Trita Parsi Profile picture
2 Apr, 19 tweets, 5 min read
/THREAD/ Very good and welcomed news on the #IranDeal!

Given the deadlock and the disappointing pace of movement in the first weeks of Biden’s term. Here are a few thoughts on why it finally has happened and where we will go from here.>>
2. Privately, White House officials admit that how they fumbled the Iran file earlier on (my words, not theirs). But things have changed, the message is, and the US is now moving full speed toward a JCPOA return. We are now seeing the first signs supporting this narrative. >>
3. Over the past weeks, however, mistrust between the two sides has grown. The Iranians have watched in dismay how Biden has messaged that the JCPOA is not a priority and how coordination with Israel and assuaging hawks in Congress were. >>
4. This left them with the impression that either Biden wanted to use Trump’s maximum pressure sanctions as a bargaining chip or that he simply didn’t have the will to pay the price of taking on the opponents of the JCPOA in the US and the region. >>
5. At the same time, the US side saw a continuation of attacks in Iraq, a hardening of Iran’s public position as well as escalatory nuclear moves, and speculated that perhaps the window already has closed - Tehran doesn't want a return until after its Presidential elections.>>
6. For the last few weeks, the two sides have indirectly exchanged proposals on how to break the deadlock. The US proposals that have been mentioned in the media have all been lowballing the Iranians, which appears to have made matters worse.>>
7. Driving a hard bargain under these circumstances only further depletes trust and is counterproductive to the intermediate objective - starting direct talks. Indeed, from the outset, it was a mistake to turn what should have been a COORDINATION into a NEGOTIATION.>>
8. So why the breakthrough now? I suspect the US has wisely, behind the scenes, put forward a more robust proposal. No more lowballs. I doubt that when Russia’s Lavrov spoke of “positive movements” on the US side, he was referring to the lowball proposals.>>
9. Nor would Iran - given its political season - likely agree to this meeting next week unless something more robust was on the table. Moreover, US officials have told the NYT that they will “not seek to retain some sanctions for leverage” a la Trump>>…
10. This would jive with the most important breakthrough in the history of the JCPOA - the one secured in Oman in March 2013. This was where the real JCPOA talks began, and it was secured by the US putting on the table acceptance of enrichment in Iran.>>
11. But the US managed to keep that secret for years. In fact, most journalists covering the issue have yet to fully acknowledge this, and have instead explained the breakthrough as a result of the sanctions squeeze on Iran.>>
12. It was a clever move by the US to get real talks started, but also to avoid the backlash in DC over the fact that a major concession had been given to Iran. I wouldn’t be surprised if something similar happened here, but obviously on a much smaller scale.>>
13. (I detail what happened in Oman in Losing an Enemy:…)
14. But this is just the beginning of the process. As the Russian ambassador in Vienna said, “The impression is that we are on the right track but the way ahead will not be easy and will require intensive efforts.”
15. The question is what the choreography will look like now. The US side prefers several coordinated steps that build to the final goal of full compliance-for-compliance. The Iranians prefer a quick, one-step process that immediately cuts to the chase.>>
16. There are arguments for both approaches. But Tehran is in a bit more of a time crunch because of its elections. A dragged-out process - just see how long it has taken to just get this meeting! - will make it highly vulnerable to attacks by JCPOA opponents.>>
17. This is true on both sides, but mindful of the Iranian elections, it is particularly vulnerable to politicization in Iran. It is frankly better for the US, imo, that the process is quick as the Iranian elections may cause a lot of unhelpful political posturing by Tehran. >>
18. Best thing is to get a quick choreography that binds both sides to full compliance, even though the steps may simply be binding decisions to do things within the next weeks. The actual steps may be taken later, but the BINDING DECISION TO TAKE THEM WILL BE MADE NOW. >>
19. That way, the JCPOA will be resurrected and protected BEFORE the Iranian elections - and not subject to the outcome of the elections.

