delegations also hinted to the fact that most Iranian proposals have been mentioned in a new joint document for the eighth round of talks.

At the end of Monday’s Joint Commission meeting, the negotiating teams agreed upon carrying on negotiations at different levels and formats.

Source: Iranian Agencies

بين أذرع واشنطن ومخالب طهران هل يتصاعد الدخان «النووي» الأبيض؟

الجمعة 24 كانون أول 2021

 د. عدنان منصور _

ما الذي ستحمله الجولة الثامنة من المفاوضات النووية في فيينا، بعد أن علقت الآمال الكبيرة على الجولة السابعة، وارتفع فيها لوقت، منسوب التفاؤل الذي روّج له أكثر من طرف! تفاؤل كان يُؤمل منه أن يودي للتوصل إلى حلّ يرضي الأطراف المفاوضة. ويتصاعد منه الدخان «النووي» الأبيض!

لقد نشطت الولايات المتحدة من خلال مبعوثها الخاص للشؤون الإيرانية في إدارة الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن منذ كانون الثاني 2021 روبرت مالي Robert Malley، ومدير برامج الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا في مجموعة الأزمات الدولية في واشنطن، الذي تواصل مع أطراف دولية واقليمية بغية التوصل إلى اتفاق نهائي ينجم عن الجولة السابعة من المفاوضات. وهي الجولة التي جاءت بعد الانتخابات الرئاسية الإيرانية في حزيران الماضي، وأتت برئيس محافظ، متشدّد، متمسّك بحق إيران في امتلاك وتطوير برنامجها النووي السلمي. إلا أن واشنطن، وقبل الشروع في مفاوضات الجولة السابعة، مارست ضغوطاً على إيران، أخذت منحى تصعيدياً، من أجل حملها على تقديم تنازلات جوهرية تلبّي مطالب وأهداف واشنطن وحلفائها.

كانت الإدارة الأميركية تتوقع الوصول إلى اتفاق مع طهران قبل نهاية هذا العام، وإحيائه من جديد، ومن ثم عودة واشنطن إلى مجموعة 5+1.

رغبة واشنطن لم تتحقق، بعد أن تمسك الجانب الإيراني بمطلبه الثابت، وهو إلغاء العقوبات كافة، التي فرضها الرئيس الأميركي السابق دونالد ترامب، ودفعة واحدة غير مجزأة، تطبّق في شكل عملي لا نظري.

إيران رفضت ما تسرّب لها من معلومات مفادها أن الأميركيين يدعمون اقتراحاً قدّمه طرف أوروبي قريب من المفاوضات، غايته التوصل إلى «اتفاق مرحلي» بين طهران والمجموعة الغربية، يضمن تعهّد إيران بالامتناع عن تخصيب اليورانيوم مقابل تحرير الودائع الإيرانية المجمّدة، ومن ثم الاستمرار في المفاوضات لحين التوصل إلى اتفاق نهائي ودائم.

الاقتراح الأوروبي الذي وافقت عليه الولايات المتحدة يخضع لمبدأ التعليق مقابل التعليق، وهو اتفاق موقت يفسح المجال ويعطي الوقت الكافي لإتمام اتفاق نووي دائم. وهو حلّ يرى فيه الغرب «الولايات المتحدة والمجموعة الأوروبية» بأنه مقدمة أساسية لمفاوضات مستقبلية تودي إلى اتفاق أشمل وأوسع. لكن مبدأ التعليق مقابل التعليق، قد يدوم طويلاً، ويصبّ في صالح الغرب لا في صالح إيران. ليس من الصعوبة بمكان أن تقبل طهران بهذا المبدأ، وهي التي تعلم جيداً أن الاتفاق النووي الذي وقع عليه عام 2015، تنتهي مفاعيل بنود كثيرة فيه عام 2025، حيث لم تلتزم به واشنطن. كما أن الحكومة الإيرانية الحالية لديها ملاحظات وتحفظات وانتقادات شديدة حيال الاتفاق النووي الموقع عليه عام 2015. لذلك فإنّ جولات المفاوضات المقبلة لن تكون يسيرة، بل شائكة ومتشعّبة، تتجاذبها الأطراف، لا سيما أن ثقة الإيرانيين لجهة السلوك الأميركي، والتعاطي مع إيران مهتزة أن لم نقل مفقودة، نتيجة الخلافات المستحكمة بين الطرفين منذ أربعة عقود، والسياسات الأميركية الشرسة التي عانت منها إيران الأمرّين، وكان آخرها انقضاض ترامب على الاتفاق النووي، وانسحابه الأحادي منه بعد ثلاث سنوات من توقيعه، ومن ثم إعادة فرضه العقوبات على إيران من جديد، غير مبال أو مكترث بالمجتمع الدولي وبحلفائه.

