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Nuclear Negotiations from Vienna. The Success or the Fiasco of Diplomacies?

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Recent events occurred on the world scene have brought to the fore the Iranian nuclear issue which has got, in fact, a particular significance for the international community. It was transferred over the nuclear issue controversial overtones, being assessed, analyzed, judged like a Rubik's cube from the light of orientalist representation on the one hand, and of Westernizer’s on the other hand. However, the approach of nuclear subject reveals an international environment that is marked by negotiations and more earnest attempts to establish a beneficent modus vivendi. Negotiations on Iranian state's nuclear program have engaged the participants in a vulnerable demarche, involving them in a fascinating game to work out.

The process of negotiations between the P5+1 group (The US, The Great Britain, France, China, Russia, and Germany) – representing the great powers of the West – and Iran (the main power in the Middle East), aimed to establish a viable nuclear agreement and appropriate to the new security dynamic, as well as the framework agreement signed at Lausanne on April 2nd, demonstrated that, in an increasingly conflictual age of international relations, only the power of diplomacy can restore the ideal of society. That is why the main actors of the dialogue – the West and Iran – have paid attention to the diplomatic component of political tools. As a result, this month, Iran and the P5+1 decisional body opened in Vienna the eight round of nuclear talks, both delegations trying to finalize the text of a comprehensive nuclear deal by the end of the month.

The negotiators have got in a counter-time race, and the perceptions hailed from the international milieu are looming around the sum of probabilities for success or failure of the talks. The outlook of the long-awaited outcome of this month, negotiations involves a challenging analysis, one in lights and shadows, as the nuclear topics - which took the form of a crisis - should be studied in the context not only of the many events and phenomena of world politics, but also of states’ behavior associated with their political practices.

Despite expectations that the final agreement to be concluded by the deadline date of June 30th, the negotiations is rolling against a fundamental paradox generated by the antagonisms of public statements of the governments concerned in treaty. There is, on the one hand, the Iranian delegation. Asked about his standpoint concerning the underway nuclear talks, Iran’s Foreign Minister and the head of Iran’s nuclear delegation Mohammad Javad ZARIF expressed his expectations on positive outcome of negotiations as long as the other powers “don't make excessive demands”[i]. On June 26, he departs for Vienna to join the negotiating team, whose senior member Abbas ARAGHCHI (also Deputy Foreign Minister), expressed several times his skepticism, affirming that “our basis is mistrust and this is the reality[ii]. In an interview with the state TV, ARAGHCHI has strengthened his reticence upon nuclear talks between Tehran and the world powers, saying that “the differences which exist on the text of (a final) agreement have lessened, but progress is not made as expected”[iii].  On the other hand, is the Western delegation (dominated by the USA) that is trying to show certain compliance in negotiations, US Secretary of State, John Kerry declaring that Washington would not insist that Iran answer unresolved questions about its past nuclear activities because the United States already knows exactly what Tehran has done […] What we're concerned about is going forward. It's critical to us to know that going forward, those activities have been stopped, and that we can account for that in a legitimate way.[iv]. But even so, within the Western flank, opinions about a final deal with Iran are divided. Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter STEINMEIER has expressed confidence that a deal was imminent "in the next few days" as long as the Iranian government "continues to negotiate constructively", but it can be noticed in the same time a temperate attitude when he warned that Iran must avoid "evasive maneuvers on the final stretch."[v]. Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary Philip HAMMOND concluded, after talks with his Iranian counterpart Mohammed Javad ZARIF on the sidelines of an EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg on June 22, that for a coherent deal, Iran will have to prove more flexibility and compliance because "we cannot compromise on the absolute red lines we have. If we do a deal, it has to be verifiable"[vi]. On the same line of discussions, it founds French delegate, Foreign Minister Laurent FABIUS who demand “a robust agreement, one which includes an extensive verification element, including if necessary visits to military sites”[vii].

