Hopes of reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal are waning as the United States, Iran, and European negotiators voiced pessimism about the future of the talks.
After a five-month pause, a new round of negotiations concluded in Vienna this week with Iran’s foreign minister questioning the intentions of the U.S. and European signatories of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA ).
The JCPOA placed limits on Iranian enriched uranium and established processes for United Nations monitoring of Iranian nuclear development facilities. The United States withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018 at the direction of President Donald Trump.
In Stockholm, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said recent moves and rhetoric “don’t give us a lot of cause for…optimism.”
While Russia, China, France, Germany, and Great Britain participated directly in the talks, U.S. participation was indirect. Iran set a number of preconditions that it said must be met prior to agreeing to meet directly with the United States.
The Iranian demands included the lifting of sanctions against the Islamic State, and guarantees that the U.S. will not withdraw from a re-negotiated JCPOA.
Appearing on this week’s episode of the CBN News program The Global Lane, Middle East Forum Director Gregg Roman also expressed pessimism about the future of the negotiations.
“We saw that Iran was asking for immediate lifting of all Western sanctions, specifically American sanctions against Iran in exchange for almost nothing in this area,” Roman said. “What we’re looking at right now is that Iran is going to get better caps on their nuclear program for almost complete relief from the West, which I would deem a complete loss for our efforts to limit their nuclear program.”
International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi has expressed concerns over the IAEA’s inability to gain access to re-install video monitoring systems at Iranian nuclear development facilities — especially at a workshop where parts are manufactured for use in nuclear centrifuges.
Grossi wants to make sure the parts are not being diverted for use in the construction of a nuclear bomb. Also, he suspects Iran is stockpiling enriched uranium at levels 16 times beyond limits set by the 2015 JCPOA.
Iran has admitted that it is now producing enriched uranium metal which is only used in the construction of a nuclear bomb.
Roman suggests the Iranian actions are worrisome.
“The IAEA keeps on reporting on the increase in their enriched uranium stockpiles at an ever-growing level, which brings them closer to that breakout capability. I think they’re on the threshold of a nuclear weapon breakout capability where beforehand it may have been a year, now they could probably develop an improvised weapon within a month,” Roman insisted.
He predicts that once the Iranians develop nuclear weapons, they will locate them in sites beyond the centralized locations of Isfahan, Shiraz, and the Bushehr nuclear reactor.
“They have their program divided between hundreds of different sites, and those are the sites that we know about,” he explained. ” So, as they increase their production and the West keeps on quibbling and basically dribbling over their negotiations team in Vienna, Iran is on the precipice of a nuclear weapon. And I think that once they get it, they’re not going to go back out of that Pandora’s box.”
BELOW: Watch the full interview with Gregg Roman and be sure to follow The Global Lane on the CBN News Channel.