This clearly lies in the national interest of the United States - as @JoeBiden himself has made clear numerous times.//

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More from @tparsi

21 Mar
1. A crucial piece by @JessLee_DC on how anti-China rhetoric fuels violence against Asian-Americans.

In this thread, I add some of my own thoughts based on the Iranian-American experience.…
2. First of all, Jess is right in the sense that the heated anti-China not only doesn't advance US interest, it also pits Americans against each other here at home. It's a lose-lose.
3. Jess rightly argues that Biden’s condemnation of the murders in GA misses the mark because it fails to acknowledge that Washington’s over-the-top rhetoric on China fuels an atmosphere of fear and anxiety, which boomerangs in the form of violence against Asian Americans.
Read 13 tweets
28 Feb
/THREAD/ 1. Disturbing news that Iran has rejected the EU invitation for talks with the US re the JCPOA. This is a very negative and worrying development. It complicates matters further and risks jeopardizing the deal. But it is NOT surprising. Here’s why…
2. As I wrote yesterday in the @Guardian, the idea that Iran would talk directly with the US while the US continued implementing JCPOA-busting sanctions was tried by Trump for 3 years and didn’t work then, and it likely won’t work now.…
3. Don’t take my word for it. This is what Wendy Sherman - Trump’s Dep Secr. of State - said about it in 2019: I “would be shocked if Iran agreed to a meeting without some sanctions relief.” Sherman was right then and she is right now.>>
Read 18 tweets
28 Jan
So diplomacy on how to revive the #IranDeal seems to have hit a roadblock even before it began. Iran & the US are publically dueling about who has to take the first step.

But we have been here before though, so there are good reasons to remain calm.

Here’s why >>
Both the US and Iran have accepted a compliance-for-compliance mechanism. Both sides simply go back into the deal with no preconditions. Then, whatever needs to be renegotiated, will be addressed when both are in compliance.

But that doesn't resolve who should go first. >>
Without providing any particular argument, Biden and Secr of State Blinken have stated that the US will go into full compliance once the Iranians have done the same. That is, Iran has to take the first step. >>
Read 15 tweets
27 Nov 20
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, one of Iran's most important nuclear officials, has been assassinated in Tehran. This is what we know /THREAD/:

1. Israel has assassinated numerous Iranian nuclear scientists in the past but have never been able to get to the highly protected Fakhrizadeh.
2. Some Iranian reports claim it was a suicide attack, but the bullet holes in Fakhrizadeh’s car cast some doubt on that.

3. If it was a suicide bomb, then that reduces the likelihood of Israeli operatives carrying out the attack.
4. Israel has, however, used operatives from the Iranian terrorist organization the MEK in the past to conduct attacks in Iran. The MEK is the group that introduced suicide assassinations to Iran.…
Read 11 tweets
15 Sep 20
Hate to rain on Pompeo, Bibi and MBZ’s parade, but here’s why this “deal” will intensify tensions and give another lease on life for America’s counterproductive military presence in the Middle East. >>
2. Contrary to Pompeo's talking points, this will not create peace or make it easier to bring home US troops from the region. The focus on the “Iran threat” is designed to lock the US into a Cold/Hot War in the Middle East for decades to come. >>
3. We will be hearing endless arguments going forward - from many different sides - that now that the Israelis and the "Arabs" (though its only UAE and Bahrain) - have united, the US is obligated to support them against the “Iranian menace.” >>
Read 7 tweets
14 Aug 20
So Trump & Pompeo just massively embarrassed the US on the world stage with a humiliating loss at the UNSC. Passionately fighting losing battles has become the hallmark of Trump and Pompeo's Iran policy, but this takes it to an entirely new level. >>
Only two votes in favor, two against and 11 abstentions.

It would be a mistake to solely look at this as yet another example of Trump's diplomatic vandalism as it misses the real point: The structural stupidity of US Middle East policy that long predates Trump. >>
From embarrassing the U.S. at the Council, Trump and Pompeo will now move on to create an existential crisis for the Council. Even if the US manages to trigger snapback, other P5 states will challenge the legitimacy of the move and leave the Council in an unprecedented crisis.>>
Read 9 tweets

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