إيران وهي تتعاطى مع المجموعة الأوروبية، تنطلق من مبدأ الحفاظ على حقوقها، ومعرفة مدى تجاوب الجانب الأميركي، وحسن نواياه حيالها. فأيّ خطوة ايجابية غربية تجاه طهران ستقابلها خطوة ايجابية من جانبها. وفي حال تعنّتت واشنطن، وامتنعت عن رفع العقوبات كاملة ودفعة واحدة، عندئذ سيكون لإيران خيارات أخرى، أقلها السير بخطى كبيرة في تطوير برنامجها النووي من دون التقيّد بنسبة تخصيب اليورانيوم. ما سيدفع لاحقاً بواشنطن وحلفائها إلى اتخاذ إجراءات عاجلة ضدّ طهران، وفرض المزيد من العقوبات عليها، وعلى مختلف المستويات. وهذا ما تدركه إيران جيداً وتضعه في حسابها.

الولايات المتحدة وحلفاؤها أصبحوا على يقين أن كلّ الإجراءات «السلمية» والعقوبات الاقتصادية والمالية والتجارية الواسعة، التي فرضوها على إيران، لم تحملها على الخضوع والقبول بالشروط الأميركية والأمر الواقع. لكن ماذا لو أصرّت واشنطن على شروطها، ورفضت طهران هذه الشروط، وفشلت المفاوضات؟ ما لم تعطه إيران في اتفاق 2015، لن تعطيه في أيّ اتفاق مقبل، اليوم أو غداً، مهما كانت جرعة التهديدات العسكرية لواشنطن أو «الكيان الإسرائيلي».

الساحة مشرّعة على كلّ الاحتمالات، والإيرانيون على ثباتهم، يحسبون ذلك جيداً، وهم جاهزون لمواجهة أيّ مغامرة عسكرية من أي جهة تأتي، ولن يفرّطوا لا من قريب أو بعيد ببرنامجهم النووي السلمي الذي يعتبرونه فخر إنجازاتهم العلمية، وحقهم الطبيعي في استخدام الطاقة النووية السلمية في نهضة بلادهم وتطورها وتقدمها.

هل تكون الجولة الثامنة هي الأخيرة، أم أن هناك جولات أخرى تنتظر؟

يبدو أن التطمينات الإيرانية الموجهة للداخل، لا تعكس حقيقة ما يدور في فيينا، حيث يخيّم الحذر والتباين في وجهات النظر والطروحات بين الجانب الإيراني،

والجانب الأميركي «المتمثل» ببريطانيا وفرنسا وألمانيا.

الكرة ليست في ملعب طهران، وإنما في ملعب من يريد أن ينتف ريش البرنامج النووي الإيراني شيئاً فشيئاً، ويحجم قوة وقدرات إيران النووية. لذلك، لا مجال أمام طهران للتراجع عما حققته عام 2015، حيث تطورها العلمي النووي يتعزز مع الوقت، وسيأتي اليوم الذي سيقرّ به الغرب عاجلاً أم آجلاً بحقها النووي السلمي.

في ظلّ أجواء المفاوضات التي يكتنفها الضباب، تستبق «إسرائيل» النتائج، لتصعّد من لهجتها العسكرية العدوانية ضدّ إيران، حيث الكيان «الإسرائيلي» يهدّد، ويرفض رفضاً مطلقاً ايّ اتفاق نووي غربي مع طهران، يضمن لها برنامجاً نووياً ولو بحدّه الأدنى، وهو الذي ندّد على الفور بالاتفاق النووي بعد توقيعه عام 2015، عندما وصفه نتنياهو في حينه بـ «الاتفاق السيّء» وبـ»الخطأ التاريخي».

