The last days brought into question the closed-door nuclear talks from Vienna, negotiations that have covered more than 12 years of brinkmanship between Teheran and the West. The negotiations – originally scheduled to reach an agreement before the deadline of June 30th – seem to evolve under an oppressive atmosphere, since the Western sextet and Iran missed the deadline and extended the talks to Tuesday, July 7th. The US State Department said that the prolongation was necessary in order “to allow more time for negotiations to reach a long-term solution.”[i]
Meanwhile, both sides of negotiations are doing their best for a successful end to be achieved after these exhausting and suspenseful hours of talks.
However, controversial signals are waving from Vienna. There are said to be disagreements regarding both the type of nuclear research that Iran will be allowed to conduct once a final deal is signed, and the speed at which sanctions relief will be granted[ii]. But, the most important is the debate on the issue of whether inspectors from the U.N. nuclear watchdog group, the International Atomic Energy Agency, will be allowed to access Iranian military sites and to interview the nation’s nuclear scientists. As for this point, the government from Teheran has strengthened its strong opposition, Chairman of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin BOROUJERDI reiterating Iran`s intransigent standing to the inspection of its military and sensitive facilities. The same hard line was affirmed by Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Hassan FIROUZABADI who came in support of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah KHAMENEI`s previous statements, and said that “the country’s national and security interests necessitate that under no condition strangers and those who have done their best in animosity towards the Islamic Revolution and the sacred systems of the Islamic Republic of Iran be allowed to enter our military centers under any protocol or agreement under the name of inspection or access,”[iii]. Ayatollah KHAMENEI also referred to the inspection of Iranian military centers: “As said before, no permission will be given for inspection of any military centers and talks with the nuclear scientists and other sensitive fields of study and intrusion into their privacy”[iv]. On the other hand, there are the Westernizer`s attitudes which embrace the same constant idea of Tehran to lower its enriched uranium stockpile and to comply with the international inspections and in phases lifting of sanctions once the transparency of Iranian counterpart is verified.
In the marathon of nuclear negotiations, both parts are chasing one after another, bringing in the light the question of how the West will respond to Iran`s demands and how Iran will serve its Western partner`s requirements, without passing their own redline of negotiations.
The talks are, as far as it can be noticed, overwhelmed by a serious pressure since the world powers and Iran have to cope, efficiently, with the impasse they are facing: how much to concede and how much to ask for? A thing is sure, only mutual respect, dialogue and fairness are the main elements for a beneficial recipe of win-win relationship in the politics and diplomacy field between the West and Iran.
Despite negative feedbacks, there are also positive signs for a successful final comprehensive deal. Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali LARIJANI said in a meeting with Islamic countries’ ambassadors in Tehran on Saturday night that “the prospect of nuclear negotiations is positive and good steps have been taken to settle the differences and there is a positive path now,”[v]. On Friday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad ZARIF made some remarks in in a video message, expressing his position towards sanctions policy, saying that a nuclear deal with Iran will not be strike unless the West` powers abandon the pressures and embargoes: “I sense that my negotiating partners have recognized that coercion and pressure never lead to lasting solutions but to more conflict and further hostility. They have seen that eight years of aggression by Saddam Hussein and his patrons did not bring the Iranian nation that stood all alone to its knees. And now they realize that the most indiscriminate and unjust economic sanctions against my country have achieved absolutely none of their declared objectives but instead have harmed innocents and antagonized a peaceful and forgiving nation. They have opted for the negotiating table. But they still need to make a critical and historic choice: agreement or coercion”[vi].
But progress and optimism are still emphasized during the negotiations. IAEA Director General Yukiya AMANO told that “an agreement over Tehran’s nuclear program is “within reach,” adding the parties have reached a certain amount of progress during the negotiations”[vii]. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas ARAQCHI voiced satisfaction in the progressive trend of the nuclear talks between his country and the Group 5+1, but even though he didn’t ignore the existence of differences on certain issues which must be removed.
The ongoing nuclear talks have reached their historical peak in the last decade, and an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program would seize the opportunity to reanimate trust and stability not only inside Iran`s nation and, by default, inside the Middle East configuration, but also inside the West, which will serve its interest in the so called insecurity generator region of MENA (Middle East and Northern Africa).
While the both sides are trying to meet the July 7 deadline, the entire international milieu is awaiting anxiously the outcome of nuclear deal that will definitely seal the peace`s fate, because as a famous analyst in international relations and peace research expressed in one of his papers “this is not a US-Iran issue, it is a world issue”[viii].
Photo Source: Washington Times
[viii] Outrageous attempt at killing the deal with Iran by Jan Oberg, dr.hc., TFF director