Iran putting too much faith into Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action?

Nuclear Program Materials 23 May 2023 19:02 (UTC +04:00)
Iran putting too much faith into Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action?
Elnur Baghishov
Elnur Baghishov
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, May 23. The 4+1 group (the UK, Germany, France, Russia, China), as well as Iran and the US, have expressed different opinions about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) regarding Iran's nuclear program.

Of course, there are large differences of opinion among the parties. The US and 3 European countries are calling attention to Iran's failure to fulfill its obligations, and Iran is calling the attention of the US to withdraw the 5+1 group and European countries not to take any steps.

In January 2016, JCPOA was launched between Iran and the P5+1 group (US, Russia, China, UK, France, and Germany) in connection with Iran's nuclear program. In May 2018, the US announced its withdrawal from the deal and imposed sanctions on Iran in November of the same year. To preserve the agreements reached as part of the JCPOA, the European signatories of the deal started in January 2019 that a financial mechanism for maintaining trade with Iran called INSTEX was formed.

On May 8, 2019, Iran announced that it had ceased fulfilling its commitments regarding the sale of over 300 kilograms of uranium, as stated in the deal, basing its decision on the other signatories that have not fulfilled their obligations. On July 7, Iran announced that it will not be fulfilling its commitments regarding the enrichment of uranium at 3.67 percent and the reconstruction of the Arak Heavy Water Reactor Facility as stated in the deal.

Iran announced that it will enrich uranium using next-generation centrifuges and will not mix it with the enriched uranium residues as part of the third step of reducing commitments in JCPOA on Sept.5. On Nov. 5, 2019, Iran announced that it took the fourth step in connection with reducing its commitments to the nuclear agreement. So, uranium gas is being pumped to the centrifuges at the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant.

On Jan.2020, Iran took the last fifth step in reducing the number of its commitments within JCPOA. The US imposed new sanctions on Iran in November 2018. Over the past period, the sanctions affected Iranian oil exports, more than 700 banks, companies, and individuals. The sanctions have resulted in the freezing of Iranian assets abroad.

Recently, Iranian officials have been talking about restoring the JCPOA. Iran is eager to restore the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, emphasizing that its nuclear program is peaceful in the first stage. In exchange for fulfilling its obligations in this direction, it wants the sanctions applied against Iran to be canceled.

Currently, Iran is facing many economic problems. Economic indicators, inflation, per capita income, liquidity, etc. are in the worst situation in Iran. The events that took place in Iran at the end of last year, protests, riots, etc., also created certain problems.

Can any progress and agreement in the nuclear talks solve Iran's problems? Of course not. Because Iran must join the FATF to join the international financial and banking network. Joining the FATF is a major issue within Iran. Because even if one party within the country considers it acceptable to join this convention, the other party considers it as the transfer of all the country's information abroad and does not accept it.

The objectives of FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory, and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing, and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

During the recent FATF meeting, Iran has been warned that it may be added to the list of non-cooperative countries within three months if it does not completely fulfill the FATF requirements. Iran fulfilled 37 of 41 FATF requirements. The remaining four requirements refer to the legislative field.

The amendments to the Counter-Terrorist Financing Act, Anti-Money Laundering Act, Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (Palermo), and International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) were prepared by the Iranian government and sent to the parliament. Although the four conventions have been approved and sent to the Expediency Council of Iran, the CFT and Palermo conventions have not yet been ratified by the Council.

FATF was established in 1989 on the initiative of the G7 Group to combat money laundering. FATF has 37 members and its secretariat is in Paris. Iran was included in the FATF blacklist in 2007. The anti-Tehran steps have been taken since 2009. Thus, the countries were cautious in their financial and banking transactions with Iran.

Taking reciprocal steps against Iran through diplomatic steps has been postponed since 2016. FATF included Iran on the blacklist again on Feb. 21, 2020.

Iran's nuclear program remains a knotty issue for both this country and the whole world. Success can be achieved by holding discussions about the nuclear program. Moreover, the sanctions related to the nuclear program by the US and Western countries may be lifted. But Iran needs to spend more and earn less for any economic activity.

Because in the economic development of the country, funds worth at least $200 billion should be spent on the oil sector alone. This shows that the country needs big investments. However, large investment companies in the world are not interested in investing in countries without economic stability.


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