An Iran Nuclear Deal in the Near Future Seems Unlikely

Written by Bushra Bani-Salman – September 12, 2022

The 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), more commonly known as the Iran Nuclear Deal, was a monumental agreement between Iran, Germany, and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (United States, China, France, Russia, and the United Kingdom). The JCPOA increased regulations and constraints on Iran’s nuclear program and in return, lifted sanctions and the weapons embargo on Iran.

In 2018, President Trump withdrew the US from the JCPOA deal, arguing that it did not serve its purpose. President Trump pressed Iran with sanctions in hopes for a different agreement. This gave Iran the ability to return to its nuclear activities and enhance its program over 3 years. After President Joe Biden took office in 2021, he said the US would go back to the JCPOA deal, if Iran went back to adhering to the agreement. 

Iran’s accelerated collection of uranium and its work on enriching the chemical element has raised concern in the Middle East, as well as the international community as a whole. Iran says its work on nuclear energy is for domestic energy consumption, but Director General of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Gross says, “it [Iran] has no justification to enrich uranium to 60 percent for civilian purposes.”

Fast forward to the present, it remains unclear whether parties are able to come to an agreement. Notable changes in world affairs could be a determining factor in how this is playing out. Some members of the UN Security Council have new leaders and the Russian invasion of Ukraine has proved a critical component in current international affairs. 

What remains certain is Iran’s inconsistency. A nuclear deal with Iran has been in negotiation for 18 months now, and when a finalization of the draft comes close, the Iranians add demands that set it back. One demand is assurance that the US will not pull out of the deal, like President Trump did in 2018. Another is that the US remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group. Some believe that these demands are to prolong negotiations, giving Iran more time to enhance their nuclear program. 

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