Iran’s nuclear talks will not – and will not – succeed

President Biden. Illustrations | Getty Images, iStock

Watching the almost doomed negotiations between Iranian and European leaders in Vienna this month is to witness the immediate end of efforts to use diplomacy to shorten Tehran’s nuclear weapons program. When these negotiations inevitably break down, they will bury decades of delusion and expose the damaged edifice of US foreign policy. America’s reputation is well-deserved, and our increasingly ugly domestic differences will no longer be hidden under the brilliance of diplomacy.

negotiation Suspended At the time of writing this article and plans to resume next week, European diplomats are already very pessimistic. U.S. leaders are turning to obscure threats of force-“We will either re-comply with the agreement,” Said US Secretary of State Anthony Brinken said on Friday, “Otherwise we will have to consider other ways to deal with this problem”-and Iran is increasing its demands.Tehran wants a higher concentration threshold and guarantee that the United States won’t deep-six the agreement again the next time some fulminating Republican is elected president.

You don’t need to pass the diplomatic service exam to understand why this is going to be a problem: Iran There is a tough new president, Ebrahim Raisi, he does not believe that the United States will prevent the end of any bargaining for good reason. In 2018, the Trump administration quit The 2015 Joint Comprehensive Action Plan (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran Nuclear Accord, was nothing but arrogance and malice.That promise limited Iran’s enrichment activities have allowed the country to undergo intrusive inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in exchange for the lifting of sanctions. Although most Republicans have been opposed to the framework of the agreement, no one has come up with any reliable evidence that Iran is cheating.

The wayward actions of former President Donald Trump plunged the Iranian economy into chaos and brought unspeakable difficulties to the Iranian people, but achieved nothing. After the United States effectively destroyed the Iran nuclear agreement, Iran redoubled its efforts to increase its enrichment capabilities and restricted the ability of inspectors to monitor its nuclear activities. Today, Iran may be enriching uranium—— A complicated process Need to increase the concentration of U-235 isotope that provides fuel for nuclear power plants- To 20%. At 90%, you can start building bombs, although Tehran has always denied any intention to do so.

It is worth remembering that preventing Iran from reaching this stage is the entire purpose of the agreement, and the agreement that Trump undermined represents the beginning of the often hostile diplomacy and mistakes of more than a decade.The Trump administration claims that it was almost logically tortured that it could not be taken seriously, and the Iran deal made it a reality more Iran may pursue and acquire nuclear weapons. They argued that the withdrawal would force Tehran to return to the negotiating table, and that the negotiators of the Islamic Republic of Iran would either easily succumb to US terms or face the anger of air strikes.

There is no doubt that Iran has not negotiated with the Trump administration, and the United States has not launched a targeted attack. However, the more important long-term consequence is that Trump may permanently damage the credibility of the United States. Why do negotiating partners believe that US foreign policy decisions and agreements can survive the change of executive power in Washington? Other governments will not spend half a year negotiating an agreement that can only last for two to three years.

Trump caused a situation similar to Prisoner’s dilemma, A thought experiment used by scholars of international relations to understand the inherent difficulties of mutual trust among nations in the anarchy of global politics. Imagine that you and a friend decide to commit some minor crimes, and if you are caught, you agree to say nothing in advance. Sadly, it turns out that you are a very incompetent liar. You were caught, and the detective immediately divided you into different interview rooms.

If you two say nothing, you are likely to be sentenced to a short-term prison sentence of 1 year. However, if you blame your friend and she stays silent, she will be sentenced to three years and you will walk, and vice versa. If you betray each other, your sentence will be two years-worse than insisting on a deal, but better than being a fool.If you don’t trust each other, you Both Eventually it gets worse.

Many international relations scholars believe that this basic logic applies to various interactions between countries, including climate change negotiations, arms control agreements, and fishing restrictions. It is best for countries to comply with terms such as agreements to reduce nuclear weapons stocks or protect tuna stocks. In exchange for a little discomfort, both sides avoided a worse result. But just as no one enforces a handshake agreement between two petty criminals, there is no global sovereignty to punish crooks who secretly manufacture thousands of nuclear weapons or plunder every fish in front of them.

All this sounds bleak! But the clever game theor who made up this little fable thinks that there is a way to change its basic principles, Kobayashi MaruThe type of disaster calculus is to practice infinite iteration. In other words, if you wish to work with your friends again, you will be more likely to keep each other’s promises. Observers believe that even if there is no sheriff in the town, international agencies can alleviate conflicts by establishing lasting relationships and regular opportunities to cooperate and resolve conflicts between nations.

The Iran agreement may be the beginning of a self-reinforcing trust relationship between Washington and Tehran. Instead, Trump made Iran a fool in the game.

And this is not the first time — since the 1990s, the United States has withdrawn from treaties one after another, sometimes withdrawing from existing agreements (such as the anti-ballistic missile treaty), failing to ratify a formal treaty.U.S. Senate (e.g. The 1997 Mine Ban Treaty), or recently requested one-sided changes to existing agreements (for example, the Trump administration insists on renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement).

In general, these hoaxes make it harder for other states to believe in American diplomacy, especially the ruling Republican Party.The long-standing hostility and conflict between the United States and Iran have made it more difficult to overcome past betrayals, especially when the same Republican Party Conspired fairly publicly The 2024 coup. Tehran knows that the Middle East is the place where the Biden government wants to spend its limited political capital last. After nearly 20 years of threats from bombing operations that have never been realized, Iranian negotiators believe that such threats are forgiven for theaters.

Ultimately, Iran will not get the guarantee it wants here. Washington is not directly involved in these talks, and President Biden has no control over what his successor will do. Therefore, if Vienna does not have some genius, the crisis is likely to be staggered in its current form, and the situation of all parties will be even worse, until Iran finally produces nuclear weapons, or a future US president launches another cruel, dozens of Years of, no-going Iran to win the war.

By then, it was obvious who had been a fool.

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