In the event of the failure of the Vienna negotiations, what is the plan “B” for Tehran and Washington?
Some experts believe that Washington and Tehran have a Plan B if the Vienna negotiations fail; For the United States, this means continuing and tightening economic sanctions, and for Iran, it means accelerating the pace of the nuclear program with increased dependence on China.
Washington – Washington’s position has changed since the start of the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” negotiations on the Iranian nuclear file last Monday in Vienna; President Joe Biden said that “any new agreement must also include Iran’s malign regional activity and ballistic missile program.”
For its part, Iran directly rejects this, and even demands that Washington pay compensation for the damages resulting from the US withdrawal from the nuclear agreement three years ago.
The contradiction of Iranian and US positions reinforces expectations that the seventh round of negotiations will fail. This, in turn, prompted an attempt to explore Washington and Tehran’s alternative plans, or what is referred to as “Plan B”, if the ongoing negotiations ended without results.
What does failure of negotiations mean?
David de Roche, a professor of security studies at the National Defense University and a former military official at the Pentagon, says – in an interview with Al Jazeera Net – that both Washington and Tehran have announced contradictory conditions, and that Washington’s goal in this tour is either to pressure Iran to abandon its declared position, or to prove to its allies. The Europeans have tried everything, and that the European Union should once again support the imposition of multilateral sanctions on Iran.
For her part, Barbara Slavin, an expert on Iranian affairs and director of the “Iran’s Future Initiative” at the Atlantic Council, says that “both parties have a clear plan in the event of failure to return to the nuclear agreement signed in 2015”.
As for the United States – Slavin tells Al Jazeera Net – “this means continuing the sanctions, trying to use the mechanisms of the United Nations to tighten them, in addition to giving Israel a green light to continue its secret operations against Iran.”
As for Iran, Slavin believes that the failure of the Vienna negotiations means “accelerating the pace of the nuclear program, while increasing dependence on China. It is possible that Iran will also increase its support for militias that attack US forces and their allies in the region, which raises tension, but the economic suffering of the Iranians will continue.” “.
Washington’s alternative plans
Sina Azudi, an expert at the Atlantic Council and a researcher at the Institute for Gulf Studies, believes that “Washington’s alternative plans are to pressure the Chinese to stop buying Iranian oil, and this may be done through its European allies. the three The participants in the negotiations are Britain, France and Germany.
In his speech to Al-Jazeera Net, Ozodi believes that “Washington can threaten to start measures that would re-impose the sanctions previously imposed by the United Nations, as well as give the green light to Israel to strike Iranian nuclear facilities.”
For his part, Esfandiar Gildeji, a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, and an expert on Iran, predicted that “the United States and Europe will move to re-impose multilateral sanctions on Iran, but Iran will hope that China and Russia will resist and refuse to join the new sanctions campaign, which It provides Iran with some limited economic prospects in return.”
For this reason, Gildeji says – to Al-Jazeera Net – “It is possible that the temporary agreement will include cuts – for example – for Iranian oil sales to China, at a time when the West is trying to engage Russia and China in a new pressure campaign.”
But “Plan B” will not differ significantly from the current situation in particular, according to Gildeje, “it does not appeal to any party, and the focus remains on Plan A.”
Plan B for Tehran
As for Tehran’s alternative plan if the current round of negotiations fails, Azudi says that the Iranians are relying on the activities of their nuclear program to pressure the United States, and at the same time to deter the Israelis from carrying out any attack, “and no one really knows what will happen if there is an attack on Iran, But the Iranians will not sit idly by if the Israelis attack them.”
Esfandiar Gildeji believes that Tehran’s alternative plan will be “a temporary agreement that codifies the current political and economic situation. If the JCPOA talks fail, it is expected that Iran will keep the door open to diplomacy, in its quest to avoid an all-out military conflict. an interim agreement to achieve this political objective.
For his part, Professor at the Center for Near East and South Asia at the American National Defense University, Jawdat Bahjat – in his speech to Al-Jazeera Net – considered that the criticism of the new Iranian President Ibrahim Raei for the approach of the Rouhani and Zarif administration because of their focus too much on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, “indicates that there is no The main objection is to focus on expanding and strengthening relations with neighboring countries, as well as with Russia and China, at the expense of the nuclear negotiations.
It is worth noting that former Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was educated in the United States and served for a long time at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, while his current counterpart, Hossein Abdollahian, was educated in Iran and served in Iraq and Bahrain.
Who is to blame?
Expert David de Roche predicts that the talks will fail. “The big issue is who is to blame for this failure. If the talks fail, and European partners appear to blame Iran for this failure, they are likely to re-impose multilateral sanctions against it, and that will be a defeat for it.” .
De Roche believes that Iran has no plan B, “and it seems that their original plan is stable and solid around returning to the original JCPOA, as it can divert the West’s attention through a lengthy and intense negotiation process, away from their nuclear activities,” he said. With Al Jazeera Net.
De Roche says that Iran’s goal is to return to the original nuclear agreement, which does not put any limits on its influence in countries with Shiite populations, through the formation of armed Iranian militias.
The return to the previous nuclear agreement also allows – according to de Roche – a free hand for Iran to develop the ability of ballistic missiles to reach targets throughout the region, and “there is no indication that this plan has changed on the part of Iran.”