«إسرائيل» تلوّح بـ»هجوم عسكري مدمّر»، في حال فشلت المفاوضات النووية. لكن التهويل «الإسرائيلي» لن يمنع إيران من السير قدُماً في برنامجها النووي، وهي جاهزة لكلّ الاحتمالات. فأيّ استهداف «إسرائيلي» لموقع نووي أو غير نووي إيراني، سيلقى رداً سريعاً من جانب طهران، وهذا أمر محسوم

إنّ أيّ عدوان «إسرائيلي» أو غيره، يطال منشاة نووية إيرانية، ومهما كانت الأضرار التي قد تترتب عنه، لن ينال من جيش من علماء الذرة والفنيين والتقنيين الإيرانيين، من أن يستعيدوا قدراتهم على الفور، ويمتصّوا تبعات ايّ عدوان. لكن ماذا عن «إسرائيل» ومستقبل كيانها، فيما لو تعرّضت لردّ فعل إيراني؟ فهل باستطاعتها أن تمتصّ الضربات الإيرانية، وتوفر الأمان والبقاء للمحتلين المحاطين بعداء شعوب المنطقة المتجذر حيالهم، والرافضة لوجودهم في الشكل والأساس؟

«إسرائيل» تريد من واشنطن أن تتولى مهمة ضرب إيران، لتراقب عن بعد ما يجري على الساحة من دون أن تورّط نفسها، لكن وإنْ أرادت أن تكون خلف الستار، فالنار ستصل إليها وستحرقها وهي تعرف ذلك. فكلما قويت شوكة الإيرانيين، كلما زاد تهديد «الإسرائيليين»، ليقتصر على التصريحات والأقوال، والتهويل والتخويف، الذي لا ينطوي على القيادة الإيرانية، ولا يغيّر قيد أنملة من مواقفها وتوجهاتها وأهدافها، لا سيما لجهة برامجها النووية والصاروخية والفضائية والعلمية، وتطوّرها الاقتصادي والصناعي والبحثي والمعرفي.

مفاوضات فيينا ونتائجها ستشرع أبوابها أمام فرص النجاح أو الفشل، احتمالات السلام أو الحرب، التقارب والتعاون أو المزيد من الحصار والعقوبات.

من فيينا ينتظر العالم الدخان الأبيض، على أن لا يكون دخاناً أسود تتمناه، وتعوّل عليه دولة الاحتلال «الإسرائيلية»!

*وزير الخارجية والمغتربين الأسبق

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Rania Khalek interviews Prof. Seyed Mohammad Marandi on JPCOA



This video describes the status of the negotiations on the JPCOA but is broader than that.  It also demonstrates how the USA negotiates.

  • 0:00 Intro
  • 1:20 What has been achieved, why hasn’t there been a restoration of the nuclear deal yet?
  • 9:02 US and Europe want to keep sanctions in place
  • 16:36 Who is being constructive vs obstructing the talks?
  • 20:25 Why should Iran even resume talks?
  • 29:10 Does Iran see a difference between Trump and Biden?
  • 32:29 Iranian liberals as extensions of the West
  • 35:53 Is war between Iran and the US inevitable?
  • 43:53 Consequences of the US Assassination of Qassem Suleimani
  • 58:57 The Gulf States reevaluate their relationship with Iran
  • 1:06:24 Iranian domestic politics under Raisi

US Exit From JCPOA ‘Disastrous’- Sullivan

Dec 18 2021

By Staff, Agencies

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan strongly criticized the previous administration of President Donald Trump over its “disastrous” withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA].

Sullivan made the remarks at an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations on Friday as the seventh round of the talks in Vienna aimed at reviving the JCPOA wrapped up.

He said the past few days have brought “some progress” at the negotiating table, but Tehran has “raced” its nuclear program since Washington pulled out of the agreement in 2018 under Trump.

“Getting that program back into a box through a return to mutual compliance with the JCPOA has proven more difficult through the course of this year than we would have liked to see,” he added. “And we are paying the wages of the disastrous decision to leave the deal back in 2018.”

Sullivan further said that the Vienna talks are “not going well in the sense that we do not yet have a pathway back into” the JCPOA.

The comments echoed those of Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who earlier admitted that abandoning JCPOA “isolated” the United States, not the Islamic Republic.

Blinken also said that the US maximum pressure campaign against Iran only pushed the country to “inexorably rebuild the nuclear program that the agreement had put in a box.”

Trump unilaterally left the JCPOA in May 2018 and re-imposed the anti-Iran sanctions that the accord had lifted. He also placed additional sanctions on Iran under other pretexts not related to the nuclear case as part of his “maximum pressure” campaign.

Following a year of strategic patience, Iran decided to let go of some of the restrictions on its nuclear energy program, resorting to its legal rights under the JCPOA, which grants a party the right to suspend its contractual commitments in case of a non-performance by the other side.

The US administration of President Joe Biden had voiced a willingness to compensate for Trump’s mistake and rejoin the deal, but it has retained the sanctions as leverage.

Envoys from Iran and the P4+1 group of countries — Britain, France, Russia, and China plus Germany — began negotiations in the Austrian capital in April in a bid to resurrect the JCPOA.

The seventh round of the talks, the first under Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s administration, started on November 29 following a five-month pause.

