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Analysts Criticize Iran's Delay In Deciding The Fate Of Nuclear Talks

The United States has said that although there is no deadline for ongoing talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, further delays amid Tehran's acceleration of its nuclear program, can adversely affect the negotiations and the US decision to return to the JCPOA.

Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said on Monday that he has handed over the matters relating to the Vienna talks to the new government which is to take office in August. Reports from Washington on Tuesday indicate that the 7th round of negotiations with Iran will not start before mid-August after the new Iranian administration takes office.

Meanwhile, a comment made by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during a meeting with Israel's Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in which Stoltenberg called on Iran to respect its commitments under the JCPOA and its agreements with the IAEA has elicited an angry reaction on the part of the Iranian embassy in Brussels.

Iranian journalist Jamshid Barzegar told Iran International TV on Tuesday that Stoltenberg's statement reiterates the West's expectations and Iran most likely is prepared to accept them, but the decision has been delayed by Iran’s June election and the need for the new administration to take office.

Speaking about US concern over the delay in Iran's decision, Barzegar said that Washington is concerned about the expansion of Iran's nuclear program whereby Tehran has been boosting its enrichment capabilities. He said Iran is currently not in a position to make it to the point of no return, although this possibility always raises concerns in the West.

In Iran, reformist politician and former labor minister Mohammad Salamati told Khabar Online website that once Ebrahim Raisi becomes president, it will erode opposition by hardliners to the revival of the JCPOA and the acceptance of terms set by the Pairs-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF). However, he stressed that nuclear issues and diplomatic matters in Iran are beyond the authority of the president. Policies in these matters are made at a higher level, meaning Khamenei's office.

This is what the West already knows but it is always possible that Iran would use the change in presidential administrations to ask for more in the negotiations. Delaying the talks until mid-August can also be in the interest of the West.

He stressed that whether President Hassan Rouhani makes the deal or his successor President Raisi, any agreement made on the nuclear issue is one made by the regime, not by a certain administration.

Meanwhile, Iranian analyst Abdolreza Faraji Rad told Etemad Online website that any delay by Iran in reaching an agreement with the United States over the nuclear issue will create problems for the incoming administration. He was alluding to the fact that Raisi needs the nuclear issue and problems in foreign policy to be sorted out and US sanctions to be lifted as soon as possible, to help him improve the battered economy.

Qasem Moheb-Ali, another analyst talking to Etemad Online said that it is in Tehran's interest to reach an agreement in Vienna. The analyst however expressed concern that although Rouhani and his spokesman Ali Rabiei have said that all matters have been taken care of in Vienna, President-elect Raisi has still not said a word about what he wants from America other than lifting the sanctions.

Moheb-Ali also expressed concern over the fact that some Iranian hardliners basically deny that Iran needs US sanctions to be lifted for the new government to address economic issues. Referring to Iranian hardliners' excessive demands from America, he said it is a joke to expect the United States to give away anything before an agreement is reached in Vienna.

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