Conservative Pundit In Iran Says US Might Not Lift Key Sanctions
A conservative commentator on the Iranian state television whose views often reflect the positions of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's office, says Iran's next government should not withdraw from the nuclear deal with world powers, although the US will not lift most of the impactful sanctions.
Foad Izadi, a conservative academic characterized by the Iranian state TV as a senior expert on US affairs, often comments on Iran-US relations on Iran's English-language rolling news channel Press TV, as well as Persian news programs on Channels 1 and 2 of state TV.
Izadi's comments appeared on Mashregh news, a website close to Iran's security and intelligence organizations and funded by Khamenei's office, on the same day that the Iranian Foreign Ministry said the next round of indirect talks between Iran and the United States is likely to be the final round of negotiations before an agreement.
Expressing his opinion about optimism among some Iranian officials, Izadi said: "US negotiators speak more transparently than their Iranian counterparts." Meanwhile, he opined that "the United States will neither lift the sanctions, nor will it accept Iran's idea of verifying the removal of US sanctions."
He pointed out that US officials, including the special representative for Iran Robert Malley, usually talk about "suspending some of the sanctions."
He further claimed that according to US officials, the Iranian delegation has not put forward the idea of verification. Izadi further accused the Iranian administration of "non-professionalism," pointing out an article in the administration-owned daily Iran that says problems about 95 percent of the sanctions have been sorted out.
Izadi said it is the weight of the sanctions that is important, not their number. He added: "Even if 95 percent of the sanctions are lifted but some of the remaining sanctions have highly serious impact, it is as if no agreement has been made at all."
Regardless of his criticism of the Iranian administration's rhetoric about lifting the sanctions, Izadi said that "it is likely that some prisoners are going to be freed in return for releasing part of Iran's frozen assets." However, he did not say which assets.
Meanwhile, Izadi opined that the JCPOA has been a good deal as far as the US is concerned and that is why the Biden Administration wishes to return to the pre-Trump deal. "That is because it is the only way of restricting Iran's nuclear capabilities."
He said when the Americans say they want a longer and stronger contract with Iran, this means that some of the restrictions mentioned in the JCPOA will last longer. At the same time, a stronger deal means that Iran's defense industry (meaning ballistic missile development program) and its regional presence should be included in the new deal.
Izadi claimed that US Democrats have come to believe that the regime in Iran cannot be toppled through maximum pressure and that Iran should be robbed of its military leverage and regional influence before a regime change can take place.
Izadi also claimed that the United States wishes to influence the Iranian election to bring like-minded individuals to power in Iran. In this way, the Americans believe that they can also influence the succession to Khamenei later on, he said. He added that the US is likely to release up to $7 billion of Iran's frozen assets within the frameworks of a superficial agreement during the weeks ahead of the election in order to leave an impact on the Iranian election.
Asked what if a conservative figure wins the election, Izadi said in this case: "The Americans' assessment is that the situation will get more difficult, but it will be eventually no problem as they will continue to interact with that government."