The Biden administration’s hawks and doves are busy preparing the US for two parallel tracks. Even the doves are becoming aware that the JCPOA is doomed and are therefore preparing for what they imagine will be negotiations on an entirely different nuclear agreement with Iran beyond the JCPOA. The hawks are preparing Plan B with Israel to destroy the Iranian nuclear weapons program and diplomatically building the emerging international coalition to impose a no-fly zone over Iran, to be activated when the negotiation option is officially declared dead.
US Iran envoy and archappeaser Rob Malley has declared that he believes that Iran wants a different agreement from the JCPOA and that the US is ready to negotiate one although according to Malley not on Iran’s terms. Will there ever be another negotiation process beyond the death of the JCPOA? This is highly doubtful since Iran has declared that they are not interested in any other agreement than the JCPOA. Iran’s primary interest in participation in negotiations on ostensibly reaching a nuclear agreement with the US is to appease China and Russia so that they will not move to reimpose UN comprehensive economic sanctions against Iran.
However, it is highly doubtful that Iran will ever again participate in negotiations to reach a nuclear agreement with the US. In any case, were such indirect negotiations to be conducted, they would not lead anywhere since Iran does not believe that an agreement on the nuclear file serves Iran’s economic and nuclear interests. This is so as the next Republican administration would abrogate any agreement with Iran and Donald Trump may indeed return to the White House in three years time. No major international economic actors would be interested in investing in Iran or building long-term trade relations with Iran under such economically uncertain conditions.
Whether Iran will participate in negotiations on ostensibly reaching a nuclear agreement with the US is thus largely dependent on the Chinese and Russian attitudes towards Iran. If they take a soft line towards Iran, negotiations are extremely unlikely, if there is a real threat of reimposing United Nations comprehensive economic sanctions against Iran, then may Tehran agree to pro forma participation in such indirect “negotiations”. However, a harsher line by Beijing and Moscow is extremely unlikely and therefore we will most probably not see any further negotiations beyond the death of the JCPOA.
It must be understood that China and Russia are like almost everyone else in the international community intensely fearful of Iranian weapons of mass destruction and their potential to strategically disrupt and undermine the respective national economy. However, Beijing and Moscow are pretending to be compliant dhimmis submitting to the dictates of the Islamic Republic of Iran as they prefer Western powers dealing with Iran militarily and paying the price in civilian mass deaths from Iranian weapons of mass destruction.
China and Russia give the impression of being “optimists” on negotiations with Iran but are they really? What we see is a sophisticated coordinated strategy on the part of Beijing and Moscow to let others deal with the problem and thus at least they hope to avoid paying the price for being classified as “Zionist” adversaries by Tehran. Of course “Zionist” for Tehran means being complicit in the global “Jewish conspiracy” to destroy Islam, and Tehran and other Islamists do believe that Beijing and Moscow are highly complicit in that ostensible “effort”. The Muslim Brotherhood is classified as a terrorist organization in Russia, and Iran is aligned with the Turkey-based global Muslim Brotherhood intelligence network and not merely with Hamas. Iran is of course well aware that there is no country in the world with such hostile policies towards its Muslim citizens as China. Both Russia and China joined the “war on terror” already in 2001, an international effort which Iran believes is part of the American-Jewish “octopus” against Islam. Tehran is sophisticated enough to not fall for Beijing’s and Moscow’s diplomatically coordinated game of pretending to be dhimmis.
What we can expect beyond the JCPOA is likely no more negotiations although this largely depends on the Russian and Chinese coordinated diplomatic stance vis-a-vis Iran. If against all odds there were to be “negotiations”, that would delay for months the joint Israeli-American strike on the Iranian nuclear weapons program and the imposition of a no-fly zone over Iran that would provide air support to armed rebellions throughout the country and most likely bring down the regime. However, the US is preparing Plan B not only as a deterrent to compel Iran to conclude a nuclear agreement with the United States, but as a real military option to be implemented when the track of the doves inevitably collapses.