Some in the West hope the nuclear deal with Iran will empower the country’s moderates. But playing Iranian domestic politics directly could backfire. The West should recognise that any change will be gradual, best supported by implementing the nuclear accord, resuming trade, and diplomacy that balances Iranian and Arab interests in the Middle East.
01 June 2016
In run-off parliamentary elections held 28 April, pragmatic republican supporters of President Rouhani won 123 of 290 seats but failed to secure outright majority, theocrats won 80 seats, independents ...
When twelve months of intense negotiations between Iran and the P5+1/EU3+3 ended with yet another extension, sceptics saw this as confirmation that the talks are doomed. But it would be as grave a mistake to underestimate the real progress as to overstate the chances of ultimate success. A landmark agreement is still within reach if both sides adopt more flexible postures on enrichment capacity and sanctions relief.
November’s deadline could be the last chance to avoid a breakdown in the Iran and the P5+1 nuclear talks. Compromise on Iran’s enrichment capacity is key to ending the impasse, requiring both sides to walk back from maximalist positions and focus on realistic solutions.
A comprehensive nuclear accord may be in reach if both sides – Iran and the Security Council permanent members plus Germany – show determination to settle on a technical agreement and isolate the deal from its complex regional context.
The nuclear negotiations with Iran that resume in Moscow on Monday are likely to hit a wall and, without a change in approach, risk break-down with dire consequences.
As the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program edges closer to military confrontation, talks may be a way out but require mutual compromise and Western abandonment of the notion that a mix of threats and crippling sanctions will force Iran to back down.
The revelation in 2009 of nuclear facilities near Qom intensified international criticism of Iran’s opaque nuclear development.
For perhaps the first time since Iran and the U.S. broke ties in 1980, there are real prospects for fundamental change.
Open Letter to Iran’s and the P5+1/EU3+3’s Nuclear Negotiators
2 April 2015: The latest agreement on the framework for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, announced on 2 April 2015, is a triumph of multilateral diplomacy and a testament to the seriousness of purpose, patience and persistence of the negotiators involved in this process.
Read the open letter in Persian.
The Triumph of Nuclear Diplomacy
14 July 2015: The International Crisis Group welcomes the 14 July agreement between Iran and the P5+1/EU3+3.
Iran: Deal or No Deal
April 2015: Explore in this interactive slider the ten reasons why the latest deal is much better than no deal.
The Essential Balances in Iran's Nuclear Breakthrough
2 April 2015: Crisis Group's Senior Iran Analyst Ali Vaez discusses the Iran nuclear talks, and how both sides can sell the latest landmark agreement back home.
Iran's Nuclear Crisis
27 May 2014: Ali Vaez, Senior Iran Analyst for the International Crisis Group, discusses the developments in nuclear negotiations between the P5+1 and suggests a way forward that would satisfy all sides.
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