Representatives of Iran, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United Kingdom began the long-awaited talks in the Austrian capital, aiming to restore the 2015 accord, which limited Iran’s nuclear activities in return for the lifting of sanctions. A possible return of the United States to the deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, is also being discussed. Remember in 2018, the then American president Donald Trump had withdrawn unilaterally from the deal and also reimposed sanctions on Tehran. In response, Iran stopped implementing parts of its commitments to the deal, and also expanded its nuclear programme significantly. Ahead of the talks, Iran demanded immediate lifting of all US sanctions, as well as a guarantee that no future US president will unilaterally abandon the deal again. The United States says it will take all steps necessary to come back into compliance, but warns that the window of negotiations won’t be open forever. The sense of urgency in bringing back the JCPOA has been shown by other signatories as well. After the first meeting on Monday, European Union official Enrique Mora, who is chairing the talks, expressed optimism. He was quoted as saying that Iran has agreed that the talks could resume largely where they had ended in June, rather than with an entirely new agenda. With the new government elected in Iran in June, there had been fears that it would undo the progress made in the earlier rounds of talks held between April-June.About the Iran Nuclear Deal:
What’s the concern now?
- Also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
- The JCPOA was the result of prolonged negotiations from 2013 and 2015 between Iran and P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union, or the EU).
- Under the deal, Tehran agreed to significantly cut its stores of centrifuges, enriched uranium and heavy-water, all key components for nuclear weapons.
- Trump pulled the U.S. out of the accord in 2018. Besides, he opted for a “maximum pressure” campaign by imposing sanctions and other tough actions.
- Iran responded by intensifying its enrichment of uranium and building of centrifuges, while maintaining its insistence that its nuclear development was for civilian and not military purposes.
Again, In January 2020, following the drone strike on Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Gen. Qasem Soleiman, Iran announced that it would no longer observe the JCPOA’s restraints.
Significance of Iran Nuclear Deal:
- The collapse of the JCPOA drags Iran towards nuclear brinkmanship, like North Korea, which has created major geopolitical instability in the region and beyond.
Significance of the deal for India:
- The Iran deal, despite its shortcomings, was a shining example of the capacity of world powers to come together and sort out a complex issue diplomatically.
- It assumed greater significance given the recent wars and chaos in West Asia
- It should have set a model in addressing other nuclear crises
- Iran deal, and other diplomatic achievements, is necessary to convince countries like North Korea, that it is possible to create security without acquiring nuclear weapons.
- The deal is important in ensuring the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and regional peace and stability.
Global Implications of withdrawal:
- Removing sanctions may revive India’s interest in the Chabahar port, Bandar Abbas port, and other plans for regional connectivity.
- This would further help India to neutralize the Chinese presence in Gwadar port, Pakistan.
- Restoration of ties between the US and Iran will help India to procure cheap Iranian oil and aid in energy security.
- Down trends in global economy.
- Fuel prices would reach high points.
- Iran may block Strait of Hormuz which is a strategic choke point which inturn would affect global trade.
- Giant economy like India, China and Russia will suffer.
- US has cancelled airlines from US to India because they pass over Iran which would affect airspace industry.