However, this bilateralism Iran camp – Western camp should be understood in light of the diversity of interests and goals wrapped in, from the views of actors engaged in crisis management, for any dispute cannot be solved without taking into consideration all the aspects in which participants raise the issue. Iran feels attacked and invaded of Western deterrent tactics, demanding the lifting of the international sanctions that have choked the Iranian economy, and the West feels threatened by an Iranian nuclear state. It should not be ignored any internal opposition, fact that affects both Iranians and Westerner’s freedom of movement and decision in talks. On June 23, Iran’s Parliament has approved a plan that would oblige the government to preserve nuclear rights and achievements. According to the plan, the results of nuclear talks is valid only if they contain in vivid terms that the whole body of sanctions should be removed at once immediately after Iran starts to act in accordance to its commitments. Furthermore, foreign minister is obliged to report to the Parliament the process of the implementation of the agreement every six months. Even though Government spokesman Mohammad Baqer NOBAKHT claimed against the constitutional legitimacy of Majlis motion, it was adopted by the parliament with 213 votes in favor, 10 against and six abstentions from a total of 244 representatives[viii]. Its content includes three substantial requirements that must be met for any outcome of nuclear negotiations with the 5+1 group of countries to be valid: 1) The immediate and complete lifting of all sanctions imposed on Iran by the UN Security Council and the European Union as well as the US administration and Congress on the same day that Tehran begins to implement its commitments. 2) The International Atomic Energy Agency would be able only to have regular inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities and it would not be given access to military or security sites or nuclear scientists. 3) Iran will allow no limitations to its scope of activities to develop peaceful nuclear technology and to conduct procurement and production work in the field of research and development (R&D).[ix]

The motion put a great pressure on leaders of Iranian delegation at negotiations, who have to act in consonance with national requests. Regarding the Western counterpart, White House is pressed by its European allies to extend the deadline for an Iranian nuclear deal beyond June 30, matter that complicates the U.S. president’s relations with Congress on the talks. Without that sync between the domestic and foreign policy components, the diplomatic gestures of international leaders will be unlikely to access a mutual platform of discussion.     

Although is still hovering distrust over the nuclear talks, it is not freezing however the dialogue and cooperation.

Getting a final comprehensive accord, guarantee the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program, would highlight a win-win situation. It would be a successful long-term perspective that will embody a long lasting relationship of Iran-West couple in the nuclear field and beyond. Such a framework would be advantageous for both sides of the negotiation, since both Iran and Western countries would reach a compromise that would, effectively, serve everyone's needs. The establishment of a multilateral nuclear agreement would have effects not only on Iran itself but also on its relationship with the West, especially with the US. Iran`s credibility would be restored and doubts about using its nuclear program for aggressive purpose would be cast away. Moreover, the nuclear file would be discharged of UN Security Council`s authority, and held under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), fact that would allow the Islamic Republic of Iran nuclear facilities and would accommodate the country's domestic requirements.

Implications of the agreement would regard, most notably, the relation between Tehran and the West. Both camps are not only complementary to each other, but also indispensable in the process of world peace and security. Iran is the main pillar in the region of extended Middle East, important, especially, by its linking position between two major energy sources of the world – the Caspian Basin and the Persian Gulf – which brings it regional power. Furthermore, as holding the fourth largest oil reserves and second largest natural gas reserves in the world, Iranian state is able to satisfy future energy market. Moreover, it is able to control the energy resources of Central Asia and disperse them to the global market, becoming a giant of the region.

A final nuclear deal would pave the way to a more active and productive communication, cured by previous queries and distrustful attitudes. Washington will find in Iran a strong partner in the fight against terrorism, a delicate issue which endanger the international security, and Europe will gain a guardian of stability in the wider Middle East, thing she urgently needs, both for its geostrategic policies, and, particularly, for energy security.

Hooked in a doubtful negotiations’ registry, but with hopeful prospects, we only have to wait for the end of negotiations. Successful or not, these, surely, will have a considerable impact on the new security architecture of international relations.

 

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[i] http://www.dw.com/en/cautious-optimism-reigns-in-iran-nuclear-talks/a-18534929 

[ii]http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/no-trust-in-iran-nuclear-talks-top-negotiator/articleshow/47570359.cms      

[iii] http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940401001031

[iv] http://www.irna.ir/en/News/81650455/

[v] http://www.dw.com/en/cautious-optimism-reigns-in-iran-nuclear-talks/a-18534929

[vi] http://news.yahoo.com/uks-hammond-says-iran-nuclear-inspections-absolute-red-172025543.html

[vii] http://www.emirates247.com/news/1-week-to-finalise-historic-iran-nuclear-deal-2015-06-23-1.594670

[viii] http://www.irna.ir/en/News/81657046/

[ix] http://en.mehrnews.com/news/108119/Parl-passes-nuclear-bill


 

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