‘Russia can’t do anything’: Why the Iranian nuclear deal is dangerous for Moscow

‘Russia can’t do anything’: Why the Iranian nuclear deal is dangerous for Moscow

Lydia Misnik

After 11 months of negotiations, the Iranian nuclear deal is in jeopardy. According to the media, the reason for this is Russia’s special operation in Ukraine and the sanctions that have fallen on Moscow. Russian diplomacy is trying to prevent a situation in which Europe and the United States will be able to compensate for the rejection of Russian oil through supplies from Iran, experts say.
The signing of the Iranian nuclear deal, which was expected at the end of last week, has been postponed due to Russian demands, Politico writes, citing diplomatic sources. The publication claims that Russia is demanding that guarantees be included in the agreement that any future Russian business with Iran will be exempt from EU and US sanctions.
So Moscow, according to the publication, decided to respond to the sanctions imposed against it for conducting a military special operation in Ukraine.
Is it possible to meet the requirements of Russia
Negotiators from the US, UK, France, Germany and China are unable to find a way to meet such demands, the diplomats said. This means that now, after 11 months of negotiations in Vienna, the procedure for signing the deal is likely to be suspended for bilateral negotiations between Iran and Russia.
But as an unnamed senior Western official familiar with the situation explained to Politico, Russia’s dem-ands are impossible to me-et: the Vienna talks were about bringing Iran and the US back to the 2015 deal, not about sanctions against Moscow. As noted by the publication, because of these conditions of Russia, the atmosphere in the negotiations over the past few days has been extremely tense.
It was assumed that the resumption of the functioning of this nuclear deal would allow Russia to conduct business with Iran in full, but since new sanctions have been imposed on Russia due to the situation in Ukraine, Moscow remai-ns the loser in this deal, believes a senior researcher at the Center for Middle East Studies at IMEMO RAS Nikolay Surkov.
“Moscow is doing a lot to make the deal happen, but actually getting nothing in return. That is, Western companies will receive privileged access to the Iranian market, for Russia this makes no sense, ”he explained to Gazeta.Ru.
The conclusion of the deal in its current form will allow Iran to dramatically increase the volume of its oil supplies to the world market: Tehran will be able to compensate Europe for the missing volumes if it refuses Russian supplies, said senior researcher at the Center for the Study of the Countries of the Near and Middle East of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Candidate of Historical Sciences Vladimir Sazhin. According to him, it is quite possible that the Islamic Republic can compensate for the shortage of oil for the United States. For this reason, Russia needs to include a certain article in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“But I think that Iran, which is in a difficult economic situation today, will not be guided by Moscow – business is business. It is not worth expecting that Tehran will be engaged in charity towards Russia. The US needs this deal now, so it’s likely in the coming weeks and even days. And Russia cannot do anything to prevent this deal,” he told Gazeta.Ru.
Is it possible to restore the deal without Russia
Restoring the nuclear deal without Russian involvement is theoretically possible, officials familiar with the talks told Politico. This will require finding another country to export Iran’s excess enriched uranium, exchange it for natural uranium, and work with the Islamic Republic to convert its Fordow nuclear power plant into a research facility. Even Kazakhstan is named among the possible candidates for this role.
It is rather difficult to carry out a nuclear deal without Russia, since it plays a significant technical role in it, Nikolai Surkov noted.
“If the functions of Russia are transferred to the West, the question arises whether the Iranians will trust Western partners in this situation. Probably, now they will try to exclude Russia, but the question is who will have more arguments. If Russia signs the deal in the form in which it is now, there will be no benefit for it, ”he said. The expert also drew attention to the fact that this information appeared in the media for a reason.
“This is an attempt to put additional pressure on Moscow and prepare public opinion for the fact that if there is a breakdown in the deal, then Russia will be to blame. I doubt that Moscow will make concessions. And in this case, either the Westerners will have to give in, or they will spend some more time looking for a replacement for Russia,” said Nikolai Surkov.

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