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Marc Finaud: Other issues should not be tied to reviving JCPOA

Excerpt from the interview given to Tahlil Bazaar

Image Credit: Marc Finaud, GCSP

Q: Considering the protests in Iran and the positions of people like Robert Malley, some experts believe that America is trying to separate nuclear negotiations from other issues. What is your assessment? A: It makes sense to keep such talks separate from any other issues. This was the philosophy of the whole JCPOA negotiations. The talks even went on despite the war in Ukraine. That being said, the current climate is not propitious for sober discussions and a breakthrough because governments' attention is difficult to focus on the talks.

Q: The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency says that the dialogue with Iran on the issue of nuclear safeguards has resumed. To what extent is this issue influential in the process of Iran's nuclear negotiations? A: Of course, both are inter-related, especially since Iran put the closure of the IAEA probes as a condition to conclude the Vienna talks. However, creating such a linkage may not be helpful because Iran has safeguards obligations that are external to the JCPOA and need to be implemented irrespective of the JCPOA.

Q: Iran has expressed readiness to resume negotiations. What is your assessment of this issue? A: This would be in Iran's interest to cooperate in settling this issue because the stakes in reviving the JCPOA are much higher.

Q: Sputnik, which is a Russian media, recently quoted a Russian official and announced that the nuclear talks will resume next month. Do you think the negotiations will start on this date? A: It is difficult to know exactly, but this is a good sign. It still gives each side time to explore solutions.

Q: It seems that after the US congressional elections, it is the right time for the Biden administration to start nuclear negotiations with Iran. What is your assessment? A: It could be a good opportunity but it will depend on whether Biden has a better margin of manoeuver in Congress to revive the JCPOA and lift the sanctions.

(The interview was originally published at, Tahlil Bazaar, Iran)

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