Rushdie, who was stabbed 10 times on Friday by a New Jersey man with apparent links to terrorism and religious fanaticism, is recuperating in a hospital in New York. However, the real victim of the Salman Rushdie attack is the US-Iran nuclear deal.
Update(1521ET): Not for the first time, the recent positive headlines about an allegedly “imminent” nuclear agreement with Iran seem premature as Iran may not accept the final document by the EU deadline of August 15, given the latest pronouncements from the US administration :
- The US is totally ready to continue vigorously enforcing sanctions if Iran refuses to accept a mutual return to the JCPOA.
- The US will respond privately to the EU coordinator on the EU proposal to resurrect the Iran nuclear deal.
It is evident that the US is threatening to implement sanctions going forward, indicating that even if Iran shows signs of being willing to make concessions, Washington might not be on board.
But the crucial plot development over the past hour has been Ned Price of the US State Department bringing up the attempted murder of Salman Rushdie in relation to a probable delay in completing a final JCPOA deal.
More significant disclaimers and potential deal-breakers from the US side…
Rushdie, who was stabbed 10 times on Friday by a New Jersey man with apparent links to terrorism and religious fanaticism, is recuperating in a hospital in New York. Since 1989, the Ayatollahs of Iran have had a fatwa and a bounty placed on his head.
According to reports coming out of Tehran, Iran is ready to embrace the revised JCPOA nuclear agreement that was offered last week by the European Union. The AP noted of the EU announcement made a few days ago, “After 16 months of torturous on-and-off indirect negotiations to restore the deal, the European Union’s foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell suggested there was no more room for negotiation on the draft now on the table.”
With an agreement in “final text” shape, there have been days of waiting for Tehran and Washington to respond, with Bloomberg reporting on Monday, “Iran says we have to let go on some nuclear demand to gain others; Iran to inform the EU of its response to a nuclear deal text tonight.”
Iranian officials did, however, make a crucial qualification that “Further nuclear talks will be needed if the US refuses to show flexibility,” which strongly suggests an anticipated positive response. It is also a rare occasion when Iran’s leadership expresses a willingness to make concessions.
According to Reuters, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, the Iranian foreign minister, said on Monday, “We exchange messages with Washington on three issues, and we have informed them of our readiness for compromise.”
A press transcript of the news conference held by the foreign ministry states, “he indicated that Tehran is ready to complete the deal to be further announced in the meeting of the ministries of foreign affairs if the Iranian opinions are approved, pointing out that Iran has no problem in reaching a deal if the US side adheres to the red lines determined by Iran.”
The top Iranian ambassador also contacted the Biden administration to “show more flexibility, stressing that the US side has relatively agreed to the Iranian proposals in Vienna negotiations with regard to two verbal matters that must be converted into a text and show flexibility on one issue, adding that the upcoming days will be highly critical.” However, Iran’s aspirations have not been entirely satisfied, according to the statement, which emphasizes willingness to compromise.
According to the regional Tehran Times, Iran has accepted the EU proposition through “Qatari mediation, Iran has accepted the EU proposal, and an agreement will soon be signed.” This comes after Russian ambassador Mikhail Ulyanov said last week, “we stand five minutes or five seconds from the finish line.”
The finish line is in sight, and energy is responding at the start of the week as oil has sustained losses due to the possibility of more Iranian supplies flooding the market as well as worries over Chinese demand, which has fallen to a six-month low.
Days ago, The Wall Street Journal published an article on something that at this moment might have been settled through EU mediation, “However, Iran came into last week’s talks insisting that the U.N. atomic agency’s three-year probe into undeclared nuclear material found in the country must be closed down if the nuclear deal is revived.”
The report noted further that “Several Western diplomats said… Tehran has doubled down on this condition in the past few days of talks and there is no agreement on the issue.” Though neither a signatory to the JCPOA or a participant in the Vienna process, Israel has emerged as the most vocal country, accusing Tehran of pursuing a nuclear weapon. Israeli authorities have long lobbied the Biden administration to reject a resurrected JCPOA, perceiving it as Iranian cover for a covert nuclear weapons program, something Iran’s leaders have rejected.