On December 17, Iran’s top negotiator, Ali Baqeri Kani, announced on Twitter that “good progress” had been made, and that the negotiations would continue after a “break of a few days.”

During the discussions, Iran presented two draft texts which address, separately, the removal of US bans and Iran’s return to its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA.

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E3 Ultimately Agreed To Accept Iran Viewpoints as Basis for Serious, Result-oriented Talks – Top Negotiator

Dec 18 2021

By Staff, Agencies

Iran’s chief negotiator Ali Baqeri Kani said the three European parties to the 2015 nuclear deal, also known as the E3, intimately agreed to accept Tehran’s viewpoint as a basis for “serious, result-oriented” talks as the latest round of discussions in Vienna comes to a close.

Baqeri Kani was briefing reporters on Friday, at the end of the seventh round of talks in the Austrian capital of Vienna between Iran and the five remaining signatories to the multilateral nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA], aimed at removing the US sanctions imposed on Tehran and saving the agreement.

He said the pace of reaching an agreement depends on the will of the opposite side, adding, “If the other side accepts the rational views and positions of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the new round of talks can be the last one and we can achieve a deal in the shortest possible time.”

The senior added that Iran and the P4+1 group of countries reached “two new documents for talks both on the issue of sanctions and on the nuclear issue,” referring to the bans that the US imposed on Iran after withdrawing from the deal and the retaliatory nuclear steps that Tehran took away from the accord.

He emphasized that a fresh round of Vienna talks would start in the near future based on these new texts which incorporate Iran’s viewpoints and positions.

Baqeri Kani, who also serves as deputy foreign minister for political affairs, noted that given the formation of a new administration in Iran, the country’s new negotiating team had brought along its own stance and views to Vienna.

At the same time, however, the new Iranian negotiating team took into account the positions, views, amendments and proposals put forwards by the former Iranian colleagues during the previous six rounds of talks in Vienna as well as the drafts that had been prepared up to that time and “incorporated them in the negotiation documents that we presented to the other side,” he added.

“Specifically, two documents were important for the negotiations. One was related to the removal of sanctions, which was the main priority on the agenda of the negotiating team of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the chief negotiator said.

He said the removal of sanctions was not just a priority for Iran, but other parties, including some of the P4+1 members, such as China, explicitly announced in the discussions that their priority was in harmony with that of Tehran.

In the course of the days that the latest talks were underway in Vienna, senior diplomats and experts of Iran and the P4+1 group of countries held several sessions on the removal of the sanctions and exchanged a number of documents about the two sides’ views on amendments or changes which should be made in the final text Baqeri Kani said, adding, “We received the latest documents on the sanctions removal today.”

Asked whether the two sides have managed to narrow down their differences, the senior diplomat said Iran announced its stance on the sanctions removal and nuclear issues in two documents, but “the European side was initially reluctant to accept the Islamic Republic of Iran’s views as a basis for the talks.”

He said the European signatories to the JCPOA — Britain, France and Germany— exerted pressure on Iran at first to make it retreat from its positions and insisted that the negotiations should move forward within the framework of the previous six rounds of the Vienna talks.

Faced with Iran’s resistance and logical arguments, the opposite side finally agreed to accept Iran’s positions as “a basis for serious, result-oriented” negotiations, the senior official added.

He criticized the E3 for failing to present a specific constructive initiative during the talks, saying, “They previously announced that they have proposals and initiatives on some topics, including the issue of guarantees, but we received no proposal or initiative from them during this round of talks.”

Iran’s chief negotiator explained that the talks were paused on Friday because the two sides agreed on the basis of the future negotiations, noting that they would resume a fresh round with serious discussions on the texts which have been agreed upon by all the negotiating teams.

Baqeri Kani said the new round of talks would be resumed within the next few days, adding that the negotiations will start based on the JCPOA and “no other basis has been announced by anyone and will be accepted by anyone.”

Iran and the five remaining parties to the JCPOA resumed talks in Vienna on November 29 after a five-month pause, marking the first round of negotiations under President Ebrahim Raisi’s administration and the seventh overall.

The Islamic Republic maintains that its presence at the talks is intended to have the US sanctions removed, which would, in turn, secure a US return to the nuclear deal.

The US, which is not allowed to directly participate in the talks as a result of its 2018 withdrawal from the JCPOA, claims that it is willing to undo the withdrawal and repeal its “maximum pressure” policy against Iran.

Iran argues that the onus is on Washington to return to the nuclear deal after removing its illegal sanctions and offering guarantees that it will not exit the pact again.

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