Ukraine – Russia Crisis Encourages Iran to Seek More Concessions at Vienna Talks


Foreign Affairs

Tel Aviv: The American reaction to the Russian invasion of Ukraine encourages Iran to push the Americans and Europeans in the Vienna talks to get more concessions.

Israeli defence sources say that the fact Washington has not initiated the harshest sanctions on Russia, mainly cutting it from the International Swift money transfer system, sends encouraging signs to Tehran. Israeli political sources say that in Iran’s view, the failure of the United States and the West,  to deal with the Ukrainian crisis, strengthens its position in the nuclear talks, which run parallel to the crisis in Eastern Europe.

The Iranian authorities maintain almost complete silence on the issue of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which is taking place simultaneously with the Vienna nuclear talks. But the Iranian media reveals Tehran is satisfied with the possibility of its escalation. This is based on their assessment that a global energy crisis could improve Iran’s revenues from oil sales, and that could increase due to the possible removal of sanctions and Iran’s return to the global energy market. Tehran expects to get $7 billion in frozen assets and sanctions relief on oil exports after the new nuclear agreement is signed.

An Israeli defence source said that Israel had very little hopes from the nuclear talks in Vienna, mainly because what he called “very elastic American approach that now reached the bottom.”

Sima Shine and Eldad Shavit,  two senior researchers from the Israeli Institute for national security studies (INSS) say in an updated analysis that the United States is also hard-pressed to respond to the Iranians’ demand to remove most of the personal sanctions, including from elements close to the Supreme Leader, as well as the demands to remove the Revolutionary Guards from the list of terrorist organizations and close past cases with the IAEA.

“Also problematic is Iran’s consistent demand from Washington that it will not leave the agreement again, and a recent demand for a commitment not to activate the existing “snapback” clause in the original agreement, which allows for Security Council sanctions to be restored.”

As the Vienna talks bring the parties very near to signing a new agreement, Jerusalem understands that after the agreement is signed, Israel will be very limited in openly operating against the Iranian nuclear program.

“Such actions, after the US signed the agreement will not be acceptable in Washington,” an Israeli political source said. He added that even the intensifying of the “Shadow War” against the Iranian nuclear program will have to be limited.

Talking with sources in Israel it seems that the understanding is that Iran will soon become a “nuclear threshold” country. In recent weeks, Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett accused Iran of taking an aggressive and bullying approach to “blackmail” the US into removing existing sanctions so it can fund its global terror activity through its pursuit of uranium enrichment  .