Speaking in an interview with the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, Hassan Beheshtipour expressed views on Biden’s US approach towards the JCPOA and noted: The United States has apparently come to the conclusion that it cannot reach an agreement with Iran on the JCPOA as a whole, therefore, it is looking for a step-by-step agreement. In fact, Washington wants to pursue extra-JCPOA issues, but because it knows that the Islamic Republic of Iran is opposed to this issue and has repeatedly stated its opposition, it is trying to suspend the sanctions first and then advance the agreement with Iran step-by-step. In fact, the United States and Europe are seeking an interim agreement that would currently convince Iran to implement the JCPOA and then move on to the extra-JCPOA issues they consider, but Iran will not agree with such an issue.

Referring to a recent telephone conversation between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and European Troika foreign ministers and Europe’s approach to the plan, he said: Europe is fully in line with the United States in this regard; because European countries also claim that they should reach a ‘JCPOA Plus’ in order to reach an understanding with Iran on a series of extra-JCPOA issues in addition to the JCPOA.

Beheshtipour also commented on China-Russia views on the talks, saying: Beijing and Moscow are looking for the talks to be concluded in the form of the JCPOA and not in an extra-JCPOA. They believe that the JCPOA is a kind of non-proliferation agreement, and that this non-proliferation agreement is appropriate for both China and Russia. This is while the lifting of the sanctions is in the interests of China and Russia; because they can have better relations with Iran in various fields, including banking and investment as well as business activities.

The expert, stressing that China and Russia are also concerned about the possible consequences of their companies’ presence in Iran if the US sanctions continue, noted: Just like after Trump left the JCPOA, Chinese and Russian companies left Iran like the European companies. Because they could not cooperate with Iran and at the same time accept the US sanctions.

The nuclear expert, saying that China and Russia are seeking an agreement on the same JCPOA, continued: They do not agree with the extra-JCPOA agreement.

Beheshtipour, commenting on China-Russia relations with Iran as well as with the United States and Europe said: It should be noted that Russia and China have cooperation with the United States, hold joint meetings and try to adopt a joint strategy while consulting with each other; that is to say, although those countries have differences with the West, they do not want to form an anti-American or anti-European front; therefore, it cannot be said that Iran, China and Russia are one side in the negotiations and the Western sides are the other side. Iran’s view may be closer to China and Russia, but Beijing and Moscow also have differences with Tehran.

Regarding the negotiation process, Beheshtipour described it as slow, saying: The reason for being slow is that the two sides are not willing to back down from their positions. The negotiation process has now reached a stage where the parties are negotiating on sensitive parentheses; therefore, at such a stage, both Iran and the other side, especially the United States, are trying to give the minimum concession and get the maximum score.

He stressed: Of course, this slow process is moving forward, and all the evidence shows that agreements has been reached, but it has not yet reached the stage of signing a comprehensive agreement and making it public.

In conclusion, the expert on international affairs with regard to the probable timing of the agreement said: It seems that the parties are bargaining to gain more concessions and give lesser scores. It is not yet clear how long this process will take place, but we should not expect an agreement to be reached in the very near future, because the differences are fundamental and require a lot of effort in order to bring the negotiating parties to a common ground.