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The indirect dialogue between Washington and Tehran in Vienna seems on the verge of collapse. The ayatollahs are not willing to give in to their demands. The U.S. decision to keep the Revolutionary Guard on its list of terrorist groups was a failure for the Persian theocracy. This claim, which is unrelated to the agreement, constitutes one of the most difficult obstacles to achieving a new pact.
The U.S. is concerned about the possibility that Iran could create a nuclear bomb within weeks. “Yes, we are definitely concerned,” said WH Press Secretary Jen Psaki. These statements came hours after Anthony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State, announced that Tehran had accelerated its nuclear program. According to both Biden officials, the agreement helped to delay the advance towards atomic armament. Critics argue that it was a dangerous treaty and impossible to verify with certainty.
For a year now, the Persian dictatorship has been negotiating with China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and Germany to resume the old 2015 agreement. The aim was to halt its program in exchange for lifting financial sanctions. Tehran has openly reneged on its commitments since 2018.
Psaki further reported that President Joe Biden and Premier Naftali Bennett exchanged ideas by telephone. “They talked about the negotiations, which we are keeping the Israelis abreast of. Iran could at the current pace build a nuclear weapon very soon.” Their “breakout period has gone from a year, when the treaty was in effect, to less than a month,” he said.
The breakout period refers to the time it would take to accumulate enough uranium to make a bomb. It is important to note that possessing the necessary material does not imply being able to build the core, nor assemble it into a missile.
In the same vein, Anthony Blinken warned the Senate that time was running dangerously short. The United States is about to admit the impossibility of an understanding. In the face of criticism, the senior official accepted that the agreement was imperfect, but better than the alternatives. “We continue to believe that returning to compliance would be meeting the challenge and reining in Iran’s incredible aggressiveness.” He further revealed that the Iranians wanted to assassinate Mike Pompeo, his predecessor. “The attempts have been real and ongoing.”
Blinken acknowledged the data that surfaced last month, in a confidential report that described a security plan for former hierarchs, with 24-hour official protection. “I’m not sure I can say it, but there is a constant threat against American officials, both present and past.” And he emphasized, “We are protecting our people, present and former.” Pompeo, a former secretary of state and CIA director, was a hardliner, and pushed for tough economic sanctions on the Islamic regime.
In view of the dangerous situation, the Israeli national security advisor, Eyal Hulata, traveled to Washington to analyze a scenario in which the West does not reach an agreement with Iran. The White House statement on the meeting with his American counterpart, Jake Sullivan, stressed that they discussed “regional and global security issues”. Sullivan affirmed that Washington is in tune with Jerusalem on Iranian threats and the groups it supports
Eduardo Zalovich, Uruguayan-Israeli, is a history professor and journalist. He has written for several media, such as La Vanguardia, El Confidencial, Vozpopuli, Búsqueda and Correo de los Viernes. Zalovich analyzes, from the Middle East, the reality of the region and international politics. // Eduardo Zalovich, uruguayo-israelí, es profesor de Historia y periodista. Ha escrito para varios medios, como La Vanguardia, El Confidencial, Vozpopuli, Búsqueda y Correo de los Viernes. Analiza, desde el Medio Oriente, la realidad de la zona y la política internacional.